Actor John Malkovich sets out to introduce some nuance to the character of Italian adventurer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova in the new opera-theatre presentation The Giacomo Variations.

Malkovich says he wants to bring out the sensitive soul who gets lost behind the libertine image as he plays Casanova on stage.

"He was very gifted in expressing his feelings and of course, a lot of his feelings had to do with the conquest or the loss of women or even just how a relationship started, proceeded and ended," he says in this interview with CBC’s Jelena Adzic.

Born in 1725, Casanova traveled between Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin and St. Petersburg as gambling debts and erotic intrigues forced him to constantly and quickly change his location. His memoir Histoire de ma vie, a classic of erotic literature, shows him as a serial romancer.

Malkovich says Casanova was a "victim of his se

nses" and ultimately lonely because every women he really loved left.

The Hollywood actor, known for screen roles in Being John Malkovich and Dangerous Liaisons, is making his second foray into opera after 2008’s The Infernal Comedy. Although he says he’s no great shakes as a singer, he’s supported by a cast of opera singers.

Malkovich also is accompanied by a 45-piece orchestra which plays music of Casanova’s contemporaries, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.

The Giacomo Variations had its world premiere on Jan.5, 2011 in Vienna and its Canadian premiere in Montreal June 4. It runs June 7-9 at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.