Don Giovanni, Opera by W. A. Mozart
Experiencing Mozart's Don Giovanni in the theatre in which it was first performed is an event that no lover of opera can afford to miss. One can but imagine the astonishment of the audience at its premiere in the Estates Theatre on 29 October 1787, expecting an opera buffa but witnessing a work like none that had gone before it. Don Giovanni walks the thinnest of lines between comedy and tragedy and is ultimately a work which is intensely dramatic, epitomised by an astonishing finale in which its anti-hero is dragged down to the pits of hell.
This is the fate that awaits Don Giovanni, an incorrigible womaniser who is undone by his amorous conquests. In the very first scene, his attempt to seduce Donna Anna leads to him killing her father Don Pedro, a knight of the highest chivalric order. Don Giovanni carries on regardless, chasing every woman he meets irrespective of her place in society, until the spirit of Don Pedro returns to take vengeance on the libertine. It is however Don Giovanni’s defiance in refusing to atone for his sins, rather than the life he has led, that results in his final downfall.
Rather than take a moral stance - Mozart’s librettist and great collaborator, da Ponte, was known to be something of a lothario himself - the composer’s interest was in the opportunities Don Giovanni gave him to stage a work of immense theatrical power in which every note of the music gives life to the drama that unfolds.