Mozart’s Don Giovanni is a very famous opera. Some say that it is the greatest opera ever written. It is about the adventures of the libertine Don Giovanni. I have given a simple synopsis through the end of Act I below. This very famous trio takes place at the ending of Act I. Two of the singers, Leyla Gencer and Teresa Stich-Randall, have had postings of at least some of their works. Luigi Alva has never had a post made specifically about him.

Just to touch on the Mozart again, Don Giovanni is a comedy and an opera seria (that should be obvious as to meaning). One very interesting thing about Don Giovanni himself is that he is never given an aria to express his innermost self. Mozart did that on purpose, and it makes the Don Giovanni character either more or less complex.

DONNA ELVIRA
Bisogna aver coraggio,
o cari amici miei,
e i suoi misfatti rei
scoprir potremo allor.

DON OTTAVIO
L’amica dice bene,
coraggio aver conviene;
discaccia, o vita mia,
l’affanno ed il timor.

DONNA ANNA
Il passo è periglioso,
può nascer qualche imbroglio.
Temo pel caro sposo,
e per noi temo ancor.
(Leporello apre la finestra.)

LEPORELLO (a Don Giovanni)
Signor, guardate un poco,
che maschere galanti!

DON GIOVANNI (alla finestra)
Falle passar avanti,
di’ che ci fanno onor.

DONNA ANNA, DONNA ELVIRA, DON OTTAVIO
(a parte)
Al volto ed alla voce
si scopre il traditore.

LEPORELLO
Zi, zi! Signore maschere! Zi, zi!

DONNA ANNA, DONNA ELVIRA (a Don Ottavio)
Via, rispondete.

LEPORELLO
Zi, zi! Signore maschere!

DON OTTAVIO
Cosa chiedete?

LEPORELLO
Al ballo, se vi piace,
v’invita il mio signor.

DON OTTAVIO
Grazie di tanto onore!
Andiam, compagne belle.

LEPORELLO (a parte)
L’amico anche su quelle
prove farà d’amor.
(Entra.)

DONNA ANNA, DON OTTAVIO
Protegga il giusto cielo
il zelo del mio cor, ecc.

DONNA ELVIRA
Vendichi il giusto cielo
il mio tradito amore! ecc.
(Partono.)

DONNA ELVIRA
We must be brave,
my dear friends,
and thus we shall be able
to uncover his misdeeds.

DON OTTAVIO
Our friend is right,
we must be brave.
Banish, my darling,
your anguish and fear.

DONNA ANNA
The step is a dangerous one;
there could be dire results.
I fear for my beloved,
and for us all.
(Leporello opens a window.)

LEPORELLO (to Don Giovanni)
Sir, look for a moment
at this handsome masked trio!

DON GIOVANNI (at the window)
Have them come in,
tell them they honour us.

DONNA ANNA, DONNA ELVIRA, DON OTTAVIO
(aside)
His looks and his voice
reveal the betrayer.

LEPORELLO
Psst! Masqueraders! Psst!

DONNA ANNA, DONNA ELVIRA (to Don Ottavio)
Go on, answer him.

LEPORELLO
Psst, psst! Masqueraders!

DON OTTAVIO
What do you want?

LEPORELLO
If you would care to enter,
my master invites you to the dance.

DON OTTAVIO
You do us an honour!
Let us go, my dear friends.

LEPORELLO (aside)
Our friend will also
try his hand on these.
(He retires from the window.)

DONNA ANNA, DON OTTAVIO
May just Heaven protect
my determined heart! etc.

DONNA ELVIRA
May just Heaven avenge
my betrayed love! etc.
(They leave.)

Synopsis:

The city of Seville, Spain.A licentious nobleman, Don Giovanni, disguises himself in order to seduce Donna Anna, who is engaged to marry Don Ottavio. Anna chases him off and is protected by her father, the Commendatore. During a duel, Don Giovanni kills the old man, before running off, without the slightest remorse, to chase after other women, with his faithful servant, Leporello, by his side, a reluctant accomplice in his outrageous schemes. Donna Elvira and Zerlina are among his victims. After slipping away from his pursuers –and delighting in his impunity – Don Giovanni burns in Hell, dragged down into the Underworld by the ghostly statue of the Commendatore who has come to avenge his daughter and set the world right.

Act 1
Don Giovanni lives only for pleasure. After sexually assaulting Donna Anna, and killing her father, the Commendatore, during a duel, he encounters Donna Elvira, a former conquest. Elvira accuses him of deceiving her, but Don Giovanni hurries away, leaving his servant, Leporello to respond to her accusations. Leporello reads a long list of his master’s lovers in a recitative called the “catalogue”.

After his altercation with Elvira, Don Giovanni comes across a village wedding. Zerlina is about to marry Masetto. Don Giovanni cannot pass up the opportunity, and quickly takes care of the future husband, threatening him if he does not leave immediately, while promising all sorts of things to the young and naive Zerlina, who hesitates at first, but then agrees to follow him.

There is dancing and merriment at the festivities organised by Don Giovanni.However, danger looms: Donna Anna has recognised him as her attacker and father’s killer and Elvira and Zerlina seem determined to get revenge. But Don Giovanni does not care! The ball offers an opportunity for new conquests and the dancers spin as the wine flows.