Special Sub-Topic: Mozart's 'Don Giovanni'
|What is the full title of Mozart's 'Don Giovanni'?|
'Don Giovanni or The Rake Punished'. In the original text: 'Don Giovanni ossia il Dissoluto Punito.' Subtitle: 'Dramma giocoso'(!)
|Where is the story situated?|
Sevilla. Donna Elvira is a lady from Burgos who has followed the man who she is fascinated by as far south as Andalusia. The first performance of the play was not in Vienna, but in Prague 29 Oct. 1787. Mozart died 4 years later.
|The opera practically begins with a murder on the stage. Who gets killed?|
Donna Anna's father. Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant, Masetto, Zerlina's lover, and Don Ottavio, Donna Anna's betrothed cannot be eliminated so quickly. Their presence is still required for a lot of action and singing.
|To whom does Leporello 'list' the 'conquests' made by his master (in the aria 'Madamina')?|
Donna Elvira. He tries to persuade her that she should not bother too much about Don Giovanni's letting her down. It's just a habit of his.
|Where has Don Giovanni been 'most successful', if we can trust Leporello's list?|
Spain. 91 conquests in Turkey, 100 in France, 640 in Italy. 231 in Germany. But in Spain: mille tre! 1003!
|One of Don Giovanni's most famous duets is 'La ci darem la mano'. Who is he trying to seduce when he sings those words?|
Zerlina. 'That villa is mine: we'll be alone, and there my jewel, we'll be united', says Don Giovanni. Zerlina's answer is: 'Vorrei e non vorrei. Mi trema un poco il cor.' 'I would like to, but I don't dare. My heart trembles.' In the end she is ready to give in..., but at the very last moment, they are intercepted by Donna Elvira.
By the way, in Italian this duet is called a duettino.
|True or False: In the course of the play Leporello and Don Giovanni decide to dress up in each other's cloak. The reason Don Giovanni gives for this is that he believes he has a better chance to seduce Donna Elvira's maidservant if he seems to be her social equal.|
True & T. In Act Two. Leporello, in Don Giovanni's clothes, must woo Elvira so that she loosens her grip on the real Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni in the meantime plans to pursue his interest in Dona Elvira's maid,who is nobody else but ..Zerlina. He says to Leporello that he thinks he has a better chance to conquer her if he presents himself as a servant too. He considers that "people of her station are apt to be suspicious of a gentleman's appearance". He then takes off his cloak and puts on Leporello's.
Later Don Giovanni sings a serenade for Donna Elvira's maidservant ('Deh, vieni alla finestra'), but takes care to disguise his voice as Leporello's. When Masetto turns up, he - as 'Leporello' - promises to help everybody find 'Don Giovanni'. He sends the villagers all in different directions. As soon as Masetto is the only one left, 'Leporello' gives Masetto a beating and runs away.
|Donna Elvira believes it's the right moment to win back her 'Don Giovanni', but alas they are suddenly surrounded by the villagers who want to kill 'pseudo-Don Giovanni'. Leporello escapes by throwing off his Don Giovanni cloak. A little later he finds his master back. Don Giovanni has asked somebody for dinner: the statue of the Commander, Donna Anna's father! During the meal some music will be performed. To tease his audience Mozart includes an air from one of his other operas. Which one?|
Le Nozze di Figaro. Der Freischuetz is by Carl Maria von Weber. The two other operas are in German, and less likely to be included in an Italian opera.
|Donna Elvira makes a last attempt to get her Don Giovanni back. She says she has come to save him and that she is ready to forgive Don Giovanni everything if he but gives up his womanizing. Don Giovanni must heartily laugh about that suggestion. Furious, she leaves. Then she screams. And the next moment she is back and runs off the stage in the other direction. Who or what has she seen?|
the statue of the Commander coming to the dinner. She screams because she sees something 'impossible': a statue on the move. Moreover the statue of a man who she knows has been murdered.
|How does Don Giovanni finally get his punishment?|
the Commander grabs Don Giovanni's hand, the earth opens up, and in a sea of flames Don Giovanni is swallowed up. The libretto of 'Don Giovanni' is by Lorenzo del Ponte. The theme had been dealt with already by Tirso de Molina in 'El Burlador de Sevilla'.
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