World premiere: October 29, 1787, Ständertheater, Prague (first version), May 7, 1788, Vienna (second version)
Date of this production premiere at the Bucharest National Opera House: February 17, 2013
Performances in the 2015-2016 season:
December 10, 2015
January 7, 2016
February 4, 2016
April 8, 2016
Running time: 19h00 – 22h30 (including one intermission)
Conductor: Adrian Morar/ Vlad Conta
Director: Anda Tabacaru-Hogea
Set design, video effects: Anca Albani
Choreography: Mălina Andrei
Chorus master: Stelian Olariu
Video, lighting design: Gabriel Kosuth
Visual artist, metal sculptures: Ionuţ Marin
Assistant for choreography: Rodica Fiastru
Assistant director: Cristina Cotescu
Cast of the 2015-2016 season:
Don Giovanni: Vasyl Dobrovolskyi (guest) / Ionuţ Pascu (guest) / Davide Damiani (guest)
Il Commendatore: Horia Sandu / Marius Boloş
Donna Anna: Simona Neagu/ Rodica Vica (guest)/ Madeleine Pascu
Don Ottavio: Liviu Iftene (guest)/ Andrei Lazăr
Donna Elvira: Oana Andra/ Crina Zancu
Leporello: Cătălin Țoropoc
Masetto: Iustinian Zetea/ Florin Simionca/ Daniel Filipescu
Zerlina: Antoaneta Bucur (debut)/ Maria Jinga/ Mihaela Işpan
Alter Ego: Ionuţ Arteni / Adrian Ionescu
Three Women: Diana Gal, Monica Iamandi, Adina Manda
”Don Giovani” in the Works of Other Composers
”Réminiscences de Don Juan”, an opera for the piano, extremely rigorous from a technical point of view, composed by Franz Liszt on themes from “Don Giovanni” by Mozart.
Variations sur ”Là ci darem la mano”, for piano and orchestra, written by Frédéric Chopin, when he was only 17 years old, on the theme of the duet Don Giovanni-Zerlina, from the opera ”Don Giovanni” by Mozart.
”Mozart new-look, Petite fantaisie pour contrebasse et instruments à vent sur la Sérénade de <<Don Giovanni>>”, written in 1981, by Jean Françaix based on the aria ”Deh, vieni alla finestra”.
I invite you to a new staging of an opera that is as seducing as its main character, “Don Giovanni”. The legend of Don Juan has inspired many authors from all times, from Tirso de Molina, Molière, E.T.A. Hoffmann, George Gordon Byron, Alexander Pushkin, to George Bernard Shaw and Albert Camus, and it was a starting point for essays, plays and poetry. Of all, Mozart’s opera remains unsurpassed, renewed with every staging, as if the vigorous Don Juan himself imbued it with his energy. It is an opera about seduction, the bond between ethic and aesthetic, about the power of desire and beauty.
Vlad Conta – conductor
In an absolutely brilliant way, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte bring together, in the opera “Don Giovanni”, drama, comedy and the imaginary, the two creators crafting, in high classicism, a total show, of both Shakespearean and Wagnerian complexity and substance. Don Giovanni seizes the moment excessively and with an absolute freedom of speech: from erotic ferocity to charming tenderness, from spontaneous humour to demonic cynicism. Each scene and each aria is a release of fantastic energy that surpasses reality.
Anda Tabacaru Hogea – director
The Eternal Seducer
After the success of “Figaro” in 1786, Mozart collaborated, a year later, with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, this time for a work that explored the dark side of the traditional comedy, “Don Giovanni”. Inspired by legends from that era about the fictitious character of Don Juan, Mozart’s opera describes the acts of a convinced womanizer, who destroys the lives of those around him and ends up being sentenced to eternal punishment.
“One of the best three things that God made – the other two being <<Hamlet>> and the sea”, as Gustave Flaubert called it in a letter sent to Louise Colet, “Don Giovanni” had its first performance at the Theatre in Prague, conducted by Mozart himself. Like many other composers who thread back on some musical compositions, Mozart also revised his work for the premiere in Vienna, in 1788, composing another two arias with the corresponding recitatives: the aria of Don Ottavio, “Dalla sua pace”, and the aria of Elvira, “In qualli eccessi… Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata”. The productions created starting with the 20th century used either the first, or the second version.
