The Kennedy Center

Overture to Don Giovanni, K. 527

About the Work

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
© Kryštof Spirit

The world premiere of the opera Don Giovanni on October 29, 1787, at the Nostic (today's Estates) Theatre in Prague was met with great acclaim, paving the way for the work to become a permanent fixture in opera houses worldwide. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was commissioned with writing the new opera during his visit to Prague in January 1787. Unlike in Vienna, where it had flopped, his previous opera, Le nozze di Figaro, garnered tremendous success in the Czech metropolis. Mozart worked on Don Giovanni over the next few months, yet only applied the finishing touches to it after arriving in Prague on October 4. As in the case of Le nozze di Figaro, the libretto was written by Lorenzo da Ponte. The opera, about the admired and condemned rake and rebel, radiates Shakespearean ambiguity, blending slapstick comedy and tragedy, the "high" and the "low," giving rise to philosophical contemplation while at the same time affording splendid entertainment replete with excitement and humor. This year, 225 years will have passed since the world premiere of the opera Don Giovanni.