Have You Ever Wondered How Opera Has Been Around For Over 400 Years? Why And What Makes It Compelling?

Interpreting canonical opera through the lens of today: Restaging Don Giovanni in the wake of the “Me Too” Movement. 

A FREE Lecture Series on ZOOM


November 8, 2022, at 7:00 PM

Interpreting canonical opera through the lens of today

Restaging Don Giovanni in the wake of the “Me Too” Movement


Lindsey Meekhof earned a D.M.A. degree at the University of Wisconsin in vocal performance, a B.M. from the University of Michigan, and an M.M. from Texas Tech. Recent performances in the 2021-2022 season include the roles of Edka in Two Remain (Out of Darkness) and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with U.W. Opera. In the 2022-2023 season, Lindsey will be a Studio Artist with the Madison Opera, making her company debut in the role of the enslaved person in Salome.  

In addition to performing, Lindsey has taught as an adjunct professor of voice at Saint Mary’s College and Indiana University South Bend. In 2021, Lindsey received the Campus-Wide Teaching Assistant Award for Continuity of Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation project, “Staging Don Giovanni in Acknowledgment of the “Me Too” Movement,” was awarded a Graduate Creative Arts Award and an Artivism Student Action Program grant from the Division of Arts.  

Episode Synopsis: Zerlina is the woman Don Giovanni becomes obsessed with obtaining, orchestrating many events to get her alone. The women in Don Giovanni are all victims of his brutality, and various stagings have featured many interpretations of their characters and motivations surrounding their relationship with him. Zerlina is a character with the potential for incredible growth if given the chance to explore alternative stagings and have more agency throughout the production. In the three scenes I am interpreting, Zerlina will reclaim the narrative and provide opportunities for future productions to consider how we construe consent in operatic plots. Staging a production that addresses Don Giovanni’s predatory behavior is a way for the opera industry to resist the gender-based violence that runs through many beloved operas. The “Me Too” movement can greatly impact creating a safe and welcoming environment in classical music. It is a momentous opportunity to avoid perpetuating rape culture and to usher opera into a new enlightened era of recognizing the harm that occurs when sexual violence is presented as somehow normal or expected. 

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