The online opera guide to DON GIOVANNI

In order to describe the final result of the collaboration between Da Ponte and Mozart, superlatives must not be neglected. “World theatre at the level of Don Qujote and Hamlet” or “opera of the operas” are attributes heard and read again and again.









♪ Act I (Seduction Donna Anna, Seduction of Zerlina)

♪ Act II (Revenge, Stone Guest)

Recording Recommendation


Notte e giorno faticar

Madamina il catalogo e questo (Catalogue Aria)

La ci darem la mano

Fin ch’han dal vino (Champagne aria)

Vedrai carino

Protegga il giusto cielo (Terzetto of the three masks)

Il mio tesoro








Prag, 1787


Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on the novel El burlador de Sevilla by Diego Tello.


Don Giovanni, young and licentious nobleman (Bass) - Leporello, servant of Don Giovanni (Bass) - Commander, Member of a knightly order (Bass) - Donna Anna, Daugther of the Commander (Sopran) - Don Ottavio, Fiancée of Donna Anna (Tenor) - Donna Elvira, Noble lady from Burgos (Soprano) - Zerlina, Farmer(Soprano) - Masetto, Bridgegroom of Zerlina (Bass)


EMI, Eberhard Wächter, Giuseppe Taddei, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Piero Cappuccilli, Luigi Alva and Gottlob Frick under the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini and the Philharmonia Choir and Orchestra









Da Ponte’s Libretto

After the overwhelming success of his “Le nozze di Figaro” in Prague, Mozart wanted to write a successor work for the Czech capital. He asked da Ponte for a proposal for a theme. Da Ponte suggested the material of Don Juan. Mozart was enthusiastic and da Ponte set to work. Since the 18th century did not know the copyright, Da Ponte generously made use of existing works. These were mainly “El burlador de Sevilla” by Tello (the model for all later Don Juan plots) and “The stone guest” by Bertati.

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard was a fervent admirer of this opera. He commented on it at length and summed up the significance of the work in the following words: “With his Don Juan, Mozart joins the small immortal band of men whose names, whose works time will not forget, as eternity commemorates them.” The majority of the laurels are due to Mozart. The music reflects the drama of the work in the most successful way and every piece from the opera seems to be accomplished. Although a good text is conceded to Dal Ponte, it clearly falls behind Figaro as far as the personality of the characters is concerned.



Tragedy or comedy?

Hardly any opera offers so much space for discussions and analyses. For example, the question of whether it is a tragedy or a comedy has led many experts to take up the pen. Da Ponte called it a “dramma giocoso” (hence a mixture) and Mozart called it an “opera buffa” in his personal list of operas. In fact, we encounter three classical characters of the opera buffa (Giovanni, Leporello, Zerlina) but also three characters of the opera seria (Octavio, Donna Anna, Commendatore).



Casanova and Da Ponte

In addition to the literary figure of Don Juan, at the time of the composition of Don Giovanni  there existed a legendary seducer of women: Giacomo Casanova. At the time of the composition he was already over 60 years old and retired. He was friends with da Ponte. Casanova visited Da Ponte and Mozart during the preparations for the opera in Prague and was present at the first performance. Apparently he gave advice on the libretto, but it is unclear whether Da Ponte took it into account.



Class distinction

Class distincion is an important topic in this opera. In Mozart’s Operas one finds it between the lines. For example, that the stage presence of Leporello’s role is the same as that of his aristocratic master and that both have the same voice fach. This was revolutionary in courtly Vienna and went beyond all norms.

In the end everything turns out positive, but all are marked by what happened. Donna Anna asks her fiancé Don Ottavio to give her another year to think about it. Leporello has to find a new lord and Donna Elvira goes to the monastery. Only Zerlina and Masetto, the people from lower class are happy together. The nobles – we are on the eve of the French Revolution – are the losers.



The stone guest

Shortly after Mozart received the commission to compose Don Giovanni from Prague, the catastrophe of his father’s death occurred. Mozart was shaken. From this the thought crystallized that Mozart immortalized his father and super-father in the stone guest. In fact, Mozart never commented on the biographical background of this figure, and so this thesis remains speculation.







