Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni

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Don Giovanni is an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 and with an Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Lorenzo Da Ponte
Lorenzo Da Ponte was a Venetian opera librettist and poet. He wrote the librettos for 28 operas by 11 composers, including three of Mozart's greatest operas, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte....

. It was premiered by the Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga (now called the Estates Theatre
Estates Theatre
The Estates Theatre or Stavovské divadlo is a historic theatre in Prague, Czech Republic. The Estates Theatre was annexed to the National Theatre in 1948 and currently draws on three artistic ensembles, opera, ballet, and drama, which perform at the Estates Theatre, the National Theatre , and the...

) on October 29, 1787
1787 in music
-Events:*February 1 – A posthumous performance of Antonio Sacchini's Œdipe à Colone at the Paris Opéra results in the previously unsuccessful opera becoming one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire for several decades....

. Da Ponte's libretto was billed like many of its time as dramma giocoso
Dramma giocoso
Dramma giocoso is the name of a genre of opera common in the mid-18th century. The term is a contraction of "dramma giocoso per musica" and is essentially a description of the text rather than the opera as a whole...

, a term that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an "opera buffa
Opera buffa
Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as ‘commedia in musica’, ‘commedia per musica’, ‘dramma bernesco’, ‘dramma comico’, ‘divertimento giocoso' etc...

". Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.

A staple of the standard operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni is seventh on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide. It has also proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers.

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
Mozart and Prague
The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is often said to have had a special relationship with the city of Prague and its people. Mozart biographer Maynard Solomon writes of...

. 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
1788 in music
-Events:* Antonio Salieri appointed Imperial Royal Kapellmeister by Emperor Joseph II of Austria.*Domenico Cimarosa is invited to St Petersburg by the Empress Catherine II of Russia.-Opera:*Thomas Carter – The Constant Maid, or Poll of Plympton...

. For this production, he wrote two new arias with corresponding recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

s: 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
Caterina Cavalieri
Maddalena Giuseppa Caterina Cavalieri was an Austrian soprano.-Biography:Born in Lichtental, Vienna, Cavalieri studied voice with composer Antonio Salieri, and performed the role of Konstanze in the 16 July 1782 world premiere of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Donna Elvira in the...

) and the duet between Leporello and Zerlina "Per queste tue manine" (K. 540b, composed on April 28).

Performance practices


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.

Roles

Role Voice type
Voice type
A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types...

World premiere cast, October 29, 1787
1787 in music
-Events:*February 1 – A posthumous performance of Antonio Sacchini's Œdipe à Colone at the Paris Opéra results in the previously unsuccessful opera becoming one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire for several decades....


Conductor: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

Vienna premiere cast, May 7, 1788
1788 in music
-Events:* Antonio Salieri appointed Imperial Royal Kapellmeister by Emperor Joseph II of Austria.*Domenico Cimarosa is invited to St Petersburg by the Empress Catherine II of Russia.-Opera:*Thomas Carter – The Constant Maid, or Poll of Plympton...


Conductor: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Don Giovanni
Don Juan
Don Juan is a legendary, fictional libertine whose story has been told many times by many authors. El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra by Tirso de Molina is a play set in the fourteenth century that was published in Spain around 1630...

, a young, extremely licentious nobleman
baritone
Baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Luigi Bassi
Luigi Bassi
Luigi Bassi, Pesaro, 5 September 1766 – Dresden, 13 September 1825, was an Italian operatic baritone.When writing his Life of Rossini, Stendhal tells of the time in 1813 when he met Bassi in Dresden and spoke of "Mr Mozart;" Bassi said he was entranced that someone should still refer to him as "Mr"...

Francesco Albertarelli
Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant bass Felice Ponziani Francesco Benucci
Il Commendatore (Don Pedro) bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

Giuseppe Lolli Francesco Bussani
Donna Anna, his daughter, betrothed to Don Ottavio soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Teresa Saporiti
Teresa Saporiti
Teresa Saporiti was an Italian soprano, most remembered today for creating the role of Donna Anna in Mozart's opera Don Giovanni....

