Don Giovanni A two-act opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

A two-act opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The libretto of Lorenzo da Ponte






Concertmaster VANYA ZLATEVА

Assistant director LINA PEEVA



History of creation

Don Juan's controversial but also charismatic personality is without a doubt one of the most tempting images for artists from all fields of art. He became the hero of an impressive number of works of art - operas, ballets, operettas, dramas, comedies, novels, poems, paintings, sculptures, symphonic works… For the first time the legend of the irresistible sworn adventurer and conqueror of women's hearts a stage work in the play The Seducer of Seville (1601) by the Spanish playwright Tirso de Molina. After Molina, a number of writers, including Moliere, Goldoni, Hoffman, Byron, Merimee and Pushkin, composers such as Gluck, Dargomizhsky and Richard Strauss created works on the same subject. However, one of the most significant of this galaxy remains Mozart's opera.

In January 1787, Mozart went with his wife to Prague on vacation with his friend and ardent admirer Count Thun. (The great success of The Wedding of Figaro, reaped in the Czech capital before, aroused joyful expectations in the composer.) There the director of the Prague Theater, Bondini, offered Mozart to write an opera for a fee of one hundred ducats. The latter accepted the task and turned to Lorenzo da Ponte, a librettist at the court of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II. The poet quickly managed to compose the ribretto, using the text of the libretto by Bartali, written for the opera by J. Gatsaniga, and in May 1787 Mozart began work on Don Juan. Legends are told about the speed with which this opera was completed. One of them is that Wolfgang Amadeus wrote the wonderful overture on the day of the premiere - September 29, 1787 in Prague. The show was an astonishing success. The following year the opera was presented in Vienna, with Mozart making some corrections to the score for the Austrian production. The premiere of "Don Juan" in the author's hometown, however, is unfortunately not very well received.

The opera "Don Juan" is one of the peaks in the work of the genius Mozart - a widely accepted opinion. This musical-theatrical work is a rarely successful combination of dramatic and comic opera. The author himself calls it a "jocosa drama" ("cheerful drama"). The dramatic construction of the work demonstrates Mozart's unique sense of stage action. At the same time, all musical numbers are the highest perfection of the musical form. The images are bright, embossed and vivid, sculpted with unique mastery. And Don Juan's overture is one of Mozart's greatest and most significant overtures. By its nature it is related to the musical character of the opera. And, among other things, it is one of the most frequently performed orchestral works by Mozart.



Don Juan, a young, extremely roadless nobleman

Leporello, servant of don Juan

Commander, (Don Pedro)

Dona Anna, his daughter, engaged to Don Ottavio

Don Ottavio

Dona Elvira, a lady from Burgos, abandoned by don Juan

Mazetto, a young peasant

Zerlina, Mazetto's fiancée

The action takes place in Spain in the middle of the XVII century.


World premiere - December 29, 1787,

National Theater - Prague


Night in Seville.

Leporello, don Juan's servant, stands guard in front of the Commander's house, where his lord has secretly crept in in search of adventures with Dona Anna, the Commander's daughter. Leporello mourns his troubled and difficult life as a servant of Donna. Even now he has to watch for hours on a frosty night. It was not her fiancé Ottavio, whom she was expecting, who entered Anna, but a complete stranger trying to seduce her. The young woman desperately resists and cries for help. Don Juan tries to escape, but the Commander runs to his daughter's cries, summoning the stranger to a duel. Don tries to avoid the fight - neither the girl nor her father recognize him, though. However, the indomitable old man attacked first and after a short duel fell, fatally stabbed by don Juan's sword. Leporello and his master quickly fled the scene. Meanwhile, Dona Anna summoned her fiancé Don Ottavio for help; but it is too late: her father is dead. Over the lifeless body of the old knight, the fiancés swear revenge on the murderer.



Don Juan too quickly forgot about the bloody midnight accident and embarked on adventures again. Leporello, to whom Don tells another adventure, reproaches him for his endless passions and asks him to change this way of life. At this moment, a young woman asks herself, who in a monologue pours out her anger on an unfaithful lover. This is Dona Elvira. The cunning seducer immediately sets out to court the unknown lady. However, when she lifts her veil, the treacherous seducer recognizes in her one of her many abandoned lovers, hurries to get rid of her and escapes unnoticed. Leporello tells the deceived woman about his master's countless adventures and advises her not to grieve for him. Outraged by the insidiousness of her ex-lover, Elvira threatens to avenge her insulted honor.


Near Seville.

A merry country wedding is set on the way. The happy newlyweds are Zerlina and Mazetto. Don Juan is instantly attracted to the beauty of the bride and decides to have fun in his "own" way - by seducing her. To accomplish his goal, he invites all the bride and groom to a feast in his palace and orders Leporello to take them there, and he lags behind with Zerlina. Mazetto is worried about leaving his young wife, but the nobleman's exhortations and Zerlina's insistence eventually persuade him to go with the others. It is not at all difficult for don Juan to capture and enchant the naive and simple-minded Zerlina; however, the moment he takes her in his arms, Dona Elvira suddenly appears. She tries to save the innocent girl from the insidious seducer, snatching her from his arms, which, of course, confuses Donna's plans. Dona Anna and Don Otavio appear. They ask don Juan, in whose face they recognize only a trusted old friend, to help them find the Commander's assassin. During the brief conversation, however, Anna is horrified to recognize in Donna's voice her father's long-sought killer. Shocked, she calls on Ottavio to take revenge on the bastard.


