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 through Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) the premiered in ~ the original nationwide Theatre in Prague on October 29, 1787. The opera’s topic is Don Juan, the notorious libertine that fiction, and also his ultimate descent right into hell. Because that Mozart, it was an uncommonly intense work, and it was not entirely understood in his very own time. In ~ a generation, however, that was well-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 amendment the opera for Vienna, where it was performed in may 1788. His changes included substituting a much easier aria because that “Il mio tesoro” (Don Ottavio in act II) and including a comic scene between Leporello and also Zerlina. Back Vienna’s audience were much less enthusiastic than Prague’s, Don Giovanni to be appreciated by advanced music lovers there.

Mozart deftly underscores the action with his music. Because that example, in one aria midway through Act i (the “Catalogue Aria”), Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, reads delightedly native his little black book, listing the many women who have been dominated by Don Giovanni in each of numerous nations—1,003 females in Spain alone! Mozart matches musical attributes to various adjectives, so that petite females are illustrated with short notes and ladies of an ext grandeur are explained with much longer note values.

Other clever music touches can be discovered in the popular duet “Là ci darem la mano” in plot I. Together the duet begins, Giovanni and his food have alternate verses, but, as the occupation ensues, they begin to blend in harmony, the music mirroring their emotional unity.

Of far an ext dramatic musical affect is the entrance of the vengeful ghost (specifically, a stone statue concerned life) close to the end of the opera. That has pertained to demand repentance the the villain; otherwise the is all set to take it Giovanni come hell. The music through which the ghost shows up is several of the many formidable that Mozart would ever before write. He had actually placed hints at the start of the overture; the foreboding chords represent Giovanni’s fate and also foreshadow the substantial movement that the statue the will end the libertine’s adventures. The scene is so an effective that plenty of performances in the 1800s finished with Giovanni’s descent right into hell rather than v Mozart’s light last scene.

Betsy Schwarm

Cast and also vocal parts

Leporello, Don Giovanni’s maid (bass)
Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni’s former 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 collection in and also around Seville (now Sevilla), Spain, in the 17th century.


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

Act I

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

Leporello, maid to Don Giovanni, serves together lookout and waits impatiently as his grasp daringly breaks into the house to seduce the Commandant’s daughter. That grumbles around his thankless job—no sleep, little pay, hard work (“Notte e giorno faticar”). Suddenly, Giovanni and also Donna Anna rush out of the palace. They space struggling. Anna screams and also unsuccessfully do the efforts to uncover the masked Giovanni’s identity. She father appears, brandishing a sword, and challenges Giovanni come a duel; Anna operation to gain help. Giovanni, at first reluctant, accepts the challenge and proceeds to death the old man, whereupon he and also Leporello escape. Anna returns v her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to discover her dad dead; she renders Ottavio swear to avenge she father’s death.

Scene 2. Early morning the next day, in a square exterior Seville.

Leporello, having actually made Giovanni promise not to punishment him for speaking freely, speak him that his life is scandalous. When Giovanni i do not care angry, Leporello changes the topic to Giovanni’s catalogue the women. Together his grasp tells the his latest flame, lock spot a veiled mrs walking along the road. The guys do not recognize her, yet she is just one of Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna Elvira. They hide as she rages in ~ her treason at the hand of a scoundrel who had seduced and also then deserted her (“Ah! chi mi dice mai”). When Giovanni, pleased in ~ the prospect of one more conquest, ideologies to comfort her, she recognizes him together the guy who had abandoned her. As she berates him, the dismayed Giovanni sneaks off. Leporello, curtly explaining to her that she is not his master’s just victim and also will surely not be the last, relates the catalogue the Giovanni’s conquests to she (“Madamina, il catalogo è questo”): 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, a only 91 in Turkey, but 1,003 in Spain! Leporello easily departs, leaving Elvira also angrier and also bent top top revenge.

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

A team of peasants space celebrating the engagement that Zerlina and also Masetto. Giovanni and also Leporello admire the girls, and Giovanni is really interested in Zerlina. The invites anyone to go into his castle to eat and also drink. But he detains Zerlina, come the annoyance of she fiancé, who is finally convinced to go v the others. Giovanni promises to marry Zerlina (Duet: “Là ci darem la mano”). Winner over, Zerlina agrees. Simply then, Elvira come in and warns Zerlina versus him. The two women leaving together.

Anna and Ottavio arrive. Not realizing that Giovanni is the guy who, masked, had struck her and killed she father, Anna looks for his help. Elvira returns and also tries come tell the rather what type of guy he really is, however Giovanni tells them that Elvira is mad and also takes her away. Yet Anna has actually realized, indigenous his voice, the Giovanni was without doubt her attacker. She tells Ottavio what taken place to she on the night her father to be killed and also again begs that to seek vengeance (“Or sai, chi l’onore”). Ottavio, left alone, reflects on his love for her (“Dalla sua pace”).

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

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

Masetto stalks into the garden, skipping Zerlina’s entreaties and also accusing she of infidelity. She urges Masetto to beat she if he wants, as lengthy as they comprise (“Batti, batti, o bel Masetto”). Masetto relents. When they hear Giovanni approaching, Zerlina i do not care agitated, and Masetto, suspicious, hides so that he deserve to watch them. Giovanni renews his attentions and also tries to attract her aside into the really place where Masetto is hiding. Masetto, furious, jumps out of the foliage and also surprises him, yet Giovanni recovers his composure and also blithely says that he and also Zerlina were just in search of Masetto. Giovanni reunites the two and also invites them come his lock to sign up with the party.

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

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

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As the guest dance, Giovanni proceeds his quest of Zerlina. He heartily welcomes the masking trio as they come in. As Giovanni dances through Zerlina, Leporello forces Masetto to dance, enabling Giovanni to drag Zerlina away. Once Zerlina’s screams room heard, interrupting the party, Masetto and also the others rush to help her, but the door is locked. Once the upset crowd intimidates to break down the door, Giovanni reappears, through Leporello at sword’s point. Giovanni proclaims the his lackey is the attacker. Ottavio, Anna, and also Elvira unmask and threaten Giovanni, that disarms Ottavio through his sword and keeps the mob away. Making use of Leporello as a shield, Giovanni escapes.