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Don Giovanni's guide
September 16th, Radio Mozart took you to the opera, with the complete broadcasting of Don Giovanni, one of the most famous operas of Mozart.
(Sources : wikipedia)
Don Giovanni (K. 527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered in the Estates Theatre in Prague on October 29, 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed like many of its time as dramma giocoso, a term 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.
As a staple of the standard operatic repertoire, it appears as number seven on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America. It has also proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers.
A screen adaptation of the opera was made under the title Don Giovanni in 1979, and was directed by Joseph Losey.
Composition and premieres
The score was completed on October 28 of the same year after Da Ponte was recalled to Vienna to work on another opera. Reports about the last-minute completion of the overture conflict; some say it was completed the day before the premiere, some on the very day. More likely it was completed the day before, in light of the fact that Mozart recorded the completion of the opera on 28 October. The score calls for double woodwinds, horns and trumpets, timpani, basso continuo for the recitatives, and the usual strings. The composer also specified occasional special musical effects. For the ballroom scene at the end of the first act, Mozart calls for no fewer than three onstage ensembles to play separate dance music in synchronization, each in their respective meter, accompanying the dancing of the principal characters. In Act II, Giovanni is seen to play the mandolin, accompanied by pizzicato strings. When the statue of the Commendatore speaks for the first time later in the act, Mozart adds three trombones to the accompaniment.
The opera was first performed on October 29 in Prague under its full title of Il Dissoluto Punito ossia il Don Giovanni Dramma giocoso in due atti. The work was rapturously received, as was often true of Mozart's work in Prague; see Mozart and Prague. The Prager Oberamtszeitung reported, "Connoisseurs and musicians say that Prague has never heard the like," and "the opera ... is extremely difficult to perform." Provincialnachrichten of Vienna reported, "Herr Mozart conducted in person and welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering."
Mozart also supervised the Vienna premiere of the work, which took place on May 7, 1788. For this production, he wrote two new arias with corresponding recitatives: Don Ottavio's aria Dalla sua pace (K.540a, composed on April 24 for the tenor Francesco Morella), Elvira's aria In quali eccessi ... Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata (K. 540c, composed on April 30 for the soprano Caterina Cavalieri) and the duet between Leporello and Zerlina Per queste tue manine (K. 540b, composed on April 28).
The opera's final ensemble was generally omitted until the mid-20th century, and does not appear in the Viennese libretto of 1788. Mozart also made a shortened version of the operatic score. Nonetheless, the final ensemble is almost invariably performed in full today.
Another modern approach occasionally encountered is to cut Don Ottavio's most celebrated aria, Il mio tesoro, in favour of the less demanding Dalla sua pace, which replaced it in the Viennese premiere in order to suit the tenor Francesco Morella. Most modern productions find a place for both tenor arias, however. In addition, the duet, Per queste tue manine, composed specifically for the Viennese premiere, is cut frequently from 21st century productions of the opera.
In modern-day productions, Masetto and the Commendatore are typically played by different singers, although the same singer played both roles in both the Prague and Vienna premieres, and the final scene's chorus of demons after the Commendatore's exit gives the singer time for a costume change before entering as Masetto for the sextet.
Don Giovanni, a young, arrogant, sexually prolific nobleman, abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast, until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit.
The garden of the Commendatore
Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant, is keeping watch outside Donna Anna's house. Don Giovanni has crept into the house in order to seduce Donna Anna. (Leporello aria: "Notte e giorno faticar – I work night and day"). Donna Anna appea
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