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Introducing... Don Giovanni

Everything you need to know about our new production Mozart's Don Giovanni, which transfers to our autumn season direct from the Festival.

In this instalment of our Introducing series we explore Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

When a seduction goes horribly wrong, has Don Giovanni finally found a situation he can’t charm his way out of? Mariame Clément directs a new production of Mozart’s darkest comedy, coming to our autumn 2023 season fresh from the Festival.

In the video below expert Alexandra Coghlan introduces the opera…

Video: Introducing Don Giovanni

A brief introduction:

Don Giovanni (1787), Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte’s take on the familiar Don Juan legend, is a work ahead of its time. If the pair’s first collaboration, The Marriage of Figaro, had delighted and entertained its audiences, this opera was altogether darker, moving even further away from operatic conventions towards a newly free-form, fluid music-drama that moves breathlessly and with devastating momentum from arias to ensembles and finales without pause.

Don Giovanni’s meticulously balanced blend of comedy and tragedy brings a new emotional breadth, truthfulness and flexibility to a plot that traces the downfall of notorious libertine Don Giovanni after an attempted seduction ends in murder.

Shakespearean in its collisions of tone and mood, the drama moves from light-hearted comedy in the scenes between flirtatious Zerlina and her suspicious fiancé Masetto to brutal psychodrama in the battle of wills between the Don and his defiant conquests Donna Anna and Donna Elvira.

Mozart’s score mirrors the drama closely. This most psychological of all Mozart’s operas creates a different musical language for each character. So while Donna Anna and Don Ottavio express themselves in the sophisticated musical language of the aristocracy, the music for Masetto and Zerlina is much simpler, earthier, more sensual. The ultimate chameleon, Don Giovanni reinvents himself as he moves between worlds, giving each woman what she wants musically (if not always romantically).

Why not to miss this production:

Mariame Clément directs Glyndebourne’s first new Don Giovanni in over a decade, and this is your chance to see it fresh from its Festival run. Audiences can expect the director’s usual incisive, yet playful, blend of gender-politics and thematic interrogation, which were on display in her Festival-favourite production of Don Pasquale, and the innovative five-star reimagining of Il turco in Italia for Festival 2021.

Can Mozart’s Don still seduce a 21st century audience? Why not put it to the test…

Il turco in Italia, Festival 2021. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

A great moment to look out for:

Giovanni’s much put-upon servant Leporello generates much of the opera’s comedy in his bantering relationship with his master. But while he may play second-fiddle to Giovanni professionally, musically he’s quite capable of stealing the limelight, as his enormous Catalogue Aria ‘Madamina, il catalogo e questo’ makes clear.

Revealing the full extent of the Don’s promiscuity to an appalled Donna Elvira, Leporello warms to his task, relishing the patter-song rattle of his endless list of conquests, before warming into moments of expansive (and possibly admiring) legato, as he muses on his master’s extraordinary sexual appetite. Whose side is he on? That’s far from certain.

Cast and Creative team:

Stephanie Childress conduction our Mozart’s Requiem concert in 2022.

Rising-star conductor Stephanie Childress returns to Glyndebourne, after conducting our Tour 2022 production of The Marriage of Figaro, and our Mozart’s Requiem concert.

Stepping into the Don’s shoes is baritone Andrei Bondarenko, fresh from performing the role at three shows during the Festival.

Many of the cast members have been part of our talent development schemes, including Alexandra Lowe (Opera Cup 2020 finalist) and three Jerwood Young Artists Sam Carl (2019), Charlotte Bowden (2022), Michael Ronan (2023).

Don Giovanni is on stage 12 November – 2 December 2023.

Sponsored by
Brian Mitchell Charitable Settlement

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