Opera in two acts by W. A. Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Original version in Italian with subtitles (optional)
Soloists, Chirs and Orchestra from Opera 2001
EL COMMENDADOR – bass,
* This cast can be submitted to changes on the performance date.
I think that Mozart - and Da Ponte along with him, can be considered as the most genious librettists in the history of opera - for having given a precise notion of how the myth of Don Giovanni should be, coming from literary and theatrical traditions - taking into account the essential difference between the illustration made by Tirso de Molina and the one from Moliere - surely recharged by the early signs of the philosophical exercise that envelops the characters into the Romantic era.
They did it by defining their work as "dramedy" ambiguous and contradictory label from the Neapolitan theatrical custom - you need to remember that the company in Prague by which the opera was written in 1787 was entirely Italian and was devoted to this repertoire - and gave it a title containing the moral "the corrupt punished" even if the character's name was later added to the title "ossia Il Don Giovanni".
The universality and constant validity of the myth have, at the very least, led to the fact that the representations have shifted beyond time and place ("the action is set in a city in Spain", as indicated in the script) but not to intellectual superstructures dictated by flagging ideas from the "director’s theatre".
I thought that in the Spanish Land, it would be legitimate to present a Don Giovanni as essential and as close as possible to its literary origins, which are those of Tirso de Molina and to the dictate of its creators, Mozart and Da Ponte, who came closer to him, surpassing the lyric antiquities that preceded them, despising Moliere’s model.
I try to highlight what I believe to be the main symbol of the play, the equestrian statue of the Commendatore. At Salzburg under the Hohensalzburg Fortress, at the ancient cemetery of San Pedro, the statue of a warrior can still be found among the tombs, not really impressive, but tradition has it that Mozart was impressed by it and retained a clear memory from it until his conducting of Don Giovanni. A suggestive hypothesis, confirmed by everyone who listens to its music.
The action takes place in Seville in the 17th century.
Garden at Donna Anna‘s house, at night.
Leporello stands guard in front of the house where Don Giovanni comes in to seduce Donna Anna, Don Ottavio's girlfriend. Then Donna Anna realizes the presence of Don Giovanni and wanting to know who the intruder is asks for help; then comes the Commendatore, Donna Anna's father who discovers the aggressor and duels with him. He is mortally wounded by Don Giovanni, who escapes without being recognized. A heartbroken Donna Anna swears to avenge him next to Don Ottavio.
A street near an inn at dawn.
Don Giovanni and Leporello appear. Donna Elvira, seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni enters the picture. Don Giovanni does not recognize her and tries again to seduce her; once he is aware of his mistake, he manages to dodge her and leaves her with Leporello, who is badly trying to comfort her by narrating the list of conquests of his master. Elvira vows revenge.
In the field in the morning.
A procession of peasants is preparing for the marriage of Masetto and Zerlina. Don Giovanni makes Zerlina aware that he likes her and gets rid of her jealous boyfriend. As soon as Don Giovanni is alone with Zerlina, he begins to seduce her. Donna Elvira joins them and rescues Zerlina just when she was about to fall for his charms.
Don Giovanni meets Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, but Elvira with her back to him warns them against the one who abandoned her. Don Giovanni answers her reproaches trying to pass her off as crazy, without actually convincing their partners.
After his departure, Donna Anna thinks to have recognized in Don Giovanni the murderer of his father and tells Don Ottavio about the aggression, who decides to avenge her. Leporello tells Don Giovanni that the wedding guests have arrived and that he managed to entertain Masetto but the arrival of Zerlina ruined everything although he managed to get rid of Donna Elvira.
Don Giovanni, carefree and happy returns to his palace.
In the garden at Don Giovanni’s palace.
Zerlina is still trying to appease the jealous Masetto. Don Giovanni invites everyone to dance. At the same time Leporello also invites Donna Elvira, Don Ottavio and Donna Anna, masked.
A ballroom at Don Giovanni’s home.
Three dance arias succeed: minuet, contradanza and German dance. Don Giovanni brings Zerlina outside, while Leporello gets the attention of Masetto, until Zerlina screams for help. Don Giovanni plays the comedy and pushing Leporello backwards accuses him of wanting to seduce Zerlina. No one believes him and the crowd surrounds him but he manages to escape again.
A street at night.
Leporello wants to leave his master but Don Giovanni convinces him to stay and exchanges his clothes with him.
Elvira appears on her balcony and Leporello, disguised, sings a declaration of love.
She thinks he is Don Giovanni and leaves with him. Don Giovanni then sings a serenade to Elvira's maid.
Surprised by Masetto and his friends, the false Leporello sends peasants in search of Don Giovanni. Masetto is beaten before escaping and Zerlina comforts him when she finds him.
In front of Donna Anna’s house.
Elvira and Leporello meet with Don Ottavio, Donna Anna, Masetto and Zerlina who want to kill the false Don Giovanni. Donna Elvira begs for mercy and Leporello is unmasked. He demands pity and finally gets it.
Don Ottavio sees proof in these events that Don Giovanni is the murderer of the Commendatore and promises to avenge him. Only Donna Elvira is left, who admits to still be in love with Don Giovanni and gives up on her revenge.
A graveyard at night.
Leporello tells the recent developments to Don Giovanni who celebrates laughing out loud.
A voice coming from a height asks him to leave the dead in peace. By order of Don Giovanni, Leporello reads the inscription on the base of the stature: "In my grave, I await my revenge" The servant trembles with fear, but his master forces him to invite the statue to dinner. The statue nods and replies with a "Yes"
Donna Anna’s dark room.
Donna Anna asks Don Ottavio to postpone their marriage, which is deeply affects him.
Gradually, she relents and confirms to him her love.
Dinning room at Don Giovanni’s home.
Don Giovanni begins his meal, while musicians perform opera arias. Donna Elvira enters and tries to convince Don Giovanni to repent. But once again he laughs her out. When she leaves she screams in terror. Leporello goes to see what is happening and screams in turn when he sees the statue of the Commendatore approaching and knocking on the door.
As his servant refuses to open, is Don Giovanni who does. The Commendatore comes in but refuses to sit at the table. He invites Don Giovanni to dinner, who accepts giving his hand. The statue then asks him to repent but Don Giovanni refuses. The Commendatore backs away and Don Giovanni is engulfed by the flames of hell.
All other characters enter the scene; Leporello tells them what just happened. Donna Anna consents to marry Don Ottavio after mourning his father. Donna Elvira decides to retire to a convent. Zerlina and Masetto want to marry, while Leporello wants to find a better master.