In front of the Commendatore’s residence, Leporello (Don Giovanni’s servant) complains of his daily duties for his master, a libertine nobleman. Soon, Giovanni appears with his face under a mask, followed by Donna Anna, whom he tried to seduce. When the Commendatore (Anna’s father) hears the shouting, he intervenes; Don Giovanni kills him and then runs. Donna Anna returns with her fiancé, Don Ottavio. She finds her father dead, and she requests Ottavio to take revenge.
Don Giovanni flirts with a lady from Burgos, who proves to be Donna Elvira, his wife. Abandoned only three days after her marriage, she travelled through Spain to find him and require explanations. Uninterested in her accusations, Don Giovanni manages to run away. Leporello tells Donna Elvira about his master’s love affairs, and he presents to her a long list of his lovers’ names.
A group of peasants who celebrate the wedding of their friends Zerlina and Masetto appear in the square. Fascinated by the bride’s beauty, Don Giovanni joins the group of party people. Don Giovanni’s fascination towards Zerlina makes Masetto, the new groom, notice, but he is driven away by Leporello. Alone with Zerlina, Don Giovanni tries to convince her to accept his love, by promising her they will get married. They are interrupted by Donna Elvira, who tries to protect Zerlina of the lady killer’s advances. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio meet with Don Giovanni, but they don’t know yet that he is the killer of the Commendatore. The sudden appearance of Donna Elvira makes Don Giovanni tell them she is an insane woman and he leaves with her. From his tone of voice and gestures, Donna Anna realises that Don Giovanni is the one who entered the house, seduced her and killed the Commendatore. Terrified, she confesses her assumption to her fiancé. Ottavio declares his love and promises her all his support, making the vow that he will avenge her father.
Don Giovanni orders Leporello to organise a party for the peasants at his palace, with the purpose of seducing Zerlina and other women.
In front of Don Giovanni’s residence, Zerlina asks Masetto to forgive her for her apparent infidelity. When Don Giovanni enters, Masetto hides and tries to surprise the two lovers, but then everything is settled and all three of them go to the party. Elvira, Anna and Ottavio, yearning for revenge, come masked at Don Giovanni’s party. Leporello invites them to come in.
During the party, Leporello distracts Masetto’s attention, while Don Giovanni pulls Zerlina to another room. When the girl screams for help, Don Giovanni accuses Leporello of attacking Zerlina but nobody believes such a lie. Elvira, Anna and Ottavio reveal their identity, warning the seducer that revenge is close.
In the middle of the night, Elvira agonizes because of her husband’s infidelity, but at the same time, she admits that she loves him immensely. Don Giovanni wants to play a joke on his wife, and forces Leporello to change clothes with him and to declare his love to Donna Elvira. Don Giovanni tries to seduce his wife’s chamber maid. His poetic declaration is interrupted by Masetto’s appearance, who together with a group of peasants armed with bats, is looking for the seducer to reprimand him. The latter, dressed in Leporello’s clothes, leads them the wrong way. He beats Masetto, who was left alone. Zerlina also arrives to console her fiancé.
Donna Elvira and the supposed Don Giovanni - who is none other than Leporello in his master’s clothes - are surprised by Anna, Ottavio and Masetto, who threatens the disguised servant. Frightened, the latter reveals his true identity. Don Ottavio, worried by Anna’s suffering, who is crying because of her dead father, expresses again his love for her. Elvira, upset that she was deceived again by Don Giovanni, states vehemently her indignation, but at the same time she admits she still loves him.
In the cemetery, Leporello meets his master again. A menacing voice announces the end of Don Giovanni. It is the ghost of the dead Commendatore which Don Giovanni defies and invites, as a joke, to dinner. Leporello gives the invitation to the Commendatore and the ghost accepts it. Donna Anna, joined by Don Ottavio, comes to her father’s grave. Profoundly hurt, she reminds her noble fiancé about the revenge he promised, hoping, thus, to find her peace.
Leporello serves dinner to his master. Donna Elvira enters, she is still in love with Giovanni, she begs him to repent and become a different man. He chases her away. The ghost of the Commendatore arrives for dinner. Don Giovanni refuses to change his life style, even under a death threat. The revenge is fulfilled: Don Giovanni is dragged by the ghost into the shadow world.