MOZART: Don Giovanni ó Salzburg 1953

Music composed by W. A. Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

First Performance: 29 October 1787, National Theater,

Principal Characters:
Don Giovanni, giovane cavaliere estremamente licenzioso Baritone
Il Commendatore Bass
Donna Anna, sua figlia, dama promessa sposa di Soprano
Don Ottavio Tenor
Donna Elvira, dama di Burgos, abbandonata da Don Giovanni Soprano
Leporello, servo di Don Giovanni Bass
Masetto, amante di Bass
Zerlina, contadina Soprano

Setting: A Spanish town (traditionally Seville), in the
16th century


Act I

Scene 1. The garden of the Commendatore’s house

A disgruntled Leporello keeps watch while Don Giovanni tries to add Donna
Anna to his list of conquests. Don Giovanni runs from the house, followed by
Donna Anna, who is trying to unmask him and calling for help. Her father,
coming to her aid, challenges Don Giovanni and is killed by him. Don Giovanni
and Leporello make their escape before Donna Anna reappears with her
betrothed, Don Ottavio, whom she calls on to avenge her dead father.

Scene 2. A street near an inn

Don Giovanni and Leporello come upon Donna Elvira, who has been seduced
and abandoned by Don Giovanni and who is pursuing him. Don Giovanni slips
away, leaving Leporello to explain to her that she is but one of many.

Scene 3. The countryside near Don Giovanni’s house

Don Giovanni and Leporello come upon a peasant wedding. Don Giovanni
orders Leporello to distract Masetto, the bridegroom, while he attempts to
seduce the bride, Zerlina. He is interrupted by Donna Elvira, who warns
Zerlina and persuades her to come away.

Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, not realising that Don Giovanni is the villain
they are looking for, ask for his help. Elvira appears again and accuses
Giovanni of faithlessness, and he tries to convince the others that she is
mad. As he leaves, something in his voice and manner convinces Anna that he
is her attacker and the murderer of her father.

Leporello reports to his master that he has all the peasants feasting and
drinking, and Giovanni orders him to ply them wine, as he intends to add to
his list of conquests.

Scene 4. The garden of Don Giovanni’s house

Zerlina manages to convince the reproachful Masetto that she has done
nothing wrong, but he is again suspicious when she is alarmed by Don
Giovanni’s voice. Another attempt on Zerlina foiled by Masetto’s presence,
Don Giovanni leads the couple into the house.

Donna Elvira, Donna Anna and Don Ottavio return wearing masks. Accepting
Leporello’s invitation to join the party, they hope this will make their
revenge easier.

Scene 5. A ballroom in Don Giovanni’s house

As the guests feast, dance and sing, Leporello distracts Masetto again and
Don Giovanni lures Zerlina into another room. When she screams for help
Giovanni accuses Leporello. But Elvira, Anna and Ottavio reveal themselves
and confront him with their knowledge of his villainy. He makes his escape in
the confusion.

Act II

Scene 1. A street near an inn

Don Giovanni soothes Leporello’s indignation with money. He has his eyes
on Donna Elvira’s maid and changes clothes with Leporello so he will look
like one of her class. Elvira appears at a window and laments her continuing
love for Don Giovanni. He answers from the shadows that he still loves her,
while Leporello, dressed in his clothes, mimes in the street. Elvira comes
down and Don Giovanni instructs the disguised Leporello to lead her away
while he serenades the maid.

Masetto and his friends appear, armed and in search of Don Giovanni, who,
pretending to be Leporello, sends the villagers off in different directions,
then catches Masetto off guard and beats him. Zerlina finds Masetto and
comforts him.

Scene 2. A courtyard near Donna Anna’s house

Leporello has not managed to free himself from Donna Elvira, who still
takes him for his master. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto find
them and accuse Leporello of Don Giovanni’s crimes. Elvira tries in vain to
intercede for her “husband” but Leporello reveals his identity, pleads
innocence and succeeds in making a getaway. Don Ottavio’s promises to avenge
his beloved’s wrongs.

Scene 3. A cemetery, where the Commendatore is buried

Don Giovanni and Leporello have escaped from their pursuers. Giovanni’s
narrative of a girl who took him for Leporello is interrupted by the voice of
the statue of the Commendatore reproving him for his levity and libertinism.
Undeterred, he orders the terrified Leporello to invite the Commendatore to
dinner. The statue accepts.

Scene 4. A room in Donna Anna’s house

Don Ottavio tries to calm Donna’s Anna’s grief by reminding her that they
will soon be married, but she begs to him to delay their wedding.

Scene 5. A banquet hall in Don Giovanni’s villa

Don Giovanni is interrupted at supper by Donna Elvira, who wants him to
change his ways. He laughs at her and she leaves, but runs back screaming.
Investigating, Leporello returns in terror: the statue has come. The
Commendatore enters and, refusing to touch earthly food, invites Don Giovanni
to dine with him. Don Giovanni accepts and is engulfed by the flames of hell,
steadfastly refusing to repent.

The other characters sing an epilogue about how the wicked receive their
just deserts.

[Synopsis source: Opera~Opera]

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image_description=Cesare Siepi as Don Giovanni
first_audio_name=W. A. Mozart: Don Giovanni
product_title=W. A. Mozart: Don Giovanni
product_by=Don Giovanni: Cesare Siepi
Il Commendatore: Raffaele AriÈ
Donna Anna: Elisabeth Gr¸mmer
Don Ottavio: Anton Dermota
Donna Elvira: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Leporello: Otto Edelmann
Zerlina: Erna Berger
Masetto: Walter Berry
Wiener Staatsopernchor, Wiener Philharmoniker, Wilhelm F¸rtwangler
Live performance: 27 July 1953, Felsenreitschule, Salzburg