The Overture – a brilliant orchestral piece


The opera begins with fateful chords. With d minor Mozart chooses a key for the beginning of the overture which he reserves for the most tragic moments, such as his Requiem. In fact, we find these chords again towards the end of the opera, at the dramatic climax when the stone guest is going to see Don Giovanni. After about 2 minutes the music changes to D major and we hear a brilliant, festive music.

Apparently Mozart wrote the overture the night before the premiere. It must be assumed that Mozart already had the work in his head and that the nightly transcription was only the last step. The score was feverishly completed by the copyists for the orchestra during the day. The beginning of the opera had to be postponed from 7 p.m. to 7.45 p.m. as not all musicians had their copies yet ! So the overture could not be rehearsed. Mozart seems to have been quite satisfied with the performance: “A lot of notes fell under carpet, but overall the overture went quite well! The cheers of the audience were loud



The aria «Notte e giorno faticar» – Class distinction a hot topic

Synopsis: Leporello waits in front of a house for Don Giovanni. He is annoyed that he has to stay up all a night again. His master is once again in a woman’s bedroom and Leporello has to be a lookout. Don Giovanni appears in the arms of Donna Anna, who won’t let him go. She wants to know his name. The noise awakens the commendatore, the father of Donna Anna. He recognizes the situation and goes after the seducer with the sword. In a duel, Don Giovanni stabs the commendatore.

Leporello is a buffo character, a man of the people. Mozart wrote a simple and effective aria for him: Every syllable has a tone like a folk song, except in “Voglio far il gentiluomo” (I want to mime the aristocrat) the music becomes long and rhythmic.

Leporello’s aria of his first appearance is enchanting. The text “notte e giorno faticar” (slaving night and day) has become proverbial.

Suddenly Don Giovanni appears with Donna Anna. Interestingly, in the whole opera we don’t find out exactly what happened in the bedroom – did “something” happen ? if so, it was consensual ? And the tragedy happens, Don Giovanni stabs the commander who hastened to the scene. At this moment the game of love becomes a game of life and death.

These 3 scenes take place in only 5 minutes. A truly breathtaking start! We hear this scene in a Met production with Feruccio Furlanetto (Leporello), Bryn Terfel (Don Giovanni) and Renee Fleming (Donna Anna).

Notte e giorno faticar  –  Furlanetto / Fleming / Terfel



Donna Anna and Don Ottavio – an odd couple

Synopsis: Don Giovanni and Leoporello leave, Donna Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio appear. Terrified, they find their father lying dead on the floor. Donna Anna wants Don Ottavio to avenge her father, Don Ottavio promises her so.

Don Ottavio is the only tenor role of this opera. We are used to it, that the tenor is the hero in an opera. Here the tenor is a poor guy and the typical loser: his relationship with Donna Anna is complicated throughout the opera, at the death of the commander he comes too late and he has constantly has to sing arias instead of doing something. Throughout the opera Donna Anna shows him around like a dancing bear, telling him what to do and what not to do.

Fuggi, crudele, fuggi – Fleming / Groves



Don Giovanni involuntarily runs into an old conquest – Donna Elvira

Synopsis: Leporello and Don Giovanni are on the road in Sevilla. Leporello accuses Don Giovanni of leading the life of a villain. Don Giovanni cuts him short because the next conquest is imminent. His unerring sense tells him that there is a woman nearby. Donna Elvira actually appears. She is a woman from Burgos who has been seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni and is looking for him.

Donna Elvira is a self-confident woman of noble blood. Mozart has set this aria in a very colourful way, with alternating instruments that pass on the musical motifs. Everything flows in this aria and the runs, demanding an evenness of the singer’s voice.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was one of the great Elvira of recording history. Her interpretation of “Ah chi mi dice mai” is gripping, intense and yet round.

Ah chi mi dice mai  –  Schwarzkopf


Cecilia Bartoli sings an agitated and combative Donna Elvira, with clenched fists she swears revenge…

Ah chi mi dice mai  –  Bartoli



Leporello’s famous catalogue aria – Madamino, il catalogo è questo

Synopsis: Don Giovanni does not recognize her and speaks to the beautiful one. She recognizes him. After the jealous scene, Don Giovanni leaves the unfortunate and Leporello advises her to forget Don Giovanni because she will not be his first nor his last conquest. With pleasure he tells her that Don Giovanni already had over 2000 lovers and explains Don Giovanni’s conquest technique in detail.

