Don Giovanni

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dramma giocoso in two acts
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
in Italian

„Lie to me, I promise, I’ll believe“. Is a seducer always a cheat? Or is he himself being cheated on in return? Don Giovanni is the incarnation of the irresistible lover; a man who lightheartedly rushes from one conquest to another, who refuses to submit to any kind of moral claims on his person and who pays for his freedom with an incapability of forming an honest relationship with a woman or another person. Even his numerous mistresses are not really in love with Don Giovanni himself, but only make use of him as a mirrored image to project their own differing needs.
Andrea Moses’ staging of Mozart’s masterpiece convincingly demonstrates how all characters are interested only in his or her own exclusive advantage. Lies and manipulation are everywhere with Don Giovanni as possibly the most honest person amongst them.

Location
Opernhaus
Duration
I. Act: approx. 1 hour 30 min
Interval (after the 1. Act): approx. 25-30 min
II. Act: approx. 1 hour 20 min
World premiere
1787 in Prague

This production's premiere
2012

Back on stage
19 October 2020
Recommended age
from grade 8
Plot
Act one
Leporello keeps watch while his master Don Giovanni tries to seduce Donna Anna. Anna‘s father, the Commendatore, catches them in the act. Anna flees, but gets fatally injured in the ensuing duel. When Donna Anna returns with her fiancée Don Ottavio, they swear to take revenge.

Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni’s former lover whom he promised to marry, has followed the seducer. Don Giovanni leaves it to Leporello to enlighten Elvira about his true nature.

Whilst attending a wedding, Don Giovanni fixes his attention on the bride Zerlina. He invites all the wedding guests to continue with the celebrations at his house. He then urges the groom Masetto to go ahead with the guests, so he himself can stay behind with Zerlina. Elvira, however, interrupts the tête-àtête, cautions Zerlina and leads her away.

Donna Anna and Don Ottavio ask Don Giovanni for help in finding the Commendatore’s murderer. Elvira arrives and denounces Don Giovanni’s unscrupulous behavior. Don Giovanni tries to make her seem crazy. Once she does not calm down, he leaves with her. Donna Anna confides in Don Ottavio, that she has recognized Don Giovanni as the murderer, who secretly came to her room and tried to seduce her.

Leporello reports on how the wedding celebrations are going. Don Giovanni is brimming with delight at the thought of the conquests he is about to make there.

During the celebrations Don Giovanni starts molesting Zerlina again, while Leporello distracts the drunken Masetto. As Zerlina cries out for help, Don Giovanni accuses Leporello of sexually assaulting Zerlina. Donna Elvira, Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, who have secretly joined the festivities wearing masks, suddenly reveal themselves to Don Giovanni: they have figured out his doubledealings and pronounce his punishment.
Act two
Leporello wants to resign, but is persuaded to stay on after having received extra payment. In order to finally win a woman’s affections for the evening, Don Giovanni forces Leporello to exchange clothes. Standing beneath Donna Elvira‘s window, Leporello confesses his undying love. She believes him and falls into Leporello’s arms who is dressed as his master.

Don Giovanni is caught by Masetto and his men, who want to lynch him. Don Giovanni succeeds in posing as Leporello and leads the men astray. Alone with Masetto, he beats him up in retaliation for wanting to murder him. Zerlina finds the beaten up Masetto and comforts him.

While searching for Don Giovanni, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Zerlina, Don Ottavio and Masetto confront the disguised Leporello. Donna Elvira, who was under the impression that she had embraced Don Giovanni, suddenly realizes
her renewed humiliation.

Don Ottavio seems determined to confront Don Giovanni and asks the others to take care of Donna Anna for him.

Donna Elvira admits that she still loves Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni and Leporello meet again and recount their experiences. The Commendatore, who was presumed dead, appears. Leporello is terrified. Don Giovanni invites the Commendatore to dine with him.

Don Ottavio urges Donna Anna to marry him, but she is not yet ready to agree. Don Giovanni has started his dinner. In vain, Donna Elvira implores him to change his life. The Commendatore, who accepted Don Giovanni’s invitation, advices Don Giovanni to repent his ways and do penance. Don Giovanni refuses. But he accepts the Commendatore’s invitation in return. Cornered by the Commendatore he chooses death.

Leporello relates the events leading up to Don Giovanni’s death to Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Zerlina, Don Ottavio and Masetto.

Donna Anna begs Don Ottavio to postpone their wedding for another year whilst Donna Elvira chooses the solitude of the convent. Zerlina and Masetto decide to go home and cook and Leporello is forced to look for a new master.