Aloysia Weber
Aloysia Weber
Maria Aloysia Louise Antonia Weber was a German soprano, remembered primarily for her association with the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Biography:...

Don Ottavio tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Antonio Baglioni Francesco Morella
Donna Elvira, a lady of Burgos abandoned by Don Giovanni soprano Katherina Micelli Caterina Cavalieri
Caterina Cavalieri
Maddalena Giuseppa Caterina Cavalieri was an Austrian soprano.-Biography:Born in Lichtental, Vienna, Cavalieri studied voice with composer Antonio Salieri, and performed the role of Konstanze in the 16 July 1782 world premiere of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Donna Elvira in the...

Masetto, a peasant bass Giuseppe Lolli Francesco Bussani
Zerlina, Masetto's fiancée
Engagement
An engagement or betrothal is a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be betrothed, affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged...

soprano Caterina Bondini Luisa Mombelli
Chorus: peasants, servants, young ladies, musicians, demons

Synopsis


Don Giovanni, a young, arrogant, sexually promiscuous nobleman, abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast, until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit.

Act 1


The overture begins in D minor
D minor
D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. In the harmonic minor, the C is raised to C. Its key signature has one flat ....

, before a light-hearted D major
D major
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor....

 allegro.

Scene 1 – The garden of the Commendatore

Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant, complains of his lot ("Notte e giorno faticar" – "Night and day I slave away"). He's keeping watch while Don Giovanni tries to seduce the Commendatore's daughter Donna Anna. Suddenly they both appear: Giovanni is masked but Donna Anna is holding his arm. She wishes to know who he is (Trio: "Non sperar, se non m'uccidi" – "Do not hope, unless you kill me") and cries for help. The Commendatore appears and challenges Giovanni while Donna Anna flees for help. Giovanni kills the Commendatore and escapes with Leporello. Anna, returning with her fiancé, Don Ottavio, is horrified to see her father lying dead in a pool of his own blood. They swear vengeance against the unknown murderer. (Duet: "Ah, vendicar, se il puoi, giura quel sangue ognor!" – "Ah, swear to avenge this blood!").

Scene 2 – A public square outside Don Giovanni's palace

Giovanni and Leporello arrive and hear a woman (Donna Elvira) singing of having been abandoned by her lover on whom she is seeking to wreak her revenge ("Ah, chi mi dice mai" – "Ah, who could tell me"). Giovanni starts to flirt with her, but he is the wretch she is seeking. He shoves Leporello forward, ordering him to tell Elvira the truth, and then hurries away.

Leporello tells Elvira Don Giovanni is not worth it. His conquests include 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, but in Spain, 1,003. ("Madamina, il catalogo è questo
Madamina, il catalogo è questo
"" is a bass aria from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni to an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.It is sung in scene 5 of the first act of the opera, by Leporello, to Donna Elvira. It consists of a description and count of his master's lovers and is sung to a light-hearted tune...

" – "Little lady, this is the catalogue"). In a frequently cut recitative, Elvira vows vengeance.

When she leaves, a marriage procession with Masetto and Zerlina enters. Don Giovanni and Leporello arrive soon after. Giovanni is immediately attracted to Zerlina, and he attempts to remove the jealous Masetto by offering to host a wedding celebration at his castle. On realizing that Giovanni means to remain behind with Zerlina, Masetto becomes angry ("Ho capito! Signor, sì" – "I understand! Yes, my lord!"). Don Giovanni and Zerlina are soon alone and he immediately begins his seductive arts. (Duet: "Là ci darem la mano" – "There we will entwine our hands").

