by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto (Story) by Lorenzo DaPonte (1749-1838)
Example score page of Don Giovanni
Mozart's wife "Constanze"
Opera Premiered Prague, National Theater, 1787
CLICK HERE - To View Entire Opera Vocal Score
Don Giovanni is set in Seville in the mid-17th Century and is based on the legends of Don Juan ("Overture").
Act I, Scene 1 - Leporello, servant to Don Giovanni, impatiently waits for his master outside Donna Anna's house, where the Don is attempting to seduce the lady. Suddenly, Don Giovanni and Donna Anna appear, struggling. Anna unsuccessfully tries to discover his identity. Her father, the Commendatore, appears and challenges the Don to a duel; Anna runs to get help. Don Giovanni, at first reluctant, accepts the challenge, and kills the old man. Leporello and the Don escape. Donna Anna returns with her betrothed, Don Ottavio, to find her father dead, and makes Ottavio swear to avenge her father's death ("Ma qual mai soffre, oh Dei").
Scene 2 - The next day, Leporello, having made the Don promise not to punish him for speaking freely, tells him that his life is scandalous ("Orsu, spicciati presto"). When the Don becomes angry, Leporello changes the subject to Don Giovanni's "catalogue" of women. As Don Giovanni tells of his latest flame, Donna Elvira appears. The men, not recognizing her, hide as she rages at her betrayal at the hands of a scoundrel ("Ah! chi mi dice mai"). When Don Giovanni, pleased at the prospect of another conquest, approaches to comfort her, she recognizes him as the man who married and abandoned her. As she berates him, the dismayed Don sneaks off, and Leporello, explaining to her that she's not the only one, displays the catalogue to her ("Madamina, il catalogo e questo").
Scene 3 - A group of villagers are celebrating the wedding of Zerlina and Masetto. Don Giovanni and Leporello admire the girls; the Don is very interested in Zerlina. He invites everyone to enter his castle to eat and drink. But he detains Zerlina, to the annoyance of the jealous Masetto, who is finally persuaded to go with the others ("Ho capito"). The Don promises to marry Zerlina ("La ci darem la mano"). Seduced, Zerlina agrees, but Donna Elvira reappears, warns the girl against him, and takes her away.
Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive. Not realizing that Don Giovanni is the man who murdered her father, she seeks his help. Donna Elvira returns and tries to tell the others what kind of man he really is ("Ah! fuggi il traditor!"), but Don Giovanni tells them that Elvira is mad and takes her away ("Non ti fidar, o misera"). But Donna Anna has realized, from his voice, that Don Giovanni was her attacker. She tells Don Ottavio what happened to her on the night her father was killed and again begs him to seek vengeance ("Or sai chi lonore"). Ottavio, left alone, reflects on his love for her ("Dalla sua pace").
Don Giovanni and Leporello reappear. Leporello tells him how he got the villagers drunk and managed to lock Elvira out of the house to boot. The Don, highly pleased, orders a huge party ("Finch han del vino") and goes off to prepare for it. Masetto stalks into the garden, ignoring Zerlina's entreaties and accusing her of infidelity. She urges Masetto to beat her if he wants, as long as they make up ("Batti, batti, o bel Masetto"). Masetto relents, but when they hear Don Giovanni approaching, Zerlina becomes agitated and Masetto, suspicious, hides to watch them together. The Don renews his attentions and tries to draw her aside into the very place where Masetto is hiding. The Don, quickly recovering from his surprise, blithely explains to Masetto that Zerlina missed her husband, and takes the couple off. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, and Donna Elvira enter, masked, intending to expose Don Giovanni to everyone. Don Giovanni and Leporello, not recognizing them, invite them to the party.
As the guests dance, the Don continues his advances to Zerlina. The Don heartily welcomes the masked trio. He dances with Zerlina; Leporello grabs Masetto and forces him to dance, allowing the Don to drag Zerlina away. When Zerlina's screams are heard, Masetto and the others rush to find her, but the Don re-enters and tries to pretend that Leporello is the culprit. Don Ottavio, Donna Anna, and Donna Elvira unmask and threaten Don Giovanni, who keeps them at bay with his sword ("Protegga il giusto cielo"). Using Leporello as a shield, the Don escapes.
Act II, Scene 1 - In a courtyard by Donna Elvira's house, Leporello threatens to leave Don Giovanni, but is persuaded to stay with a purse of money ("Eh via, buffone, eh via!"). The Don has a plan: Leporello is to pretend to be him and entice Elvira away, leaving the Don, dressed as Leporello, free to seduce her maid. They exchange clothes. When Elvira appears, the Don hides behind Leporello and serenades her ("Ah, taci, inguisto core"). Elvira agrees to come to him. The Don hides as Leporello clumsily makes love to her. Don Giovanni then leaps out, pretending to be a robber, and the pair run off. The Don then serenades the maid ("Deh vieni alla finestra"), but is forced to hide when Masetto and some armed villagers come looking for him. Pretending to be Leporello, the Don approaches and tells them that he has left his master, and sends them off in all directions to find him ("Meta di voi qua vadano"). Alone with Masetto, the Don tricks him into handing over his weapons, and then thrashes him and runs off, leaving Masetto groaning on the ground. Zerlina appears, comforts him, and takes him home ("Vedrai, carino").
Leporello and Elvira return; he is trying to find a way to escape her. Just as he finds the courtyard door, Ottavio and Anna enter, followed by Zerlina and Masetto. Thinking he is Don Giovanni, they corner him while Elvira begs them to spare him ("Ah, pietà! Signori miei!"). Desperate, he reveals himself to the astonishment of all. As they advance on him, he begs for mercy but manages to flee. Don Ottavio urges the others to comfort Anna while he seeks revenge ("Il mio tesoro"). Elvira, left alone, laments her betrayal ("Mi tradi quell alma ingrata").
Scene 2 - In a graveyard, Don Giovanni laughingly relates his recent adventures to Leporello. Suddenly, a ghostly voice says that his mirth will soon end. Leporello, frightened, notices a statue of the Commendatore, on which is inscribed a vow of vengeance on his murderer ("O statua gentilissima"). Don Giovanni brazenly orders Leporello to invite the statue to supper. The statue accepts.
Scene 3 - At supper in his dining room, the Don orders the orchestra to play while Leporello sneaks food from the table. Donna Elvira bursts in and begs the Don to change his ways ("Crudele? Non mi dir, bell idol mio"), but he merely invites her to eat. As she leaves, she suddenly stops at the door, screams, and runs out another door. The Don orders Leporello to go and see what was there. Leporello does so, and returns stammering about a man of stone knocking at the door. The Commendatore's statue appears and announces that he has come for supper. The Don offers his hospitality as Leporello hides. The statue refuses mortal food, but invites Don Giovanni to sup with him. The Don accepts, giving the statue his hand as a promise, but finds himself trapped. The statue demands that Don Giovanni repent ("A Cenar Teco Minvitasti!"), but he refuses, and is dragged screaming off to Hell as a chorus of demons condemn him.
Ottavio, Anna, Elvira, Zerlina, and Masetto now arrive to confront Don Giovanni. Leporello brokenly explains what has happened ("Ah! dov e il perfido"). Donna Anna agrees to marry Don Ottavio; Donna Elvira will retire to a convent; Zerlina and Masetto will go home to eat; and Leporello will go to the inn to find a new master.
The morals of the story...
He who lives wickedly will die wickedly.
Thou Shalt Not Kill.