Plot & Video
E. T. A. Hoffmann called Mozart’s Don Giovanni as “The opera of all operas”. The story of the man who was seducer and rapist, blasphemer and aristocratic cavalier, Narcissus and murderer all rolled into one inspired Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte to write a composition in which the tragic and light-hearted elements merge into a unified whole.
While attempting to seduce Donna Anna, Don Giovanni becomes involved in a duel with her father, the Commendatore, during which he kills him. With this deed, his first murder, Don Giovanni breaks his own taboos and changes from hunter to hunted. From this point on, all his endeavours are doomed to failure. Not even the love of Donna Elvira can move him to repentance and persuade him to give up his life of dissipation. When he even makes fun of the dead and invites the statue of the murdered Commendatore to supper his fate his sealed.
Although Don Giovanni was received with enthusiastic applause at its premiere in Prague on October 29th, 1787 it was given a rather lukewarm reception in Vienna. Emperor Joseph II. remarked to Mozart that the music was no meat to the taste of his Viennese, to which Mozart gave the quick-witted reply: "Just give them time to chew it!".
The new production of Don Giovanni staged at the Theater an der Wien in 2006 was unanimously praised by audience and critics alike: “This is the most exciting Don Giovanni that Vienna has to offer,” said the daily newspaper the Kronen Zeitung. The magazine NEWS wrote: “[Don Giovanni] will go down in the annals of the Theater an der Wien as a coup: a world tragedy suffused with British humour of the blackest kind”, while Die Presse called it “Vienna’s best contribution to the Mozart Year so far”. In August 2009 Keith Warner’s successful production will be reprised.