Elvira arrives and thwarts the seduction ("Ah, fuggi il traditor" – "Flee from the traitor!"). She leaves with Zerlina. Ottavio and Anna enter, plotting vengeance on the still unknown murderer of Anna's father. Anna, unaware that she is speaking to her attacker, pleads for Giovanni's help. Giovanni, relieved that he is unrecognised, readily promises it, and asks who has disturbed her peace. Before she can answer, Elvira returns and tells Anna and Ottavio that Giovanni is a false-hearted seducer. Giovanni tries to convince Ottavio and Anna that Elvira is insane. (Quartet: "Non ti fidar, o misera" – "Don't trust him, oh sad one"). As Giovanni leaves, Anna suddenly recognizes him as her father's murderer. (Anna aria: "Or sai chi l'onore" – "He is the one who tried to rob me of my honour"). Ottavio, not convinced, resolves to keep an eye on his friend. ("Dalla sua pace" – "On her peace my peace depends")

Leporello informs Giovanni that all the guests of the peasant wedding are in Giovanni's house, that he distracted Masetto from his jealousy, but that Zerlina, returning with Elvira, made a scene and spoiled everything. However, Don Giovanni remains cheerful and tells Leporello to organize a party and invite every girl he can find. (Giovanni's "Champagne Aria": "Fin ch'han dal vino" – "Till they are tipsy"). They hasten to his palace.

Zerlina follows the jealous Masetto and tries to pacify him. ("Batti, batti o bel Masetto" – "Beat o beat me, sweet Masetto"), but just as she manages to persuade him of her innocence, Don Giovanni's voice from offstage startles and frightens her. Masetto hides, resolving to see for himself what Zerlina will do when Giovanni arrives. Zerlina tries to hide from Don Giovanni, but he finds her and attempts to continue the seduction, until he stumbles upon Masetto's hiding place. Confused but quickly recovering, Giovanni reproaches Masetto for leaving Zerlina alone, and returns her temporarily to him. Giovanni then leads both to his ballroom, which has been lavishly decorated. Leporello invites three masked guests to the party: the disguised Ottavio, Anna and Elivra). Ottavio and Anna pray for protection, Elvira for vengeance (Trio: "Proteggra il giusto cielo" – "May the just heavens protect us").

Scene 3 – Finale:Ballroom

As the merriment, featuring three separate chamber orchestras on stage, proceeds, Leporello distracts Masetto by dancing with him, while Don Giovanni leads Zerlina offstage to a private room. When Zerlina screams for help, Don Giovanni tries to fool the onlookers by dragging Leporello into the room and threatening to kill him for assaulting Zerlina. But Ottavio produces a pistol, the three guests unmask and declare that they know all. But despite being denounced on all sides, Don Giovanni escapes – for the moment.

Act 2


Scene 1 – Outside Elvira's house

Leporello threatens to leave Giovanni, but his master calms him with a peace offering of money. (Duet: "Eh via buffone" – "Come on, you rascal"). Wanting to seduce Elvira's maid, Giovanni persuades Leporello to exchange cloak and hat with him. Elvira comes to her window. (Trio: "Ah taci, ingiusto core" – "Ah, be quiet unjust heart"). Seeing an opportunity for a game, Giovanni hides and sends Leporello out in the open dressed as Giovanni. From his hiding place Giovanni sings a promise of repentance, expressing a desire to return to her, while Leporello poses as Giovanni and tries to keep from laughing. Elvira is convinced and descends to the street. Leporello, continuing to pose as Giovanni, leads her away to keep her occupied while Giovanni serenade
Serenade
In music, a serenade is a musical composition, and/or performance, in someone's honor. Serenades are typically calm, light music.The word Serenade is derived from the Italian word sereno, which means calm....

s her maid with his mandolin. ("Deh vieni alla finestra" – "Come to the window").

