Don Giovanni

Dramma Giocoso in two acts (1787)

Music by

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Text by

Lorenzo Da Ponte

The writer E.T.A. Hoffmann described Mozart’s »Don Giovanni« as »the opera of all operas«.  Since its world premiere in 1787 in Prague, the work has been highly celebrated on victory tours across Europe. Mozart drew on the full gamut of his musical genius – and his perfectly matched librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte succeeded in breathing new life into the well-known story through his retelling.

Individually penned characters walk the stage with an astonishing abundance of emotions. Comedic moments appear alongside disturbing and demonic ones. When the title character confronts death, the action takes on tragic proportions. With only eight singers and actors on stage, a whole world unfolds that once more demonstrates to the audience, visibly and audibly, what music and theatre can accomplish. »Don Giovanni« is the culminating production of the Mozart/Da Ponta trilogy, a collaboration between director Vincent Huguet and conductor Daniel Barenboim.




Leporello awaits his boss Don Giovanni. He would much prefer to be the master himself, but he is forced to serve instead. Don Giovanni, who is trying his hand at Donna Anna inside the house, wants to flee, but ends up in conflict first with her and then with her father, the Commendatore. After a brief altercation, the Commendatore dies while Donna Anna brings in her fiancé Don Ottavio to help. They both mourn the death of the old man and swear revenge.
Donna Elvira, who had once been involved with Don Giovanni, is hot on his heels and has followed him here. She curses Don Giovanni for his infidelity, but Leporello explains that it is only in his nature to seduce many women and to quickly forget them, one after another.
Don Giovanni and Leporello meet a newly wedded couple, Zerlina and Masetto. Don Giovanni immediately starts making advances on the bride, while knowing how to get the groom out of the way. But Donna Elvira keeps Zerlina from falling into the hands and arms of Don Giovanni, just as she shows her former lover in a bad light in the presence of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio. Donna Anna und Don Ottavio, who had turned to Don Giovanni in search of help, are forced to acknowledge that he was clearly the one with the fate of the Commendatore on his conscience.
Don Giovanni is, also because of Donna Elvira’s meddling, noticeably disgruntled, but decides to hold a large party. Zerlina now tries to reconcile with Masetto, but is once again drawn to Don Giovanni. She surrenders to the intoxicating atmosphere of the party, while Masetto admonishes her to be careful.
Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira arrive masked and together with Don Giovanni and Leporello sing the praises of freedom. Don Giovanni tries once again to win over Zerlina, but encounters resistance from her and the others. First he makes it seem as if Leporello were the guilty party, then they both flee the scene.

Because of all he has experienced, Leporello wants to quite serving his master. But Don Giovanni convinces him to accompany him on further adventures. A next one announces itself when Donna Elvira appears: Leporello should court her as Don Giovanni, while Don Giovanni serenades another.
Don Giovanni succeeds in tricking Masetto and teaches him a lesson. Zerlina consoles her groom. In the meantime, Leporello has enjoyed his rendezvous with Donna Elvira, but now is trying to get rid of her. Just when he wants to disappear, he meets Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, who think he is Don Giovanni and confront him. Leporello reveals his true identity and leaves the others perplexed behind. Don Ottavio asks his companions to stand by Donna Anna. Donna Elvira admits that she still loves Don Giovanni.
Don Giovanni and Leporello now report their experiences. They encounter the undead Commendatore and invite him to a meal. Donna Anna comforts her fiancé Don Ottavio to wait for the marriage.
At dinner, Don Giovanni lets himself be served by Leporello. Donna Elvira undertakes a final, vain attempt to bring Don Giovanni away from his debauched lifestyle. When the Commendatore appears, unexpected by all, Leporello is full of fear. But Don Giovanni stands up to him, accepting his invitation to a meal with the dead. But the Commendatore wrestles him to the ground and Don Giovanni dies, Leporello witnesses his tragic end. Those who remain tell something about their future and proclaim the well-known truth: Those who commit evil will perish!

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