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Don Giovanni is an opera with two parts. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote the music, and Lorenzo Da Ponte wrote the Italian words for the opera. In his play El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra, written in 1630, playwright Tirso de Molina tells the story of a free spirit from Spain from hundreds of years ago. It is a dramma giocoso with elements of comedy, drama, and the supernatural.
On October 29, 1787, it was performed for the first time by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater (of Bohemia), which is now called the Estates Theater. Don Giovanni is considered one of the best operas of all time. Critic Fiona Maddocks called it one of Mozart's "three masterpieces with librettos by Da Ponte."
Opera buffa, or comic opera, was popular during the Enlightenment, and Don Giovanni is a good example. Opera buffa was popular with people from the middle class because it was funny and often made fun of the aristocracy.
Don Giovanni tells the story of Don Giovanni, a legendary nobleman who is said to have traveled all over Spain seducing many women. His money and power keep him from being punished for his actions. But one day, he kills someone, which brings him down.
History of Performance
After Mozart's trip to Prague in January and February 1787 went well, the opera was asked to be written. The city was chosen because it is the birthplace of the Don Juan opera genre. The opera Don Giovanni Tenorio by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on a story by Giovanni Bertati, had its world premiere in Venice in the early years of the 18th century. He copied Bertati in two ways: he started with the murder of the Commendatore, and he didn't talk about Seville.
The opera was supposed to be performed for the first time on October 14, 1787, during the visit of Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria. However, it wasn't ready in time, so Le Nozze di Figaro was used instead. Mozart finally finished it on October 28, the night before the first performance (October 29).
In the early 1900s, the opera's final ensemble was usually left out. The final ensemble was only heard at the first performance in Prague and never again during the original run. It is not in the 1788 Viennese libretto, so the ending of the first performance in Vienna without the ensemble may be accurate. Still, the final ensemble is almost always played in its entirety today.