Before Giovanni can complete his seduction of the maid, Masetto and his friends arrive, searching for Giovanni and intending to kill him. Giovanni (dressed as Leporello) convinces the posse that he also hates Giovanni, and joins the hunt. After cunningly dispersing Masetto's friends (Giovanni aria: "Metà di voi qua vadano" – "Half of you go this way"), Giovanni takes Masetto's weapons away, beats him up, and runs off, laughing. Zerlina arrives and consoles the bruised and battered Masetto. (""Vedrai carino" – "You'll see, dear one").

Scene 2 – A dark courtyard

Leporello abandons Elvira. (Sextet: "Sola, sola in buio loco" – "Alone in this dark place"). As he tries to escape, Ottavio arrives with Anna, consoling her in her grief. Just as Leporello is about to slip through the door, which he has difficulty finding, Zerlina and Masetto open it and, seeing him dressed as Giovanni, catch him before he can escape. When Anna and Ottavio notice what is going on all move to surround Leporello, threatening him with death. Elvira tries to protect the man whom she thinks is Giovanni, claiming that he is her husband and begging for pity. The other four are resolved to punish the traitor, but Leporello removes his cloak to reveal his true identity. He begs everyone's forgiveness and, seeing an opportunity, runs off (Leporello aria: "Ah pietà signori miei" – "Ah, have mercy, my lords"). Given the circumstances, Ottavio is convinced that Giovanni was the murderer of Donna Anna's father (the deceased Commendatore) and swears vengeance ("Il mio tesoro" – "My treasure" – though in the Vienna version this was cut). Elvira is still furious at Giovanni for betraying her, but she also feels sorry for him. ("Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata" – "That ungrateful wretch betrayed me").
Scene 3 – A graveyard with the statue of the Commendatore.

Leporello tells Don Giovanni of his brush with danger, and Giovanni taunts him, saying that he took advantage of his disguise as Leporello, by trying to seduce one of Leporello's girlfriends. But the servant is not amused, suggesting it could have been his wife, and Don Giovanni laughs aloud at his servant's protests. The voice of the statue warns Giovanni that his laughter will not last beyond sunrise. At the command of his master, Leporello reads the inscription upon the statue's base: "I'm waiting for revenge against my murderer." The servant trembles, but the unabashed Giovanni orders him to invite the statue to dinner, threatening to kill him if he does not. Leporello makes several attempts to invite the statue to dinner but for fear cannot complete the task (Duet: "Oh, statua gentilissima" – "Oh most noble statue"). It falls upon Don Giovanni himself to complete the invitation, thereby sealing his own doom. Much to his surprise, the statue nods its head and responds affirmatively.

Scene 4 – Donna Anna's room.

Ottavio pressures Anna to marry him, but she thinks it inappropriate so soon after her father's death. He accuses her of being cruel, and she assures him that she loves him, and is faithful. ("Non mi dir" – "Tell me not").
Scene 5 – Don Giovanni's chambers

Giovanni revels in the luxury of a great meal and musical entertainment (during which the orchestra plays then-contemporary late 18th century music – including a reference to the aria "Non più andrai" from Mozart's own The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata , K. 492, is an opera buffa composed in 1786 in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro .Although the play by...

), while Leporello serves. (Finale "Già la mensa preparata" – "Already the meal is prepared"). Elvira appears, saying that she no longer feels resentment for Giovanni, only pity. ("L'ultima prova dell'amor mio" – "The final proof of my love"). Surprised by her lack of hatred, Giovanni asks what it is that she wants, and she begs him to change his life. Giovanni taunts her and then turns away, praising wine and women as the "essence and glory of humankind". Hurt and angered, Elvira gives up and leaves. A moment later, her scream is heard from outside the walls of the palace, and she returns only to flee through another door. Giovanni orders Leporello to see what has upset her; upon peering outside, the servant also cries out, and runs back into the room, stammering that the statue has appeared as promised. An ominous knocking sounds at the door. Leporello, paralyzed by fear, cannot answer it, so Giovanni opens it himself, revealing the statue of the Commendatore. With the supernatural D minor music from the overture made even more spine-tingling by the bass voice ("Don Giovanni! a cenar teco m'invitasti" – "Don Giovanni! You invited me to dine with you"), the Commendatore offers a last chance to repent, but Giovanni adamantly refuses. The statue sinks into the earth and drags Giovanni down with him. Hellfire, and a chorus of demons, surround Don Giovanni as he is carried below.

Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Donna Elvira, Zerlina, and Masetto arrive, searching for the villain. They find instead Leporello hiding under the table, shaken by the supernatural horror he has witnessed. Giovanni is dead. Anna and Ottavio will marry when Anna's year of mourning is over; Elvira will spend the rest of her life in a convent; Zerlina and Masetto will finally go home for dinner; and Leporello will go to the tavern to find a better master.

The concluding ensemble delivers the moral of the opera – "Such is the end of the evildoer: the death of a sinner always reflects his life" ("Questo è il fin"). In the past, the final ensemble was sometimes omitted by conductors who claimed that the opera should end when the title character dies. However, this approach has not survived, and today's conductors almost always include the finale in its entirety. The return to D major and the innocent simplicity of the last few bars perfectly conclude this masterpiece.

Recordings


A screen adaptation of the opera was made under the title Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni (1979 film)
Don Giovanni is a 1979 film adaptation of Mozart's classic opera Don Giovanni, based on the Don Juan legend of a seducer, destroyed by his excesses. The film stars Ruggero Raimondi in the title role. The director is Joseph Losey and the conductor Lorin Maazel. The film has generally been praised...

in 1979, and was directed by Joseph Losey
Joseph Losey
Joseph Walton Losey was an American theater and film director. After studying in Germany with Bertolt Brecht, Losey returned to the United States, eventually making his way to Hollywood...

.

Cultural influence


The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

 wrote a long essay in his book Enten – Eller
Either/Or
Published in two volumes in 1843, Either/Or is an influential book written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, exploring the aesthetic and ethical "phases" or "stages" of existence....

in which he argues, quoting Charles Gounod
Charles Gounod
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

, that Mozart's Don Giovanni is "a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection." E. T. A. Hoffmann also wrote a short story derived from the opera, "Don Juan," in which the narrator meets Donna Anna and describes Don Juan as an aesthetic hero rebelling against God and society.

The finale, in which Don Giovanni refuses to repent
Repentance
Repentance is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law...

, has been a captivating philosophical and artistic topic for many writers including George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

, who in Man and Superman
Man and Superman
Man and Superman is a four-act drama, written by George Bernard Shaw in 1903. The series was written in response to calls for Shaw to write a play based on the Don Juan theme. Man and Superman opened at The Royal Court Theatre in London on 23 May 1905, but with the omission of the 3rd Act...

parodied the opera (with explicit mention of the Mozart score for the finale scene between the Commendatore and Don Giovanni). Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert was a French writer who is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary , and for his scrupulous devotion to his art and style.-Early life and education:Flaubert was born on December 12, 1821, in Rouen,...

 called Don Giovanni, along with Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

and the sea, "the three finest things God ever made."

Don Giovanni and other composers



The sustained popularity of Don Giovanni has resulted in extensive borrowings and arrangements of the original. The most famous and probably the most musically substantial is the operatic fantasy, Réminiscences de Don Juan
Réminiscences de Don Juan
Réminiscences de Don Juan is an opera fantasy for piano by Franz Liszt on themes from Mozart's Don Giovanni. It is extremely technically demanding. For this reason, and perhaps also because of its length and dramatic intensity, it does not appear in concert programmes as often as Liszt's lighter...

by Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

. The minuet
Minuet
A minuet, also spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, and may have been from French menu meaning slender, small, referring to the very small steps, or from the early 17th-century popular...

 from the Finale of Act I makes an incongruous appearance in the manuscript of Liszt's Fantasy on Themes from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni, and Sigismond Thalberg
Sigismond Thalberg
Sigismond Thalberg was a composer and one of the most distinguished virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.- Descent and family background :...

