Don Giovanni ruthlessly seduces women, to the point of killing whoever stands in his way. His past comes back to haunt him.
The notorious skirt-chaser Don Giovanni has failed in seducing Donna Anna. As he is leaving, her father, the Commendatore, appears and Don Giovanni kills him before escaping. Donna Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio vow to find the murderer and take revenge.
Assisted by his valet Leporello, Don Giovanni continues his amorous adventures. He meets his previous conquest, Donna Elvira, who still loves him. He also tries to seduce the newly-wed peasant girl Zerlina.
Finally he meets the statue of the dead Commendatore, whom he invites to dinner. The statue arrives and they shake hands. Holding on to his hand, the statue orders Don Giovanni to repent his sins. Don Giovanni refuses and is taken down to Hell by demons.
Opera in 2 acts
Sung in Italian
About 3 hours + interval
The garden of the Commendatore
It is night and Don Giovanni’s servant Leporello is keeping watch outside the house of the Commendatore. He is complaining about his tough work conditions. Suddenly he hears someone coming and decides to hide. It is Don Giovanni, masked, pursued by Donna Anna, whom he has tried to rape. She cries for help and her cries alert the Commendatore, Donna Anna’s father, who rushes out in the garden, sword in hand. There is a duel and Don Giovanni kills the Commendatore and runs away with Leporello. Donna Anna, who has called for her fiancé Don Ottavio to assist her, returns and is horrified to see her father dead and Don Ottavio promises to help her seek revenge against the anonymous assassin.
A square outside Don Giovanni's palace
Don Giovanni and Leporello hear a woman lamenting, having been forsaken by her lover. Don Giovanni approaches her, intending to seduce her, but realises that it is Donna Elvira, with whom he's had an affair. Elvira reproaches him for his behaviour. Don Giovanni urges Leporello to handle her while he himself sneaks away. Leporello tells Elvira that she shouldn’t bother about Don Giovanni – he is unfaithful to all his conquests – and he produces a list where he has written down all the women his master has seduced: only in Spain there were 1003!
In the countryside
A group of young people enter with a bridal couple on the way to their wedding. Don Giovanni is immediately attracted to the bride, Zerlina, and promises to arrange a wedding party in his castle. The bridegroom, Masetto, is less than enthusiastic, but Leporello forces Masetto to join them, while Zerlina and Don Giovanni remain behind.
His attempts to seduce her are thwarted by the arrival of Donna Elvira, who convinces the peasant girl to follow her. The frustrated Don Giovanni become even more downhearted when Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive. They ask Don Giovanni for help to find the villain who killed Donna Anna’s father, and Don Giovanni is willing to oblige.
Now Donna Elvira returns and declares that Don Giovanni is a notorious seducer. Don Giovanni defends himself saying that the woman in insane. When Don Giovanni leaves, Donna Anna recognises him as the murderer. She tells Don Ottavio what happened and cries for revenge.
Leporello returns and reports that all the wedding guests are in Don Giovanni’s house and that he managed to calm down the jealous Masetto. But the arrival of Zerlina and Donna Elvira arouse Masetto's jealousy again. Don Giovanni orders Leporello to invite all the girls around to the party.
In the garden of Don Giovanni’s house
Zerlina tries to sooth Masetto, but when Don Giovanni’s voice is heard in the distance, they both hide separately. Don Giovanni manages to find Zerlina and retains his erotic advances, but he bumps into Masetto and is temporarily ashamed, but tells him to take better care of his bride. Don Giovanni follows them to the ballroom. Three masked guests appear – Don Ottavio, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira – and Leporello invites them to the party. They readily accept.
Tha ballroom at Don Giovanni’s house
Three orchestras play dance music and Leporello dances with Masetto to distract him, while Don Giovanni takes Zerlina to a separate room to seduce her. She screams and everybody reacts. Don Giovanni appears with Leporello in a firm grip and accuses him of being the perpetrator, but the other guests don’t believe him and Don Ottavio points a pistol at Don Giovanni. But the hardened assassin still manages to escape.
Outside Donna Elvira’s house
Leporello and Don Giovanni meet and Leporello is indignant about his master’s behaviour. He wants to quit but Don Giovanni bribes him to continue. Don Giovanni’s latest plan is to seduce Donna Elvira’s chambermaid and for that purpose he needs to look more commonplace and suggests that he and Leporello change clothes.
