Don Giovanni

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)

Information on the piece

Dramma giocoso in two acts
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte; First performed on 29th October, 1787 at Prague
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 16th October, 2010

3 hrs 30 mins / 1 interval

In Italian language with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

Recommended from 16 years
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About the performance

About the work
In their second collaboration after LE NOZZE DI FIGARO Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte drew on the Spanish legend of Don Juan. Earlier popularity aside, the protagonist only attained the mythical dimensions of a heroic archetype in Mozart’s operatic version, which went on to inspire countless reimaginings of the material and philosophical readings by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Søren Kierkegaard et al. A raft of musical pieces from DON GIOVANNI, ranging from arias and the famous overture to duets, trios and ensembles, have seared themselves into our collective awareness.

The opera takes up the story when Don Giovanni’s career as womanizer is already far advanced: his valet, Leporello, puts the number of conquests in Spain alone at 1,003. Yet the Don’s compulsion shows no sign of abating, even though – or because - there is risk in each added attempt. Caught in flagranti with Donna Anna, he kills her father in a duel and flees, pursued by Anna, her fiancé Don Ottavio and his ex-lover Donna Elvira. The next object of his lust is Zerlina, whom he hopes to ravish under the nose of her prospective husband, Masetto, on their wedding day. The peripatetic rake repeatedly provokes the people around him and his own fate, as if wishing to hasten the inevitable.

About the production
Mozart fuses sobering and light-hearted elements and comedy with tragedy in a “Dramma giocoso” that E. T. A. Hoffmann called the “opera to end all operas”. And Don Giovanni is unquestionably the seducer par excellence. Since Tirso de Molina penned his original 17th-century play, countless works of literature and theatre have devoted themselves to his amorous escapades. But who really is Don Juan? Director Roland Schwab sets out to find the Don Giovanni of modern-day Berlin. What can still raise a pulse, with every woman already a notch on the bedpost and every evening partied away? Is it the orgies that line up ahead of the burnt-out libertine that possibly represent the real Hell?

The production takes an existentialist approach, analysing the emotional state of the eponymous hero and painting him as ravaged by his decadent lifestyle. Aided and abetted by Leporello, his valet, who relishes his boss’s perfidy, Don Giovanni submits to the temptations around him – deploying a superior sex appeal, a detached, domineering style or frenzied violence. As the hellish excesses take on a Sisyphean quality, the obsessed antihero resorts to meditation as a coping mechanism, condemned to rage forever against the abstract backdrop of set designer Piero Vinciguerra.

Our articles on the subject

„Don Giovanni“ – The Synopsis
Dr Takt on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's: „Don Giovanni“, Overture, bars 23-26

Our recommendations

The Magic Flute
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Advents-Verlosung: Das 2. Fensterchen

In today's Advent calendar window, we are giving away 3 DVDs of "Der Schatzgräber" - an opera in a prelude, four acts and a postlude by Franz Schreker. If you would like to win one of the three DVDs, please send an e-mail today with the subject "The 2nd window" to

DER SCHATZGRÄBER (THE TREASURE HUNTER) by Franz Schreker was a triumph at its world premiere in Frankfurt in 1920 and went on to play 44 times at assorted venues over the next five years. It then fell victim to a shifting zeitgeist and slipped from opera-house programmes, with a National Socialist ban on performances sealing its demise. Even after 1945 the Schreker revival was a long time coming – and THE TREASURE HUNTER has not featured prominently in the renaissance.

As with the vast majority of Schreker’s libretti, the story of Els and Elis explores the relationship between fantasy and reality, between art and life. Soulmates in the sense that they are both at the mercy of the king’s disposition, Els and Elis set off in search of different treasures. Elis, the minstrel, uses his magic lute to locate a stash of jewels and do humanity a good turn. Els, an innkeeper’s daughter who has grown up motherless in a tough, male-chauvinist world, becomes a liar, cheat and murderess in pursuit of her goal, tasking her suitors to steal the queen’s jewels and then having them killed once they have returned with the haul of treasure. Yet even with the gold in their possession, the pair are not content, and so, true to form, Schreker turns his attention to the theme of yearning per se, which is the actual “treasure” that the composer is interested in, “a dream of happiness and redemption”. Elis and Els are caught up in a swirl of dreams, memories, premonitions, songs and music. Their stories take on a dreamlike quality in a world beset by greed, murder and emotional inconstancy. For Franz Schreker the path to redemption could only be via art. Composed during the turmoil of the First World War, the TREASURE HUNTER score amounts to Schreker’s personal confession of artistic faith, executed in florid strokes of late-Romantic musical colour.

Conductor Marc Albrecht; Staging Christof Loy; Set design Johannes Leiacker; Costume design Barbara Drosihn; With Tuomas Pursio, Doke Pauwels, Clemens Bieber, Michael Adams, Joel Allison, Michael Laurenz, Thomas Johannes Mayer, Seth Carico, Daniel Johansson, Gideon Poppe, Stephen Bronk, Elisabet Strid, Patrick Cook, Tyler Zimmerman a. o.; Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Closing date: 2 December 2023, the winners will be informed by email on 4 December 2023. The DVDs will then be sent by post. Legal recourse is excluded.