 uses the same minuet, along with "Deh, vieni alla finestra", in his Grand Fantaisie sur la serenade et le Minuet de Don Juan, Op. 42. "Deh, vieni alla finestra" also makes an appearance in the Klavierübung
Klavierübung (Busoni)
The Klavierübung , by the Italian pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni, is a compilation of piano exercises and practice pieces, including transcriptions of works by other composers and original compositions of his own....

 of Ferruccio Busoni
Ferruccio Busoni
Ferruccio Busoni was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor.-Biography:...

, under the title Variations-Studie nach Mozart (Variation-study after Mozart). Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

 wrote Variations on "Là ci darem la mano"
Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" for piano and orchestra, Op. 2, was written in 1827, when he was aged only 17. It was one of the earliest manifestations of Chopin's incipient genius...

 (the duet between Don Giovanni and Zerlina) for piano and orchestra. Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 and Danzi
Franz Danzi
Franz Ignaz Danzi was a German cellist, composer and conductor, the son of the noted Italian cellist Innocenz Danzi. Born in Schwetzingen, Franz Danzi worked in Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, where he died....

 also wrote variations on the same theme. And Beethoven, in his Diabelli Variations
Diabelli Variations
The 33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120, commonly known as the Diabelli Variations, is a set of variations for the piano written between 1819 and 1823 by Ludwig van Beethoven on a waltz composed by Anton Diabelli...

, cites Leporello's aria "Notte e giorno faticar" in Variation 22.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

 always held Don Giovanni in the greatest awe, and regarded Mozart as his musical god. In 1855, Mozart's original manuscript had been purchased in London by the mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot, who was the teacher of Tchaikovsky's one-time unofficial fiancée Désirée Artôt
Désirée Artôt
Désirée Artôt was a Belgian soprano , who was famed in German and Italian opera and sang mainly in Germany...

 (whom Viardot may have persuaded not to go through with her plan to marry the composer). Viardot kept the manuscript in a shrine in her Paris home, where it was visited by many people. Tchaikovsky visited her when he was in Paris in June 1886, and said that when looking at the manuscript, he was "in the presence of divinity". So it is not surprising that the centenary of the opera in 1887 would inspire him to write something honouring Mozart. Instead of taking any themes from Don Giovanni, however, he took four lesser known works by Mozart and arranged them into his fourth orchestral suite
Orchestral Suite No. 4 (Tchaikovsky)
The Orchestral Suite No. 4 Op. 61, more commonly known as Mozartiana, is an orchestral suite by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, written in 1887 as a tribute to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on the 100th anniversary of that composer's opera Don Giovanni...

, which he called Mozartiana. The baritone who sang the title role in the centenary performance of Don Giovanni in Prague that year was Mariano Padilla y Ramos
Mariano Padilla y Ramos
Mariano Padilla y Ramos was a Spanish operatic baritone who excelled in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni.- Life :...

, the man Désirée Artôt married instead of Tchaikovsky.

In addition to instrumental works, allusions to Don Giovanni also appear in a number of operas: Nicklausse of Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

's The Tales of Hoffmann sings a snatch of Leporello's "Notte e giorno," and Rossini alludes to the Commendatore's music for Selim's entrance in Il turco in Italia
Il turco in Italia
Il turco in Italia is an opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini. The Italian-language libretto was written by Felice Romani...

.

Jean Françaix
Jean Françaix
Jean René Désiré Françaix was a French neoclassical composer, pianist, and orchestrator, known for his prolific output and vibrant style.-Life:...

's Mozart new-look, Petite fantaisie pour contrebasse et instruments à vent sur la Sérénade de "Don Giovanni" (Mozart New-Look: Little Fantasy for Double Bass and Wind Instruments on the Serenade from "Don Giovanni"), written in 1981, is based on the aria "Deh, vieni alla finestra".

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