Accompanied by giggling flutes, he begins to read from the catalogue. For this reason the aria bears the title “Catalogue-Arie”.

In Italy, six hundred and forty;
In Germany, two hundred and thirty-one;
A hundred in France; in Turkey, ninety-one;
But in Spain already one thousand and three.

Leporello saves the biggest impudence for the end of this aria.

So long as she wears a skirt
You know what he does

He sings provocatively slowly 4 times “quell’ che fa” (what he does) and pokes around in the wound of poor Elvira:. Mozart and Da Ponte prove true black humour.

A great interpretation by Feruccio Furlanetto and acting by Donna Elvira and Don Giovanni in this Metropolitan Opera recording. The facial expression alone is a pleasure.

Madamina, il catalogo è questo  –  Furlanetto


A recording of Giuseppe Taddei, perhaps the most renowned of all Leporellos. Here in the legendary Giulini recording from the fifties.

Madamina, il catalogo è questo  –  Taddei


Synopsis: Donna Elvira recognizes the hopelessness and swears revenge. Meanwhile Don Giovanni is already at the next conquest. He meets a wedding party and sees a pretty bride. He speaks to the couple. He quickly contrives a ruse. He orders Leporello to entertain the company nobly, during which he can seduce the bride Zerlina unhurriedly. Her future husband Masetto smells the rat. But Zerlina assures him that he doesn’t have to be afraid. Masetto is upset but bows to fate.

Since Ponte’s verses in this piece all end “in tronco” (i.e. with a stressed vowel), this is a stylistic means to illustrate the turbulence of Massetto with sharp vocals.

From the famous Giulini recording we hear the aria of Piero Cappuccili’s Masetto.

Ho capito  –  Cappuccili


The famous love duet la ci darem la mano


Synopsis: Zerlina and Don Giovanni are alone. Don Giovanni explains to Zerlina that it would be too bad if she gave herself to a peasant bumpkin and promises her marriage and a life together in his castle. Zerlina suspects a ruse, but finally gets involved, and they go to the castle.

In this scene we see Don Giovanni’s art of seduction for the first time. This consists of a seductive, languidly sung melody. In addition, he lies to her about marriage and wealth. What is psychologically interesting is that Don Giovanni adapts musically to the peasant environment and Mozart composed a simple, anything but aristocratic melody. Zerlina is torn and sings “vorrei e non vorrei” (I want to and don’t want to), but Mozart shows us with his music that she likes to be seduced by her fairytale prince Don Giovanni, because he lets her repeat musically everything Don Giovanni sings to her until they finally sing the melody together.

Eberhard Wächter was the Don Giovanni of the Giulini recording. He captivates with an incredibly seductive performance.

La ci darem la mano  –  Wächter / Sciutti


From the legendary Furtwängler recording of the Salzburg Festival in 1953 we hear Cesare Siepi in the role of his life.

La ci darem la mano  –  Siepi / Berger


And finally a nice version with Hvorostovsky and Renee Fleming.

La ci darem la mano  –  Hvorostovsky / Fleming


Synopsis: Donna Elvira has observed the scene and warns Zerlina from Don Giovanni. He claims that the lady is only a jealous woman. Elvira begs Zerlina to flee.

This short piece is somewhat oddish because it is composed in an outdated baroque style (a dotted rhythm in three-four time reminiscent of a French dance).

Ah fuggi, il traditor – Schwarzkopf


Synopsis: Donna Elvira takes Zerlina by the arm and they go off. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio appear.  The two are in search of the unknown murderer and ask Don Giovanni of all people for help. Donna Elvira intervenes and tells about Don Giovanni’s machinations.

Non ti fidar (Quartet)



Donna Anna and Don Ottavio swear revenge

Synopsis: When Donna Anna and Don Ottavio are alone, Anna tells him about the night when she thought it was Ottavio who was visiting her in the bedroom. It dawns on them that Don Giovanni is the Commander’s murderer. Donna Anna once again demands that Don Ottavio take revenge.