The garden in front of Don Juan Castle

Despite his failures that day, don Juan did not refuse to seduce Zerlina and ordered Leporello to treat the guests generously without sparing the wine. At this time, Zerlina reassures the jealous Mazetto, who reproaches her for paying too much attention to the noble master. And here he is - charmingly carefree and cheerful. Zerlina wants to avoid the meeting, but Mazetto convinces her to stay, and he hides in a nearby gazebo. Don Juan begins to whisper soft words to the young woman, trying at the same time to get her into the gazebo. From there, however, an enraged Mazetto jumps out. With his inherent eloquence, the nobleman managed to calm him down and invited the two to his castle. Three masked figures appear. These are Elvira, Anna and Ottavio, who came with the intention of taking revenge on the seductive murderer. Without recognizing them, don Juan orders Leporello to invite them to the castle as well.


Ballroom in the castle of don Juan

Everyone is having fun. In the middle of the general feast, only Mazetto is overwhelmed with heavy thoughts and constantly watches his dancing lover. In the midst of the dance, the mysterious three masked men enter. Don Juan takes advantage of the hustle and bustle and draws Zerlina out of the hall. Shortly afterwards, her cries for help are heard, the dancing stops, and Mazetto goes down to save her. Don Juan gets out of the awkward situation by blaming his servant Leporello for the treacherous attack on Zerlina. Dona Anna, don Ottavio and dona Elvira take off their masks and denounce don Juan. Meanwhile, he and Leporello manage to make their way and escape.

Under Dona Elvira's balcony

After the last scandal, from which he barely got rid of the skin, Leporello finally decided to leave his master. However, the purse of coins that Don Juan throws at him refuses his intention. Don himself is in front of his ex-mistress's house not because of her, but because of her beautiful maid. It is not she who goes out on the balcony, but Dona Elvira. To get rid of her unforeseen unwanted presence, the cunning adventurer immediately devises an action plan: he invites Elvira to go for a short walk, ostensibly to ask her forgiveness, and in the meantime he changes his hat and pays with Leporello's. Leporello, as a true devoted servant, skillfully plays the role of his master and takes the trusting Dona Elvira, enchanting her with explanations in love. Left alone, don Juan sings a serenade to the maid. Unexpectedly, a group of villagers approached him, led by Mazetto. They are looking for don Juan to avenge the insult to Zerlina. They fail to recognize the adventurer dressed in his servant's clothes. He sends them after Leporello and Dona Elvira. As everyone descends, the real don Juan holds Mazetto, beats him, and runs away. Zerlina runs to comfort her offended husband.

Leporello, worried about Dona Elvira's presence, is already wondering how to get rid of her. Unexpectedly, Dona Anna and Don Otavio appear before them, and shortly after them - Cerlina and Mazetto. Everyone takes Leporello for don Juan and wants to punish him immediately. Elvira begs them in vain for mercy. The offended are relentless. Ottavio draws his sword and invites the supposed don Juan to do the same. Forced by circumstances, Leporello takes off his hat and pays and reveals himself. At first the servant embarks on pleas for mercy, then uses the hesitation of others and runs away.


At midnight in the cemetery of Seville

After their countless adventures, the master and servant hiding from the persecutors meet here. Don Juan cheerfully tells his anxious Leporello another spicy story. Suddenly, however, he is interrupted by a strange and very sinister voice, which warns Donna not to defile the peace of the dead. It turns out that they were both standing in front of the stone tombstone of the Commander. Don Juan laughs at Leporello's fright, and in his cynicism even goes so far as to mockingly invite the statue to dinner at his home. To the great horror of the poor servant, the statue accepted the invitation.


Hall in the castle of don Juan

The host is sitting at the dinner table. The orchestra plays pleasant music, and he carelessly eats and drinks in the company of young and beautiful women. Unexpectedly, Dona Elvira, led by bad forebodings, comes and begs Donna to change her wayward life; however, the charming heartbreaker and adventurer does not want to hear and even invites her to dinner. Shocked by the murderous irony with which she is greeted, Elvira leaves the home of her former lover forever. At that moment, a knock was heard on the door, and to Leporello's horror, the stone statue of the Commander entered the room. Don Juan himself is shocked, but he is not a coward and quickly manages to control himself, after which he orders his servant to bring another utensil for the guest. The statue refuses dinner and invites don Juan to repent of his sins. Leporello trembles in horror… However, the proud adventurer flatly refuses any repentance. Then the statue offers him a hand and don Juan without fear also gives his own. At that moment, lightning flashes. The statue disappears. Don Juan remains on the ground, pierced by the icy lightning of death…