At The Opera, Mozart's Don Giovanni (1961), May 28, 2022
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Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga (now called the Estates Theatre) 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.
The original piece of this opera is the legend about "Don Juan" that is well-known in Europe. As legend goes, Don Juan had 1003 lovers in Spain. Don Juan is referred to as "Don Giovanni" in this opera. There are three women who have quite different backgrounds, a daughter of aristocracy, Donna Anna, a DG's former lover, Donna Elvira, and a village beauty, Zerlina. It is remarkable to see the interaction between Don Giovanni and the three women.
Mozart's previous opera, "The Marriage of Figaro", was a great success in Prague. Enthusiastic funs of Mozart in Prague desire to see a new Mozart opera. The chief manager of the National Theater in Prague suggested to Mozart to create a new opera. From that background, Mozart composed this opera, "Don Giovanni." Mozart was concerned whether this new opera would gain currency among people in Prague. Fortunately for Mozart, Don Giovanni became successful.
There are some serious scenes in this opera, for example, to fight a duel between Don Giovanni and the Commendatore. The most dramatic scene is that Don Giovanni goes to hell. Mozart composed some very great dramatic music for this scene. It is one of the greatest scenes in all of Mozart's operas.
EMI recording 1961
Eberhard Wächter – Don Giovanni
Giuseppe Taddei - Leporello
Joan Sutherland - Donna Anna
Luigi Alva – Don Ottavio
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf – Donna Elvira
Graziella Sciutti - Zerlina
Piero Cappuccilli - Masetto
Gottlob Frick - Commendatore
Conductor – Carlo Maria Giulini
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