Don Giovanni, a Spanish nobleman, travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When his actions lead to murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.
‘The opera of all operas’ was how the German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann described Mozart’s Don Giovanni. It was first staged in Prague in 1787 and by the 19th century had become one of the most performed operas in Europe. It had a profound influence on many Romantic writers, including Shelley and Byron, and has led to an enduring fascination with the licentious figure of ‘Don Juan’.
Mozart’s score offers many musical highlights, from beautiful arias and dramatic duets to the brilliant layering of three dance melodies in the Act I party scene. The appeal of Don Giovanni lies in his seductive charm. He woos Zerlina in a duet of irresistible sweetness and banters spiritedly with his servant Leporello. But Don Giovanni cannot escape the consequences of his actions. His victims pursue him with flaming torches, voicing their fury in powerful ensembles. And in the final scene in this production, the flames of hell take truly tangible form.
News and features
9 January 2014
Mozart's famous anti-hero isn't opera's only irresistible charmer.