This aria shows a Donna Anna with a strong inner fire. The aria is more difficult than it seems at first glance. The many repetitive motifs must be cleverly shaped so that this aria does not appear monotonous to the listener.

You hear 23-year-old Joan Sutherland in this 1959 recording.

Or sai chi l’onore – Sutherland


Synopsis: Don Ottavio swears revenge

This aria is sparingly orchestrated and has a high pitch. It is a lyrical resting point and must be sung in beautiful legato.

We hear this aria by 2 famous Mozart tenors. We begin with Fritz Wunderlich.

Dalla sua pace – Wunderlich


In the second recording we hear Léopold Simoneau almost lost in reverie, who captivates the listener.

Dalla sua pace – Simoneau



Don Giovanni’s famous champagne aria


Synopsis: Don Giovanni returns to the castle. Leporello informs him that Elvira has enlightened the whole wedding party about Don Giovanni. Leporello then succeeded in luring Elvira away from the castle. Don Giovanni praises Leporello and looks forward to the evening’s conquests.

Don Giovanni’s champagne aria is an exuberant piece in which he feverishly gives Leporello instructions for the evening at breathtaking speed. Leporello is supposed to organize a party with music and dance and ensure that everyone is drunk so that Don Giovanni can pursue his favourite activity. 12 new conquests should be on the list by the next day. Don Giovanni is a murderer and a seducer, but he also has a great appetite for life, which Mozart has inimitably composed with the forward pulse of music and the fast notes. When listening to the aria it is not possible for us to detest him.

First we hear Cesare Siepi. His champagne aria is brilliant.

Fin ch’a dal vino – Siepi


Next we hear a vocally perfect Samuel Ramey. It’s amazing how sure the North American masters this linguistically difficult aria lyrically and musically. What we feel a little less is the devilish and manic aspects of Don Giovanni.

Fin ch’a dal vino – Ramey


Enzo Pinza was a famous Don Giovanni of the thirties. You hear a very round interpretation, a little less fiery and more aristocratic. He concludes the aria with a mocking laugh.

Fin ch’a dal vino  –  Pinza


Click on this link for further information and YouTube Videos of the aria «FIN CH’A DAL VINO ».



Zerlina soft-soaps Masetto – batti, batto bel Masetto

Synopsis: Masetto makes Zerlina a scene in the garden of Don Giovanni’s castle. Zerlina swears her allegiance to him.

This piece is one of Mozart’s magical love songs. Even if Zerlina wraps her masetto around her finger in this aria, and Mozart composed teasing moments with trills, it is still a beautiful love aria. Mozart’s beautiful idea of the solo cello, which tenderly plays around the voice of Zerlina during this aria, deserves special mention.

We hear Lucia Popp singing the aria with a warm and luminous voice.

Batti, batti o bel Masetto  –  Popp


Cecilia Bartoli sings the aria of Zerlina with a lot of mellifluousness and urgency.

Batti, batti o bel Masetto  –  Bartoli



The Finale of the First Act – In the Castle of Don Giovanni


Synopsis: Masetto is soothed, but his suspicion remains. When he sees Don Giovanni, he hides. Don Giovanni appears and invites the company into the dance hall to be alone with Zerlina.

Su svegliate, da bravi – Wächter


The great terzetto of the three masks

Synopsis: He takes her hand and Masetto comes out of the hiding place. Quick-witted Giovanni claims he only wanted to lead her to her groom.  Ottavio, Anna and Elvira have meanwhile appeared masked in the count’s castle. Leporello, who doesn’t recognize them, invites them into the dance hall.

We come to a great piece. The terzetto of the three chaser  is known under the name “terzetto of the three masks”. It is a magnificent and sublime lyrical piece in which the three ask heaven for help. The orchestral accompaniment of the three voices consists only of wind instruments. Don Ottavio forms the bass voice for the intimate singing of the two women.

We hear first the terzetto of the three masks of the Salzburg performance of 1953.

Protegga il giusto Cor –  Dermota / Grümmer / Della Casa


In the second version you will hear the dream cast Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Joan Sutherland and Luigi Alva from the Giulini recording.

