From the programme booklet

„Don Giovanni“ – The Synopsis

recounted by Roland Schwab and Christian Baier

Part One – The impotence of freedom

Coming out of the darkness - Don Giovanni. The "seducer of all seducers" has had many faces over the years! But who is he really?


7. The Donna Anna Syndrome

As the story goes: Don Giovanni murders the father of his lover, Donna Anna. Like so many times before! He leaves an enigmatic card beside the corpse. The countdown begins … Donna Anna conceals her affair with Don Giovanni from Don Ottavio, her groom. Seeing her father’s corpse, she swears vengeance. From now on revenge is the mantra of her troubled conscience.


6. The Donna Elvira Complex

As the libretto intended it: Donna Elvira, a “discarded” lover, confronts Don Giovanni. Leporello, his servant, points out the insignificance of her own personal suffering in comparison with the countless broken hearts Don Giovanni has left in his wake. A mysterious card is also intended for Donna Elvira …


5. The Zerlina Situation

As the dramaturgy would have it: Zerlina and Masetto marry. Don Giovanni seduces the bride – his image leaves him no choice – right under the nose of Donna Elvira and the groom. And then he deals out another of his strange cards … Donna Anna and Don Ottavio find allies in Donna Elvira and Masetto for their revenge on Don Giovanni. Zerlina will be their decoy. Freedom has a party. The avengers gain entry and set upon Don Giovanni. He willingly lays his head beneath the sword raised by Don Ottavio. It’s all over now! He has long awaited this moment. Yet hope is a joke with no punch-line. Chaos, his loyal companion through the centuries, takes hold of him.


Part Two – The last temptation


4. Innocentia

The morning after. A girl. Dead people are heavier than broken hearts. There are still three cards left …


3. The Comedians’ Hour

As the dramma giocoso needs it: Disguised as Don Giovanni, Leporello is supposed to distract Donna Elvira. The comedy of errors takes its course. Don Giovanni lures Masetto into a trap. – There are two cards left … Leporello’s cover is blown. He barely escapes the avengers.


2. Master of Horror

At the graveyard. The voice of the dead commander. Don Giovanni invites the dead man to join him for supper. The last one, he hopes. The course is set for the Last Judgement … On the ruins of their relationship Donna Anna, grimly holding on to her life lie, and Don Ottavio, an unspoken suspicion inside him, resign themselves to the gentle horrors their cold marriage holds in store for them. Don Giovanni still has one card to play. – The last trump …


1. The Don Giovanni Principle

Don Giovanni awaits his true judge. Donna Elvira beseeches him to let go of his plan, but to no avail. Too much has been said, made up, written about him. After all the centuries of interpretation, there’s no room to move. On the track of interpretations, Don Giovanni is well on the way to meeting his fate. Before long, the tribunal calls him to the dock. Heaven and hell crank up the engine of doom. The last card has been drawn. But who is it for? The countdown is over. – And once again nothing’s happened. True hell is repetition. Heading into the darkness, towards the next interpretation – Don Giovanni …


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Adventsverlosung: Das 10. Fensterchen

Before Tobias Kratzer's third production of INTERMEZZO premieres on our stage in April 2024, you can win his debut production for your home DVD collection in today's Advent calendar: Alexander von Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG.

In today's Advent calendar window, we are giving away two DVDs of the Naxos recording of Alexander von Zemlinsky's opera DER ZWERG, which was nominated for the GRAMMY in the "Best Opera Recording" category and is one of the most successful new DVD productions of recent years. If you would like to take part in the prize draw, please send an e-mail today to with the subject line "The 10th window".

A vain, superficial princess - a dwarf artist: the protagonists could hardly be more different, but the story only becomes a tragedy when the dwarf, unaware of his appearance, misinterprets the mockery of court society as a sign of honour and the princess's coquetry as proof of love. When he finally recognises himself in the mirror, he cannot escape the glances of the others - and collapses dead. This fairy tale about an outsider has had biographical parallels in mind since its premiere: Zemlinsky was small and rather slight in stature and suffered from his brief but passionate affair with Alma Schindler for the rest of his life. A quarter of a century of trauma management passed between the liaison in Vienna and the first performance in Cologne, during which the once renowned artist gradually found himself sidelined: too avant-garde for the traditionalists, too traditional for the avant-garde ... Experience David Butt Philip, Mick Morris Mehnert, Elena Tsallagova and Emily Magee in the main roles under the musical direction of Sir Donald Runnicles in a production by Tobias Kratzer.

We would like to thank the Naxos label for the great collaboration of recent years, which - in addition to Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG - has documented recordings of DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE, FRANCESCA DA RIMINI, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, DER SCHATZGRÄBER and DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG, as well as ARABELLA and ANTIKRIST in the course of 2024.

Closing date: 10 December 2023, the winners will be informed by email on 11 December 2023. The DVDs will then be sent by post. Legal recourse is excluded.