Donna Elvira comes to the window and Don Giovanni decides to play her a trick. He orders Leporello, dressed as Don Giovanni, to stand visibly below Elvira’s window, while Don Giovanni hides and sings seductively that he is full of remorse and want to return to her. Elvira believes him and comes out, and Leporello does his best to imitate Don Giovanni’s voice and leads her out of sight.
Don Giovanni starts playing the mandolin and sings a serenade to Elvira’s maid. As he is just about to get physical with her, he is interrupted by Masetto and his friends, who are on the warpath in order to kill Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni, who still wears Leporello’s clothes, pretends to hate his master and joins them in their search. He manages to divide the group in two, one group goes to the right and Masetto and himself to the left. When they are alone he disarms Masetto and beats him up before leaving. The bruised Masetto is found by Zerlina who tries to console him.
A dark courtyard
Leporello tries to get away from Donna Elvira in the darkness but instead bumps into Donna Anna and Don Ottavio and soon Zerlina and Masetto join them. They all believe Leporello is Don Giovanni and intend to kill him. Donna Elvira pleads for mercy for her “husband” but when that isn’t granted Leporello takes off his disguise and reveals who he is. In the confusion that follows he manages to run away. Don Ottavio now promises to take revenge on Don Giovanni.
A graveyard with a statue of the Commendatore
Don Giovanni and Leporello are united again in the graveyard. Leporello accuses Don Giovanni of exposing him of mortal danger through his scheming but he only bursts out in a roar of laughter. He is silenced by the voice of the statue, warning him that he won’t be laughing much longer. Leporello is ordered to read the inscription on the bass of the statue. “I await vengeance for the impious who took my life”, Leporello reads as he trembles. But Don Giovanni shrugs and tells Leporello to invite the statue for dinner, but he is too frightened to be able to speak and Don Giovanni himself has to complete the invitation. The statue nods his head and Leporello is flabbergasted.
Donna Anna's room
In a short scene Don Ottavio asks Donna Anna to marry him but she thinks it’s inappropriate so soon after her father’s demise. Don Ottavio calls her cruel but she maintains that she loves him deeply, but she wants to wait. “But one day Heaven will smile again on me.”
Don Giovanni’s chambers
Don Giovanni has arranged a luxurious dinner with plenty of food and wine and hired an orchestra. He sits at a table and Leporello serves him. Suddenly Donna Elvira rushes in and begs Don Giovanni to change his life before it’s too late, but he only scorns her and turns away. Donna Elvira leaves and when she has disappeared, her screams of fear are heard in the distance. Don Giovanni tells Leporello to see what’s happening and he returns stammering that the statue has arrived.
There is a knock on the door and Don Giovanni orders Leporello to open but he refuses and hides under a table. Giovanni finally opens himself and greets the statue. He replies that he has no need of mortal food but he instead invites Don Giovanni: “Come and sup with me.” Don Giovanni accepts and the Commendatore says: “Give me your hand in token.” Don Giovanni reaches out his hand and is caught in a grip colder than the tomb. “Repent your sins, your hour of doom is near”, says the Commendatore, but Don Giovanni refuses, the statue disappears and Don Giovanni is surrounded by a chorus of demons who carry him down to Hell.
Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Zerlina, Masetto and Donna Elvira enter, all in search for the criminal: the hour of vengeance has arrived! But Leporello comes out from under the table and tells them: there is no need to search… he’s far away now. Then he relates what happened and everybody is relieved and begin to plan for the future.
Donna Anna and Don Ottavio are going to get married within a year, Elvira will enter a convent, Zerlina and Masetto will go home together and have dinner and Leporello will go to the inn and find himself a better master. Together they sing the moral: “This is the evil-doer’s end. Sinners finally meet their just reward, and always will.”
