Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527

    Description by Jennifer Hambrick

    While in Prague from January to February 1787, attending and conducting performances of his most recently completed opera Le nozze di Figaro and concerts of several of his instrumental works, Mozart received a commission from Prague impresario Pasquale Bondini for a new opera, which was to be produced in Prague during October 1787. Mozart returned to Vienna and asked Lorenzo Da Ponte, the librettist for Figaro, for another opera libretto. Don Giovanni became the second of three opere buffe Mozart would compose to a libretto by Da Ponte, the third of which, Così fan tutte, Mozart would complete in early 1790. Da Ponte's libretto shows the influence of Bertati's libretto for Gazzaniga's opera Convitato di pietra. The premiere of Don Giovanni took place to great public and critical acclaim in Prague on October 29, 1787. The Prague reception of Don Giovanni was more positive than that of the opera's first Vienna performances in 1788, for which reviews suggested mild dissatisfaction with the work's extended length and unnecessary plot elaborations.

    Mozart creates levels of dramatic expression through recitativo secco, recitative accompagnato, and aria styles. Through recitativo secco, Mozart reveals large amounts of plot information with utmost musical economy. Recitativo accompagnato is reserved for moments of great emotion, in which the accompanying orchestra virtually assumes a dramatic role. In Act Two, Scene Ten (d), the orchestra virtually speaks for the conflicted Donna Elvira, emphatic dotted rhythms in the orchestra conveying her rage and slurred couplets giving musical voice to her sighs. The dramatically stagnant da capo aria that was the mainstay of the operas of George Friedrich Handel is virtually absent from Don Giovanni. Leporello's so-called "catalog aria" ("Madamina, il catalogo è questo") in Act One, Scene Five, for example, suggests both through-composed and bi-partite formal elements. Some arias in Don Giovanni, however, such as Don Ottavio's Act One, Scene Fourteen aria ("Dalla sue pace"), contain traces of the ternary form idea of returning to beginning material after a section of contrasting music. Donna Elvira's aria in Act Two, Scene Ten(d) ("Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata") juxtaposes ternary and rondo form ideas, reinforcing through musical form Donna Elvira's returning to the same position of pity and longing for Don Giovanni. In keeping with the function of the opera overture to introduce the opera's important themes, the music that begins the overture, marked by alternations between the D minor tonic and its dominant, returns in the Commendatore's scene in Act Two, Scene Fifteen. The drama of this scene is set in relief by the light use popular music in the preceding party scene, where the on-stage musicians play melodies from arias by Martín y Soler, Sarti, and even Mozart's own Le nozze di Figaro during Don Giovanni's party. Don Giovanni's canzonetta ("Deh, vieni alla fenestra, o mio tesoro") in Act Two, Scene Three, an airy strophic song scored for pizzicato strings and mandolin, is a similarly witty musical juxtaposition of planes of realism.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Overture. Andante
    2. Notte e giorno faticar (Introduzione)
    3. Ma qual mai s'offre, oh Dei, spettacolo funesto... Fuggi, crudele, fuggi
    4. Ah! chi mi dice mai
    5. Madamina! Il catalogo e questo
    6. Giovinette che fate all' amore
    7. Ho capito, Signor, si
    8. La ci darem la mano, la mi dirai di si
    9. Ah, fuggi il traditor
    10. Non ti fidar, o misera
    11. Don Ottavio, son morta!... Or sai chi l'onore
    12. Dalla sua pace la mia dipende
    13. Finch' han dal vino calda la testa
    14. Batti, batti, o bel Masetto
    15. Presto, presto! pria ch' ei venga, por mi vo' (Finale)
    16. Eh via buffone, eh via buffone
    17. Ah, taci ingiusto core
    18. Deh, vieni alla finestra (Canzonetta) [Serenade]
    19. Metà di voi qua vadano
    20. Vedrai, carino, se sei buonino
    21. Sola, sola in buio loco palpitar
    22. Ah, pietà, signori miei! Ah, pietà, pietà
    23. Il mio tesoro intanto... Per queste tue manine
    24. In qualieccessi, o Numi... Mi tradi quell' alma ingrata, quell' alma ingrata
    25. O statua gentilissima
    26. Crudele! Ah no, mio bene... Non mi dir, bell' idol mio
    27. Gia la mensa e preparata (Finale)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Alpha 379
    2017 Nimbus / Nimbus Records NI 7964
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295801748
    2016 ZYX Classics CLB 10272
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646994052
    2016 Urania WS 121294
    2016 Warner Classics 557376
    2016 Eurodisc / Sony Classical 88875194802
    2016 Sony Classical 88985316032
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon B002346910
    2015 Orfeo / Orfeo D'Or C 846153D
    2015 Walhall WLCD 0168
    2013 Andromeda ANDRCD 9118
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0909
    2012 EMI Classics 7044835
    2012 Myto Historical / Myto Historical Line MCD 00317
    2012 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099995553
    2012 Opera Australia 56025
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4779878
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94389
    2012 Accent ACC 24269
    2011 Fab Four / Membran 233332