Protegga il giusto Cor  –  Schwarzkopf / Sutherland / Luigi Alva



The dance and seduction scene

Synopsis:  Don Giovanni greets his guests in the brightly lit ballroom. The celebration begins with a dance. Leporello succeeds in distracting Masetto, and Don Giovanni abducts Zerlina into the bedroom. Suddenly screams of fear are heard. Ottavio and Masetto rush to help. Don Giovanni comes out seizing Leporello by the collar. He accuses him of having been pushy to Zerlina. The whole party is in turmoil. They  don’t believe Don Giovanni a word and prophesy an unfortunate fate for him.

This is the famous dance scene. An orchestra is on stage and Mozart has 3 dances played simultaneously in three different times. The first orchestra plays a minuet in 3/4 time (for the aristocratic trio), the second one a dance in 2/4 time (for Don Giovanni and Zerlina) and the third one in 3/8 time (for the peasants).

The rest of the scene sinks into the turmoil of the seduction scene and the subsequent masquerade of Don Giovanni.

Finale Act I











The great trio “Ah taci ingiusto core”

Synopsis: Leporello and Don Giovanni are in front of an inn. Leporello wants to leave Don Giovanni for good, the situation gets too hot for him. Don Giovanni manages to appease Leporello with a few doubloons. His philosophy is “It’s all for love. To be faithful to one is to be cruel to the others”. It’s already evening and Don Giovanni’s next planned conquest is Donna Elvira’s maid. First Donna Elvira has to be lured out of the house. When she appears on the balcony, Leporello puts on Don Giovanni’s clothes and mimes the repentant Don Giovanni. Leporello moves his lips to the song of the hidden Don Giovanni.

An irresistible trio emerges from the balcony scene of Elvira. While Leporello mimics Don Giovanni comedically, a wonderful duet of the two supposedly lovers is taking place with the interjections of Leporello.

We see this scene (from 3.00) in the interpretation by Lisa della Casa, Cesare Siepi and Otto Edelmann. Beautifully sung and worth seeing how Siepi and Edelmann fool around in this scene.

Ah taci ingiusto core – della Casa / Siepi / Edelmann



The famous mandolin serenade “Deh vieni alla finestra”

Synopsis: The plan works and Donna Elvira comes down to Leporello alias Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni hides and frightens the two of them, disguised as highwaymen. Leporello flees with Donna Elvira. The way is clear for Don Giovanni, who serenades the maid.

This serenade for Elvira’s maid is a romantic piece. The sounds of the accompanying mandolin give the piece an unmistakable note. It is sung in the evening silence with muted volume, so that it is not heard by the neighbors.

Da Ponte forged this piece masterfully into verses. They are long romantic verses ending in weak emphasis, which gives the language something gentle and undulating. Da Ponte has made the words so tender that the border to comedy is almost crossed:

Tu ch’ai la bocca dolce piu che la miele,
tu che il zucchero porti in mezzo al core

Your lips are sweeter than honey
You carry sugar in your heart

We hear this serenade first from Cesare Siepi and then from Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

Deh vieni alla finestra  –  Siepi


Deh vieni alla finestra  –  Dmitri Hvorostovsky


Zerlina’s magic love aria “Vedrai carino”

Synopsis: But he is interrupted by Masetto, who searches the streets with armed farmers for Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni, dressed in his servant’s clothes, steps out and poses as a leporello. He sends the armed farmers on the trail of Leporellos and Don Elviras and keeps Masetto with him, whom he then beats up vigorously. He is found by Zerlina, who lovingly treats him.

Again Mozart gives Zerlina a magical love song and Zerlina wraps her naive fiancé around her finger. Mozart has reserved the most beautiful arias for the female voices. Almost motherly, she gives comfort to Masetto. Zerlina sings a melody with even notes in a simple 3/8 time, which is composed without big jumps. Together with the orchestra’s tender trills, this has a calming, almost comforting effect on the maltreated masetto. In the second part we hear the pulsation of her heart in the orchestra. This wonderful piece ends with a tender orchestra coda and the plsating heart.

We hear Lucia Popp in an intimate interpretation. Incomparable how she sings the upward movement of “non lo sa far” at 1:04. Inevitably this aria reminds of the Susanna of the Figaro of the aria “Deh vieni”, Susanna and Zerlina are sisters in spirit.

