Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
From 7 December 2011 to 14 January 2012 at Teatro alla Scala of Milan.
Running Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Sung in Italian with electronic libretto in Italian, English
“My house is open to everyone! Long live liberty!” (End of Act I)
In Mozart’s opera, the eternal myth that is Don Giovanni champions Eros as a driving force for freedom, fighting for his own ideals to the point of defying fate. Robert Carsen’s staging of Don Giovanni keeps with this idea in his first production specifically for La Scala.
Daniel Barenboim conducts a stellar cast that includes Peter Mattei (Don Giovanni), Anna Netrebko (Donna Anna), Giuseppe Filianoti (Don Ottavio), Barbara Frittoli (Donna Elvira), Bryn Terfel (Leporello) and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (alternating in the roles of Don Giovanni and Leporello).
A garden by night.
Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant, is waiting for his master, who has entered the house of the Commendatore with intent to seduce that gentleman’s daughter, Donna Anna.The Don emerges, pursued by the young lad (Introduction: Notte e giorno faticar). Donna Anna, who is betrothed to Don Ottavio, has managed to beat off her assailant and now attempts to discover his identity. Alerted by his daughter’s cries, the Commendatore hurries to the scene, but is mortally wounded by Don Giovanni.
Leporello and his master escape. When Donna Anna, who has gone to seek help, returns accompanied by her betrothed and several servants, she finds only the dead body of her father. Donna Anna enjoins Don Ottavio to swear vengeance on her father’s murderer (Duet: Fuggi, crudele, fuggi).
A street by night.
Don Giovanni and Leporello, in search of fresh adventures, come across Donna Elvira, who was seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni and has been looking for him to get her revenge (Aria: Ah chi mi dice mai). As soon as the rake recognizes Elvira as one of his previous amours, he goes off, leaving Leporello to explain to the lady the reason for his deserting her so suddenly. The servant then rattles off a long list of his master’s conquests (Aria: Madamina, il catalogo è questo). Exit Donna Elvira, who is determined to punish her perjurious lover.
Zerlina and Masetto, with a group of peasants, are celebrating their approaching marriage (Chorus: Giovinette che fate all’amore). Don Giovanni enters with Leporello and pays court to the bride. He invites the whole wedding party to his country house, and undertakes personally to escort Zerlina there. Masetto is led away on a pretext by Leporello, but has clearly grasped the situation and is anxious to put matters straight with Zerlina (Aria: Ho capito, signor sì). Left alone with the girl, Don Giovanni attempts to seduce her with gallant promises (Duettino: Là ci darem la mano). But the unexpected arrival of Donna Elvira, who denounces her betrayer and takes Zerlina aside, prevents him from implementing these designs (Aria: Ah fuggi il traditor).
Meanwhile Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive. Not recognizing Don Giovanni as the Commendatore’s assassin, they seek his assistance in punishing the culprit. When Donna Elvira reappears and reports her unfaithful lover’s misdeeds (Quartet: Non ti fidar, o misera), Don Giovanni slips away. But Donna Anna has recognized his voice as that of her seducer and of the man who killed her father. She urges Don Ottavio to avenge the outrage without hesitation (Aria: Or sai chi l’onore). Don Ottavio in his turn vows to himself to carry out the wishes of his beloved (Aria: Dalla sua pace). In the meantime Don Giovanni directs preparations for the festivities, during which he hopes to possess the attractive young Zerlina (Aria: Fin ch’han dal vino).
A garden with two gates locked on the outside. Two alcoves.
Masetto rebukes Zerlina for her unfaithfulness, but his bride soothingly reassures him that her virtue has not been offended by the amorous knight (Aria: Batti, batti, o bel Masetto). Masetto however, when Don Giovanni arrives, hides in an alcove and spies on his advances to Zerlina. But the libertine, having noticed the bridegroom’s presence, promptly invites him and Zerlina to the ball (Finale: Presto, presto, pria ch’ei venga). Three masked figures – Don Ottavio, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira – now enter in search of Don Giovanni, who does not recognize them and invites them too to the party.
A brightly lit hall prepared for a lavish ball.
During the festivities Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Zerlina, but his plan is thwarted by the arrival of Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira. After trying in vain to put the blame on Leporello, and threatening everyone insight, Don Giovanni vanishes.
_ Act II _
Leporello has made up his mind to leave his master’s service, but the Don convinces him to stay on, and even to exchange costumes so that the cavalier can seduce Donna Elvira’s maid (Duet: Eh via, buffone). When Elvira appears at the window, Don Giovanni, concealed behind Leporello, declares his repentance to her. Trusting his words, Elvira goes off with the servant whom she has mistaken for her former admirer (Trio: Ah taci, ingiusto core). Don Giovanni is now left free to serenade Donna Elvira’s maid (Canzonetta: Deh vieni alla finestra), but the sudden entry of Masetto, accompanied by armed peasants who are determined to kill the seducer, obliges him to give up this conquest too.
Having recognized the servant Leporello in Don Giovanni’s clothes, Masetto asks him for news of his master. But the Don, taking advantage of his disguise, manages to get rid of the peasants and is left alone with Masetto, to whom he delivers a thrashing (Aria: Metà di voi qua vadano). Zerlina comes to the aid of her betrothed and reproaches him for his jealousy but lovingly tends his bruises (Aria: Vedrai, carino).
A darkened room in Donna Anna’s house.
Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto have discovered Leporello’s disguise and the trick played on Donna Elvira (Sextet: Sola, sola in buio loco). The servant barely escapes just punishment (Aria: Ah pietà, signori miei). Don Ottavio, sure by now of Don Giovanni’s guilt, decides to enlist the authorities to avenge the crimes committed by this villain (Aria: Il mio tesoro intanto), while Donna Elvira cannot conceal her pity for the miscreant (Aria: Mi tradì quell’alma ingrata).
A graveyard with several equestrian statues and one of the Commendatore.
Don Giovanni meets Leporello and tells him of yet another disreputable thing he has done. In reply to obscure threats uttered by the statue of the Commendatore, who is buried there, the rake has invited him to supper at his palace (Duet: O statua gentilissima).
A gloomy room.
Don Ottavio, confirming to Donna Anna that Don Giovanni is soon to be punished by law, asks her if she feels she can now accept his proposal of marriage. But she is weary after recent events and begs him to be patient a little longer, though she again reassures him of her love (Aria: Non mi dir, bell’idol mio).
A dining room and table laid for a feast.
While Don Giovanni cheerfully dines, despite the appearance of Donna Elvira, who has come to get him to repent his sins, the statue of the Commendatore appears at the door (Finale: Già la mensa è preparata). Leporello takes shelter under the table, while Don Giovanni confronts the grim apparition. After refusing the statue’s recommendations to repent, he is dragged down to Hell. To the assembled company, who have come to arrest the Don, Leporello recounts his master’s death. A final ensemble rejoices in serenity regained.
© Teatro alla Scala