Playing with fire will burn you in the end
Opera’s ultimate seducer is back and he’s behaving very badly. The charismatic Don Giovanni seduces his way around Europe, taking what he wants and living for lust, without conscience. When one of his conquests ends in murder, it looks like his luck is about to turn. He finds himself on the run, pursued by disgruntled ex-lovers, fiancées and a force from beyond the grave. But when he refuses to show remorse, his past catches up with him and leads to his ultimate demise.
Based on the legend of Don Juan, Welsh National Opera’s production is set during the Spanish Golden Age. Mozart reflects both comedy and tragedy brilliantly in the score, including the ‘Catalogue’ aria detailing Giovanni’s list of 2065 lovers, the sparkling ‘Champagne’ aria and the high drama of the heart-stopping finale.
Cast & Creative
At the Commendatore’s house, Don Giovanni attempts to rape Donna Anna, the Commendatore’s daughter. The Commendatore intervenes and Giovanni kills him before fleeing with his servant, Leporello. When Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio find the body, they swear vengeance.
Giovanni’s abandoned wife, Elvira, has been searching for him, but when she confronts him, he just tells Leporello to show her his long list of conquests.
In the village square, celebrations are underway for Zerlina and Masetto’s wedding. Giovanni’s attempts to seduce Zerlina, while Leporello keeps Masetto out of the way, are interrupted by Elvira who warns Zerlina about him.
Ottavio and Anna ask Giovanni for his help in obtaining revenge for her father’s murder. Elvira again appears and warns them about Giovanni, making Anna realise that he was the one who raped her and killed her father. Anna tells Ottavio what happened, insisting that he revenge her honour.
Back at Giovanni’s, Leporello and Giovanni recount the days’ successes and failures. Giovanni makes plans to add another 10 women to his list by holding a feast.
Masetto and Zerlina are quarrelling about her infidelity; Giovanni invites them both to the party. Using the dancing as cover he abducts Zerlina, but Masetto along with the disguised Anna, Elvira and Ottavio hear her screams for help. They unmask themselves and all five denounce Giovanni. He escapes.
Having persuaded Leporello to keep working for him, Giovanni swaps clothes with him, to try his luck with Elvira’s maid, using Leporello to distract Elvira.
Masetto and a group of armed villagers come to kill Giovanni but, disguised as Leporello, he sends them all in different directions. Zerlina comforts Masetto.
Anna and Ottavio, along with Zerlina and Masetto, threaten to kill Leporello thinking he is Giovanni. He strips off his disguise and begs for mercy. He escapes.
In a churchyard Giovanni boasts to Leporello that he’s seduced his girlfriend; out of the darkness, the Commendatore’s statue rebukes him. A terrified Leporello reads the tomb inscription promising revenge. The statue accepts Giovanni’s dinner invitation. Meanwhile Anna seeks to delay her marriage to Ottavio.
Giovanni is eating his dinner when Elvira interrupts, begging him to change his ways. He mocks her. The Commendatore confronts him. Giovanni refuses to repent. He is dragged through the gates of Hell; a chorus of demons call for his damnation.
Leporello tells the others what happened. Anna and Ottavio’s marriage plans go ahead. Elvira resolves to enter a convent. Zerlina and Masetto go home. Leporello decides to find a new, better master. All together they sing the conclusion: that wicked people will always come to a bad end and sinners must die the same way they have lived.