Vedrai carino  –  Popp

In the second recording we hear Cecilia Bartoli, for once tender, almost innocent. The second part is supernatural. How can Masetto not become weak with this throbbing heart and languishing female?

Vedrai carino  –  Bartoli



The sextet

Synopsis: Leporello and Donna Elvira have arrived in a courtyard. Leporello doesn’t know what to do anymore and disappears. Then Ottavio and Donna Anna show up. A little later also Masetto and Zerlina. They find Leporello. Don Ottavio and Masetto want to kill the supposed Don Giovanni, but to their astonishment Donna Elvira defends him.

This scene develops into an great sextet in which Mozart forms vocal groups, some of which are almost choir-like. The sextet starts in the following video at about 3:30.

Sola sola in buio loco (Sextet) –  Furtwängler et.


Don Ottavios great aria “il mio tesoro intanto”

Synopsis: To save his skin Leporello shows his face. He can talk his way out, and the confused avengers let him go. Don Ottavio now believes he has enough evidence to take revenge.

Don Ottavio feels two main emotions. On the one hand the duty to revenge and on the other hand the love for Donna Anna. These feelings must be sung with aristocratic dignity. The aria begins with a warm expressive love theme, dolce e espressivo, accompanied by a beautiful motif of strings.

For many Mc Cormack’s interpretation was the gold standard of this aria. Kesting counts these among the greatest recordings in general: “For example, if you want to understand that a securely centered rounded F’ in a tenor voice is more important than a sounding C”, listen to Mc Cormack’s holding notes, struck with the resonance of a bell. Mc Cormack surpasses all other singers in this aria.”

Il mio tesoro  –  Mc Cormack


Richard Tauber was undisputedly one of the great tenors of the last century. His beautiful middle register and the immensely musical phrasing were incomparable. Another of Tauber’s trademarks were the incredibly long phrases, which Tauber was able to sing and hold phenomenally on his breath. You only hear the “cercar” (1:00) or “tornar” (1:47) on the following recording.

Il mio tesoro  –  Tauber


We hear a wonderfully lyrical interpretation by Luigi Alva, the Don Ottavio of the famous Giulini recording. Impressive are the infinitely long coloratura passages with beautiful ritardandi.

Il mio tesoro  –  Alva


Click on this link for further information and YouTube Videos of the aria «IL MIO TESORO INTANTO».



Elvira is still in love with Don Giovanni

Synopsis: Donna Elvira is desperate, but deeply in her heart she has to admit that she feels pity for Don Giovanni, because of the fate that blossoms for him.

Spoken in today’s language, Donna Elvira is an emancipated woman. She fights for her love. She is intelligent and sharp-tongued.

This aria was originally sung after the register aria. But since 2 static arias one after the other are too much of a good thing for a drama, it is mostly sung here. It is very colourfully set to music with alternating instruments which pass on the theme. Everything flows in this aria and the runs of the singer must be very even.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was one of the great Elvira of recording history. Her interpretation of “Ah chi mi dice mai” is gripping and intense and yet vocal.

Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata – Schwarzkopf



The cemetery scene: the appearance of the stone commendatore

Synopsis: Meanwhile Leporello and his master meet again at the cemetery wall. Suddenly they hear the voice of the dead commander. Don Giovanni suspects that someone is playing a trick on them. There you see the statue of the Commander. Leporello reads the inscription: “Here I await heaven’s vengeance upon a vile assassin”. Leporello is ridden by fears. For fun Don Giovanni invites the commendatore for dinner and the statue nods. Don Giovanni suddenly feels insecure.

In the cemetery scene we meet the stone commendatore for the first time. By including the trombones, Mozart uses a musical means that he rarely uses (e.g. in the supernatural phenomena such as Idomeneo). You hear them in the following scene from 2:15

O statua gentilissima – Siepi / Edelmann


Donna Anna’s aria “Non mi dir”

Synopsis: Don Ottavio wants to marry Anna as soon as possible. But Donna Anna asks him to respect a period of mourning because of her father.