Don Giovanni - Baritone (Kavalier)
An extremely licentious nobleman
Il Commendatore - Bass (dramatic basso profondo)
Donna Anna's father
Donna Anna – Soprano (dramatic coloratura)
Il Commendatore's daughter, engaged to Ottavio
Don Ottavio - Tenor (leggiero)
Donna Anna's fiancé
Donna Elvira - Soprano (spinto)
A lady of Burgos, abandoned by Don Giovanni
Leporello - Bass (lyric)
Don Giovanni's servant
Masetto - Baritone (lyric)
A peasant, engaged to Zerlina
Zerlina - Soprano (soubrette)
A peasant, engaged to Masetto
Place of birth: Salzburg, Austria
Place of death: Vienna, Austria
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer widely known as one of the greatest composers of all time. He is the the archetype of the classical period together with his contemporaries Haydn and Beethoven. He was a versatile composer writing operas, symphonies, chamber music, piano works, concertos and much more. In his short life he wrote more than 600 works.
Mozart began playing the harpsichord at the age of three and started composing at the age of five. During his childhood he went on tour with his sister, who was also a child prodigy, and his father, Leopold, performing in Europe.
He married into the Weber family. Together with his wife Constanze they had six children of whom two survived infancy.
In 1781 Mozart moved from Salzburg to Vienna. The last 10 years of his life were very productive. His most popular operas; Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte were all written during this period. The three first are also known as the “Da Ponte” operas with reference to the librettist.
“What's even worse than a flute? - Two flutes!“
“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.“
Mozart had lots of pet animals and was very fond of scatological humour.
Most prominent operas
Bastien und Bastienne 1768
Lucio Silla 1772
La finta giardiniera 1774
Die Entführung aus dem Serail 1782
Der Schauspieldirektor 1786
Le nozze di Figaro 1786
Don Giovanni 1787
Così fan tutte 1789
Die Zauberflöte 1791
La clemenza di Tito 1791
Lorenzo Da Ponte was an Italian, later American, opera librettist, poet and Roman Catholic priest. He wrote the libretti for 28 operas by 11 composers, including three of Mozart's most celebrated operas, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte.
In 1773 Da Ponte moved to Venice, where he made a living as a teacher of Latin, Italian and French. Although he was a Catholic priest, the young man led a dissolute life. While priest of the church of San Luca, he took a mistress, with whom he had two children. At his 1779 trial, where he was charged with "public concubinage" and "abduction of a respectable woman", it was alleged that he had been living in a brothel and organizing the entertainments there. He was found guilty and banished for fifteen years from Venice.
In the United States, Da Ponte settled in New York City first, then Sunbury, Pennsylvania, where he briefly ran a grocery store and gave private Italian lessons while entertaining in some business activities in Philadelphia. He returned to New York to open a bookstore. He became friends with Clement Clarke Moore, and, through him, gained an unpaid appointment as the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia College. He was the first Roman Catholic priest to be appointed to the faculty, and he was also the first to have been raised a Jew.
In New York he introduced opera and produced in 1825 the first full performance of Don Giovanni in the United States, in which Maria García (soon to marry Malibran) sang Zerlina. He also introduced Gioachino Rossini's music in the U.S., through a concert tour with his niece Giulia Da Ponte.
Lorenzo Da Ponte died in 1838 in New York; an enormous funeral ceremony was held in New York's old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry Street.
2, 2, 2, 2 - 2, 2, 3, 0
timp, strings, basso continuo
Don Giovanni was first performed by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, in 1787.
Today it is one of the top 10 most performed operas worldwide.
Aria - Notte e giorno faticar (Leporello)
Duet – Fuggi, crudele, fuggi (Donna Anna, Don Ottavio)
Trio – Ah, chi mi dice mai (Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni, Leporello)
Aria – Madamina, il catalogo è questo (Leporello)
Duet – La ci darem la mano (Don Giovanni, Zerlina)
Aria – Ah, fuggi il traditor (Donna Elvira)
Aria – Or sai chi l'onore (Donna Anna)
Aria – Dalla sua pace (Don Ottavio)
Aria – Fin ch'han dal vino (Don Giovanni)
Aria – Batti, batti (Zerlina)
Aria - Deh, vieni alla finestra (Don Giovanni)
Aria – Vedrai carino (Zerlina)
Aria – Il mio tesoro (Don Ottavio)
Aria - In quali eccessi... Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata (Donna Elvira)
Aria – Crudele... Non mi dir (Donna Anna)
Aria – Don Giovanni a cenar teco (Il Commendatore)