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Don Giovanni lives a life of debauchery and pleasure, seducing and abandoning women wherever he goes, helped by his faithful servant Leporello. But when a seduction goes horribly wrong, he finally finds himself in a situation he can’t charm his way out of.
Don Giovanni, Mozart and Da Ponte’s take on the familiar Don Juan legend, is a work ahead of its time. Colliding comedy and tragedy in a fluid, free-form music-drama, the opera has a breathless energy and impetus that’s impossible to resist – a wild musical ride that takes its audience quite literally to hell and back again. A score of contrasts and extremes includes the beguiling simplicity of Don Giovanni’s serenade and the high-wire virtuosity of Donna Anna’s arias.
Gerald Finley stars as the libidinous Don in Jonathan Kent’s sleek, contemporary staging, with Kate Royal as Donna Elvira and Anna Samuil as the vengeful Donna Anna.
Don Giovanni was captured live at Festival 2010. It is available on DVD from our shop.
Introduction: 0 – 4 minutes 43 seconds
Act I: 4 minutes 43 seconds – 1 hour 33 minutes 23 seconds
Act II: 1 hour 33 minutes 23 seconds – 2 hours 58 minutes 18 seconds
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Chorus Master Jeremy Bines
Alison de Burgh
Photos: Bill Cooper
Leporello waits outside the Commendatore’s home as Don Giovanni, his master, is inside with the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna. The masked Giovanni runs from the house with Anna following him. Awakened by the clamour, the Commendatore challenges Don Giovanni to a duel, which ends in the Commendatore’s death. After Giovanni and Leporello flee, Anna and her fiancé, Don Ottavio, swear vengeance upon the Commendatore’s masked killer.
Giovanni and Leporello overhear the plaint of a forsaken woman. Giovanni approaches, planning to seduce her, until he recognises her as Donna Elvira, a woman he recently seduced and abandoned. Giovanni orders Leporello to distract her while he escapes. Leporello tells Elvira that she is merely one of Don Giovanni’s thousands of conquests.
Villagers celebrate the impending wedding of Zerlina and Masetto. Giovanni, lusting after Zerlina, orders Leporello to entertain Masetto and the other revellers so that he may be alone with Zerlina. Giovanni has nearly conquered Zerlina when Elvira interrupts. Anna and Ottavio arrive and ask for Giovanni’s help in finding the Commendatore’s murderer. Elvira’s denunciations of Giovanni arouse their suspicions, but he assures them that Elvira is mad. After Giovanni leaves, Anna tells Ottavio that she has recognised Giovanni as her father’s murderer.
Masetto chastises Zerlina for flirting with Giovanni, but she persuades him to forgive her. Giovanni invites the couple, along with three masked companions, to a party at his home. The masked trio – Anna, Ottavio and Elvira – steel themselves before entering.
At Giovanni’s party, Zerlina’s screams interrupt the dancing revellers, and Giovanni falsely accuses Masetto of attacking her. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira reveal their identities and confront Don Giovanni, who manages to escape.
Leporello threatens to leave Giovanni’s service, but Giovanni convinces him to stay and help him seduce Elvira’s maid. Exchanging clothes with Leporello, Giovanni serenades the maid while Leporello, dressed as Giovanni, diverts Elvira. Giovanni, still dressed as Leporello, encounters Masetto leading a vengeful mob in search of the Don. Giovanni dupes Masetto and escapes, and Zerlina comforts her battered fiancé.
Leporello, disguised as Giovanni, is trying to flee Elvira when he is trapped by Ottavio, Anna, Zerlina and Masetto, who believe they’ve finally captured Giovanni. Leporello reveals his identity, pleads for mercy, and finally escapes. Ottavio reaffirms his intention to avenge Anna. Elvira laments her betrayal by Giovanni.
Meeting up in a cemetery, Giovanni and Leporello encounter the slain Commendatore. Giovanni orders Leporello to invite him to dinner, and, to Leporello’s horror, his invitation is accepted.
Ottavio reassures Anna that her father’s death will soon be avenged, leaving them free to marry. Anna, however, still feels reluctant to marry so soon after her father’s death.
Giovanni feasts, waited upon by Leporello. Elvira bursts in, urging Giovanni to mend his ways, but he scorns her pleas.
Elvira and Leporello encounter the Commendatore as he arrives for dinner. The Commendatore demands that Giovanni atone for his sins, but he defiantly refuses and meets his doom.
Anna, Ottavio, Elvira, Masetto and Zerlina arrive in search of Giovanni but find only the stunned Leporello, who reports his master’s bizarre fate. They agree that all evil-doers must meet such a terrible end.