Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "Don Giovanni" Opera in two acts
The premiere of the opera Don Giovanni will take place at the Bolshoi Theater in November 2021, staged by Semyon Spivak.
The famous opera Don Giovanni was not staged at the Bolshoi for about ten years, so the upcoming production caused great excitement among fans of the composer's work. The story of the adventurer and lovelace, described in the play by Antonio de Zamora, was the basis of the libretto written by Lorenzo da Ponte and has been evoking the interest of the public for more than two centuries.
Don Giovanni (complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, namely Don Giovanni or The Libertine Punished) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater (of Bohemia), now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.
Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant, is waiting for his master, who has entered the house of the Commendatore with intent to seduce that gentleman’s daughter, Donna Anna. The Don emerges, pursued by the young lad. Donna Anna, who is betrothed to Don Ottavio, has managed to beat off her assailant and now attempts to discover his identity. Alerted by his daughter’s cries, the Commendatore hurries to the scene, but is mortally wounded by Don Giovanni.
Leporello and his master escape. When Donna Anna, who has gone to seek help, returns accompanied by her betrothed and several servants, she finds only the dead body of her father. Donna Anna enjoins Don Ottavio to swear vengeance on her father’s murderer.
Don Giovanni and Leporello, in search of fresh adventures, come across Donna Elvira, who was seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni and has been looking for him to get her revenge. As soon as the rake recognizes Elvira as one of his previous amours, he goes off, leaving Leporello to explain to the lady the reason for his deserting her so suddenly. The servant then rattles off a long list of his master’s conquests. Exit Donna Elvira, who is determined to punish her perjurious lover.
Zerlina and Masetto, with a group of peasants, are celebrating their approaching marriage. Don Giovanni enters with Leporello and pays court to the bride. He invites the whole wedding party to his country house, and undertakes personally to escort Zerlina there. Masetto is led away on a pretext by Leporello, but has clearly grasped the situation and is anxious to put matters straight with Zerlina. Left alone with the girl, Don Giovanni attempts to seduce her with gallant promises. But the unexpected arrival of Donna Elvira, who denounces her betrayer and takes Zerlina aside, prevents him from implementing these designs.
Meanwhile Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive. Not recognizing Don Giovanni as the Commendatore’s assassin, they seek his assistance in punishing the culprit. When Donna Elvira reappears and reports her unfaithful lover’s misdeeds, Don Giovanni slips away. But Donna Anna has recognized his voice as that of her seducer and of the man who killed her father. She urges Don Ottavio to avenge the outrage without hesitation. Don Ottavio in his turn vows to himself to carry out the wishes of his beloved. In the meantime Don Giovanni directs preparations for the festivities, during which he hopes to possess the attractive young Zerlina.
Masetto rebukes Zerlina for her unfaithfulness, but his bride soothingly reassures him that her virtue has not been offended by the amorous knight. Masetto however, when Don Giovanni arrives, hides in an alcove and spies on his advances to Zerlina. But the libertine, having noticed the bridegroom’s presence, promptly invites him and Zerlina to the ball. Three masked figures – Don Ottavio, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira – now enter in search of Don Giovanni, who does not recognize them and invites them too to the party.
During the festivities Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Zerlina, but his plan is thwarted by the arrival of Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira. After trying in vain to put the blame on Leporello, and threatening everyone insight, Don Giovanni vanishes.
Leporello has made up his mind to leave his master’s service, but the Don convinces him to stay on, and even to exchange costumes so that the cavalier can seduce Donna Elvira’s maid. When Elvira appears at the window, Don Giovanni, concealed behind Leporello, declares his repentance to her. Trusting his words, Elvira goes off with the servant whom she has mistaken for her former admirer. Don Giovanni is now left free to serenade Donna Elvira’s maid, but the sudden entry of Masetto, accompanied by armed peasants who are determined to kill the seducer, obliges him to give up this conquest too.
Having recognized the servant Leporello in Don Giovanni’s clothes, Masetto asks him for news of his master. But the Don, taking advantage of his disguise, manages to get rid of the peasants and is left alone with Masetto, to whom he delivers a thrashing. Zerlina comes to the aid of her betrothed and reproaches him for his jealousy but lovingly tends his bruises.
Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto have discovered Leporello’s disguise and the trick played on Donna Elvira. The servant barely escapes just punishment. Don Ottavio, sure by now of Don Giovanni’s guilt, decides to enlist the authorities to avenge the crimes committed by this villain, while Donna Elvira cannot conceal her pity for the miscreant.
Don Giovanni meets Leporello and tells him of yet another disreputable thing he has done. In reply to obscure threats uttered by the statue of the Commendatore, who is buried there, the rake has invited him to supper at his palace.
Don Ottavio, confirming to Donna Anna that Don Giovanni is soon to be punished by law, asks her if she feels she can now accept his proposal of marriage. But she is weary after recent events and begs him to be patient a little longer, though she again reassures him of her love.
While Don Giovanni cheerfully dines, despite the appearance of Donna Elvira, who has come to get him to repent his sins, the statue of the Commendatore appears at the door. Leporello takes shelter under the table, while Don Giovanni confronts the grim apparition. After refusing the statue’s recommendations to repent, he is dragged down to Hell. To the assembled company, who have come to arrest the Don, Leporello recounts his master’s death.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "Don Giovanni" Opera in two acts
on the playbill
1 Teatralnaya ploschad (1 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia
Bol'shaya Dmitrovka Street, 4/2, Moscow, Russia