Alternate titles: “Il dissoluto punito ossia il Don Giovanni”, “The Libertine Punished, or Don Giovanni”
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Don Giovanni, in full The Libertine Punished; or, Don Giovanni, Italian Il dissoluto punito; ossia, il Don Giovanni, opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) the premiered at the original national Theatre in Prague top top October 29, 1787. The opera’s subject is Don Juan, the notorious libertine the fiction, and his eventual descent right into hell. For Mozart, the was an abnormally intense work, and also it was no entirely construed in his own time. In ~ a generation, however, it was known as one of the biggest of all operas.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, portrait by Johann Georg Edlinger; in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Mozart revised the opera for Vienna, wherein it to be performed in might 1788. His transforms included substituting a less complicated aria for “Il mio tesoro” (Don Ottavio in plot II) and adding a comic scene in between Leporello and Zerlina. Return Vienna’s audience were less enthusiastic 보다 Prague’s, Don Giovanni was appreciated by innovative music lovers there.

Mozart deftly underscores the activity with his music. Because that example, in one aria midway through Act ns (the “Catalogue Aria”), Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, reads delightedly indigenous his small black book, listing the countless women who have been conquered by Don Giovanni in each of numerous nations—1,003 women in Spain alone! Mozart matches musical attributes to assorted adjectives, so the petite women are depicted with brief notes and ladies of more grandeur are defined with much longer note values.

Other clever music touches deserve to be discovered in the famous duet “Là ci darem la mano” in action I. As the duet begins, Giovanni and also his prey have alternating verses, but, as the conquest ensues, they begin to mix in harmony, the music mirroring their emotional unity.

Of far much more dramatic musical influence is the enntrance gate of the vengeful ghost (specifically, a stone statue involved life) close to the finish of the opera. The has come to demand repentance the the villain; otherwise that is ready to take Giovanni to hell. The music whereby the ghost appears is some of the most formidable that Mozart would ever write. He had placed ideas at the start of the overture; the foreboding chords symbolize Giovanni’s fate and also foreshadow the enormous movement of the statue that will finish the libertine’s adventures. The scene is so an effective that countless performances in the 1800s ended with Giovanni’s descent into hell fairly than with Mozart’s light last scene.

Betsy Schwarm

Cast and vocal parts

Leporello, Don Giovanni’s maid (bass)
Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni’s previous lover (soprano)
Masetto, a peasant (bass)
Zerlina, Masetto’s fiancée (soprano)
Peasants, musicians, dancers, chorus that demons.

Setting and also story summary

Don Giovanni is set in and around Seville (now Sevilla), Spain, in the 17th century.


Don Giovanni; McCormack, John
John McCormack together the title character in Don Giovanni, an opera through Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
George Grantham Bain Collection/Library that Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-ggbain-35688)

Act I

Scene 1. In the garden external the Commandant’s mansion.

Leporello, servant to Don Giovanni, serves together lookout and also waits impatiently as his grasp daringly breaks into the residence to seduce the Commandant’s daughter. He grumbles about his thankless job—no sleep, little pay, tough work (“Notte e giorno faticar”). Suddenly, Giovanni and Donna Anna rush out of the palace. They are struggling. Anna screams and also unsuccessfully tries to uncover the masked Giovanni’s identity. She father appears, brandishing a sword, and challenges Giovanni come a duel; Anna runs to get help. Giovanni, at first reluctant, accepts the difficulty and proceeds to kill the old man, whereupon he and also Leporello escape. Anna returns v her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to find her father dead; she renders Ottavio swear come avenge her father’s death.

Scene 2. Early morning the following day, in a square external Seville.

Leporello, having made Giovanni promise no to punishment him because that speaking freely, tells him that his life is scandalous. Once Giovanni becomes angry, Leporello transforms the topic to Giovanni’s catalogue that women. As his master tells the his latest flame, lock spot a veiled mrs walking follow me the road. The guys do not identify her, however she is among Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna Elvira. Castle hide as she rages in ~ her betrayal at the hand of a scoundrel who had actually seduced and then deserted she (“Ah! chi mi dice mai”). When Giovanni, pleased in ~ the possibility of one more conquest, philosophies to comfort her, she establish him as the male who had actually abandoned her. As she berates him, the dismayed Giovanni sneaks off. Leporello, curtly explaining come her the she is not his master’s only victim and will surely no be the last, relates the catalogue the Giovanni’s conquests to her (“Madamina, il catalogo è questo”): 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, a only 91 in Turkey, yet 1,003 in Spain! Leporello easily departs, leaving Elvira also angrier and bent top top revenge.

Scene 3. Outside a tavern in the countryside close to Don Giovanni’s castle.

A group of peasants are celebrating the engagement the Zerlina and Masetto. Giovanni and Leporello admire the girls, and also Giovanni is very interested in Zerlina. That invites everyone to go into his lock to eat and also drink. However he detains Zerlina, to the annoyance of she fiancé, that is finally persuaded to go with the others. Giovanni assures to marry Zerlina (Duet: “Là ci darem la mano”). Won over, Zerlina agrees. Simply then, Elvira come in and also warns Zerlina versus him. The 2 women leaving together.

Anna and also Ottavio arrive. Not realizing the Giovanni is the male who, masked, had assaulted her and killed she father, Anna looks for his help. Elvira returns and also tries to tell the rather what kind of guy he really is, yet Giovanni speak them the Elvira is mad and also takes she away. However Anna has realized, from his voice, that Giovanni was undoubtedly her attacker. She tells Ottavio what taken place to she on the night her father to be killed and also again begs him to seek vengeance (“Or sai, chi l’onore”). Ottavio, left alone, reflects on his love for her (“Dalla sua pace”).

Giovanni and also Leporello reappear. Leporello relates how he obtained the villagers drunk and also managed come lock Elvira the end of the house. Delighted, Giovanni orders a huge party (“Finch’han del vino”) and goes turn off to prepare because that it.

Scene 4. In the garden external Don Giovanni’s castle.

Masetto stalks right into the garden, ignoring Zerlina’s entreaties and also accusing her of infidelity. She urges Masetto come beat she if that wants, as long as they comprise (“Batti, batti, o bel Masetto”). Masetto relents. Once they hear Giovanni approaching, Zerlina i do not care agitated, and Masetto, suspicious, hides so that he have the right to watch them. Giovanni renews his attentions and also tries to draw her aside right into the very place whereby Masetto is hiding. Masetto, furious, jumps the end of the foliage and surprises him, however Giovanni recovers his composure and blithely claims that he and also Zerlina to be just trying to find Masetto. Giovanni reunites the two and invites them come his lock to sign up with the party.

Once they have left, three masked figures enter the garden. The three—Anna, Ottavio, and Elvira—are established to expose Giovanni to everyone. Giovanni and also Leporello see them native Giovanni’s balcony and, no recognizing them, invite them come the party together well.

Scene 5. Inside the ballroom the Don Giovanni’s castle.

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As the guests dance, Giovanni continues his pursuit of Zerlina. That heartily welcomes the masked trio as they come in. Together Giovanni dances with Zerlina, Leporello pressures Masetto to dance, permitting Giovanni to drag Zerlina away. Once Zerlina’s screams space heard, interrupting the party, Masetto and the others sirloin to aid her, yet the door is locked. Once the upset crowd endangers to breakdown the door, Giovanni reappears, through Leporello in ~ sword’s point. Giovanni proclaims the his lackey is the attacker. Ottavio, Anna, and Elvira unmask and threaten Giovanni, who disarms Ottavio through his sword and keeps the crowd away. Utilizing Leporello as a shield, Giovanni escapes.