From a dramatic point of view, this aria is somewhat unnecessary, but it is simply great. The orchestra begins with a supernatural theme repeated by Donna Anna. The aria then takes on an almost ecclesiastical, prayer-like character and a chromatic sequence of notes describe pain and sorrow until the theme of the beginning is repeated. The second part is in the form of a moving allegretto with beautiful coloratura.

Enjoy the heavenly beautiful singing of Lucia Popp,

Non mi dir – Popp


and wonderfully lyrical by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Non mi dir  –  Schwarzkopf



Don Giovanni’s last meal

Synopsis: Don Giovanni is in the castle and eats with a barbaric appetite, served by Leporello and entertained by a group of musicians.  Donna Elvira appears. One last time she tries to persuade Don Giovanni to change his life. Don Giovanni chases her mockingly away.

Don Giovanni is unconcerned. Has he forgotten that he invited the commander to dinner? The orchestra happily plays music from Mozart’s time. Mozart also includes a piece from Le nozze di figaro (Non piu andrai). When Leporello hears this, he says “Questa poi la conosco pur troppo” (unfortunately I know this). It is an insider’s joke from da Ponte, because the Leporello of the premiere was the Figaro of the premiere of Le nozze di figaro.

Gia la mensa è preparata  –   Ramey / Furlanetto



The visit of the stone guest and the death of Don Giovanni

Synopsis: When Donna Elvira leaves the castle, we hear her scream. It knocks on the door. Leporello is scared. The stone guest is standing in front of the door. The commendatore has come to dine with him. Giovanni invites him to the table. But the commander wants him to come with him. Don Giovanni doesn’t want to be a coward and agrees. The commander demands his hand and when Don Giovanni stretches it out, the commander grabs it with icy force. The stone commendatore asks him to repent, but Don Giovanni only calls him a silly old man. Don Giovanni then dies and is drawn into the abyss by underground furies.

Don Giovanni’s character is evident in this dramatic scene. He is not a coward. Despite the dramatic and spooky atmosphere so brilliantly drawn by Mozart and the appearance of the stone guest, Don Giovanni remains steadfast in his principles.

For the last time we hear Cesare Siepi, the “basso cantante” with its black velvety depth and baritonal bass voice.

Don Giovanni, a cenar teco m’invitasti – Siepi / Ernster


Synopsis: And now everyone comes to the castle and Leporello tells what happened. Everyone is happy about the revenge of the stone guest. They all make new plans. Leporello wants to look for a new gentleman, Donna Anna and Ottavio want to get married and Donna Elvira wants to join the monastery. Everyone is singing the moral of the story:  This is fate of miscreants.

Ah, dove il perfido  –  Muti



Milos Forman’s Mozart

Finally we hear the Commendatore scene from Forman’s Mozart film. Forman’s hypothesis was that the stone guest was none other than Leopold’s father, the companion of his life. He died 6 months before the premiere of Don Giovanni.

Mozart – Forman



Recording Recommendation


EMI with Eberhard Wächter, Giuseppe Taddei, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Piero Cappuccilli, Luigi Alva and Gottlob Frick under the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini  and the Chorus and Orchestra of the Philharmonia Orchestra.




Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to DON GIOVANNI  by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


2 replies
  1. Moein
    Moein says:

    Hi . This is a very good guide for Mozart’s Don Giovanni . Thanks . I also suggest reading this article : Søren Kierkegaard’s Interpretation of Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni . About performance of Mozart’s operas, I like Nikolaus Harnoncourt more (Especially because of the using original instruments) . In my opinion, we shouldn’t theorize about stone statue in Don Giovanni or anything else in Mozart’s work . Mozart always shows the struggles of his personal life in his music, But in a way that everyone likes to hear and be happy or sad about it . Unanswered questions and distracting issues are related to Beethoven’s work that in my opinion he used Don Giovanni even to make his own ninth symphony . But to comment on this opera, he has only resorted to the issue of prostitution ! In my opinion, Mozart is a galaxy of music that even Beethoven is owed to him . (O Mozart! immortal Mozart! what countless impressions of a brighter, better life hast thou stamped upon our souls! Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828) – Quote about Mozart .

    • Operadmin
      Operadmin says:

      Thank you very much Moein for your interesting comment. I will read Kirkegaards Interpretation and integrate it with pleasure in the article. Kind regards Peter


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *