Context


After Mozart and Da Ponte’s incredible success with Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart promised his next premiere to the Prague, which turned out to be Don Giovanni. Don Juan was a well-known legendary character known for hypersexuality and womanizing, and therefore was the subject of many plays and operas in the 17th and 18th centuries. Mozart, like a number of composers before him, thought it perfect to be set to music. Lorenzo Da Ponte did his best, as he did with Le Nozze di Figaro, to avoid, or smooth over the more unsavory political and social implications in the story, and strictly focused on the womanizing man and his conquests. The full title was Il Dissoluto Punito ossia il Don Giovanni (The Rake punished, or Don Giovanni) and was listed as a dramma giocoso, which implied that with its dramatic base, there were moments of hilarity and comedy. For the following performances in Vienna, Mozart wrote two new arias for the piece and an additional duet. Originally, Masetta and Il Commendatore were both performed by the same singer, however, in most modern productions this is no longer the case. This opera lends itself to productions set in many different time periods, and is often portrayed in modern day. This changes the physicality of the characters depending on the time period in which the production is set.

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