    2011 Archiv Produktion
    2011 PentaTone Classics PTC5186190
    2011 Sony Classical 88697985872
    2011 Urania 124
    2011 Warner Classics 677006
    2011 Documents / Membran 233189
    2011 Decca
    2011 Opera D'Oro 7080
    2011 Helicon Classics 029627
    2011 Erato 4677007
    2011 Decca
    2011 Decca 4783051
    2011 Decca
    2011 Golden Melodram / Melodram 50077
    2011 Archipel ARPCD0511
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945609
    2010 Preiser Records 93469
    2010 Preiser Records 20062
    2010 Alto 2502
    2010 Urania 22408
    2009 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099996679
    2009 Decca 001268502
    2009 Sony Classical / Sony Classical UK 7527262
    2009 ATMA Classique 2559
    2009 Cascade Records 2005
    2009 Decca
    2009 Decca 4781600
    2009 Myto Records 00217
    2008 EMI Classics 567869
    2008 Telarc Distribution 80726
    2008 Decca 470059
    2008 Harmonia Mundi HMD9909013/14
    2008 Chandos 6597
    2008 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 8869736548
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 3677332
    2007 Allegro Corporation 9908
    2007 BRV 9806
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 93256
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 801964
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 901964.66
    2007 EMI Classics 00850
    2007 GOP Great Opera Performances 66356
    2007 Myto Records 128
    2007 Royal Opera House Heritage Series 7
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2006 Caprice Records 22059
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 36799
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 000768602
    2006 Golden Melodram 50059
    2006 Brilliant 92877
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 Philips
    2006 Urania 22308
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 58638
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 87758
    2006 Opera D'Oro 1452
    2006 Naïve 8904
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 67597
    2005 Warner Classics 4623292
    2005 Archipel 234
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Myto Records 53313
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2004 Orfeo 624043
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000311136
    2004 Golden Melodram 60016
    2004 Music & Arts CD1129
    2004 Berlin Classics 0020482
    2004 Virgin 562267
    2004 Arte Nova 39118
    2003 Aura Classics 1126
    2003 Preiser Records 20023
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Philips 000087902
    2003 Opera D'Oro 1389
    2003 Orfeo 615033
    2003 Urania 231
    2003 Archipel 162
    2003 Living Stage 1022
    2003 Brilliant 99732
    2002 Opera D'Oro 2105
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 67873
    2002 Golden Melodram 50041
    2002 Golden Melodram 60013
    2002 Warner Fonit 43561
    2002 Decca 470 860-2DC10
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 75535
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 463629
    2001 Chandos 3057
    2001 Opera D'Oro 1298
    2001 Naxos 660080-82
    2001 Melodram 60010
    2001 Urania 166
    2001 Naxos 8 1101357
    2001 Golden Melodram 50026
    2000 Gala Records 100608
    2000 Hommage 7001835
    2000 Archipel 13
    2000 Virgin Classics 45425B
    2000 Datum 12321
    2000 Gala Records 100602
    2000 Philips 464 920-2PB11
    1999 Testament 2149
    1999 Phonographe 5081
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 7470378
    1999 Pearl 9369
    1998 Auvidis 8635
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457601
    1998 RCA 57737
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 56232
    1997 The Radio Years 83
    1997 Opera D'Oro 1144
    1997 Accent 95116/18
    1997 Supraphon 3296
    1997 London 455500
    1997 Sony Classical 62830
    1997 Astree 8606
    1997 Grammofono 2000 78693/95
    1996 London 444594
    1996 Telarc Distribution 80420
    1995 Archiv Produktion 445870
    1995 Preiser Records 90166
    1995 Memories 4362
    1995 Preiser Records 90263
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 64263
    1994 Philips 438674
    1992 Erato 45588
    1991 EMI Music Distribution 63860
    1991 EMI Music Distribution 54255
    1991 Philips 422541
    1990 Teldec 44184
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 429 870-2GX3
    1990 CBS Records 35192
    1989 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777763078
    1987 EMI Music Distribution 47260
    1986 Deutsche Grammophon 419179
    1986 Deutsche Grammophon
    Arkadia 225
    Aurophon Records 31461
    G.Z. Classics 303
    Verona Records 28010@13
    Brilliant 92633
    The 40s Label 3013
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 501
    Golden Melodram 37080
    Kicco Classic 39
    EMI Classics 47260
    Laudis Records Suite 4001
    Decca 466389
    EMI Music Distribution 47036
    Brilliant 99732/1-3
    Le Monde de l'Opera 32
    Golden Melodram 37506
    Arkadia 78050
    Hunt Productions 552
    L'Oiseau-Lyre 425943
    EMI Music Distribution 548592
    Cetra 2049
    Virgin 61601
    Eurodisc 610287
    Melodram 37506
    Chandos 8920
    Serenissima 360176
    As Disc 21006
    Giuseppe di Stefano Recordings 31024
    Enterprise 301
    Arkadia 450
    Nuova Era 2330/32
    Decca 470427
    Panton Records 1213
    Arlecchino 75/76
    Legato Classics 206
    Preiser Records 90762