An exciting young cast appears in our first new Don Giovanni in over a decade – transferring straight from the Festival.
About the opera
When a seduction goes wrong and lust leads to murder, he finds himself caught in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse, as both his sins and his pursuers finally threaten to catch up with him.
Mozart’s psychological thriller exposes human instinct in all its messy urgency and tenderness. Breathless from its first moments to its fiery climax, the composer’s taut and dramatic score revels in contrasts. Beauty collides with violence, wit with darkness – a tangled world in which nothing and no one is quite as it seems.
Smart, subversive and just a little bit playful, Mariame Clément’s new staging gets under the skin of this classic opera and its elusive anti-hero, uncovering its tensions and deftly shifting perspectives.
This is opera to get the pulse racing, an exhilarating and unsettling drama about men, women and the human cost of a life lived outside the lines.
Audio description and touch tours: for audience members with hearing and/or visual impairments, there will be a performance with pre-recorded audio description on 24 November with a touch tour available pre performance. Find out more.
The Glyndebourne Sinfonia
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Photographer: Monika Rittershaus
Night-time. Leporello, Don Giovanni’s faithful servant, keeps watch while his master pursues his latest conquest. But Leporello’s fantasies of trading drudgery for the life of a nobleman are suddenly interrupted.
A masked Giovanni rushes out, pursued by Donna Anna, desperate to prevent her attacker’s escape. Their struggle summons her father the Commendatore, who immediately challenges his daughter’s assailant to a duel. Initially reluctant to fight the old man, Giovanni agrees and the Commendatore is killed. Giovanni flees before he can be recognised, with Leporello in tow. On seeing her dead father, Anna faints and is comforted by her fiancé Don Ottavio, who swears to avenge her father’s death.
Early the next morning, Giovanni finds himself drawn to a mysterious beauty abandoned by her lover. Keen to seize the advantage he makes advances, only to discover that she is none other than Donna Elvira, who he recently seduced and abandoned after claiming her as his wife. Slipping away, he leaves Leporello to explain to Elvira that she is neither the first nor the last of his many conquests.
Frustrated in a would-be seduction, Giovanni comes across a young couple – Masetto and Zerlina – celebrating their wedding day. But even as he tries his charm on Zerlina, Elvira again appears and warns the young girl off. Anna and Ottavio catch sight of their friend Giovanni and approach, asking for his help in apprehending Anna’s unknown attacker. Elvira warns them off, but as Giovanni tries to explain away her outburst as madness, Anna recognises his voice and realises the truth. Once again, she asks Ottavio to avenge her.
Unaware that his secret has been exposed, Giovanni heads back to his house where all the wedding guests have been invited to feast and celebrate. Concealed behind masks, Elvira, Anna and Ottavio also arrive at the party, hoping finally to unmask Giovanni as the murderer. Giovanni assaults Zerlina, but when she cries out he blames Leporello. The masked avengers confront him and accuse him. Yet, just as it seems as if there’s no escape, Giovanni slips the net and gets away once again.
Horrified by his master’s behaviour (which almost got him killed), Leporello wants to quit; Giovanni manages to lure him back with the help of money. His eye on a new woman, when Elvira again appears, Giovanni persuades Leporello to swap clothes with him and distract her. Once the two are gone, he begins a seductive serenade. Masetto is out for revenge but, deceived by the disguised Giovanni, ends up injured himself, and is consoled by an affectionate and repentant Zerlina.
Leporello, also still in disguise, is cornered by Anna, Ottavio, Masetto and Zerlina, but escapes after confessing his true identity. Anna is still determined to have revenge, while Elvira is torn, admitting that – despite everything – she still loves Giovanni.
Reunited in a graveyard, Giovanni and Leporello discuss the night’s encounters. While Giovanni is laughing about it all, a statue on the tomb of the Commendatore warns that his laughter will be short-lived. In a show of bravado, Giovanni orders a terrified Leporello to invite the statue to dinner. The statue accepts.
Ottavio reminds Anna of his love, again asking her to marry him. Meanwhile, Giovanni is at dinner, preparing for the arrival of his stone guest. Appearing at his house, Elvira begs him one last time to change his ways. He dismisses her, and as she leaves she sees a terrifying sight: the Commendatore has come. He demands that Giovanni repent. Giovanni refuses and is dragged down to hell.
Anna, Ottavio, Masetto, Zerlina, Elvira and Leporello all contemplate the terrible fate of a wicked man, justly punished for his crimes.
Illustration © Katie Ponder