IN FRONT OF THE RESIDENCE OF THE COMMENDATORE OF SEVILLE: Late at night following a masked ball. Leporello hangs around in the street as his master Don Giovanni, who has followed the maskers into the palace, tries to seduce & then rape the Commendatore's daughter, Donna Anna. Unsuccessful at his attempts, the Don runs from her house, followed closely by the outraged young woman. During her ensuing efforts to unmask him and fight him off, her cries are answered by her father, the Commendatore. She runs into the house for more help, while her father remains and engages in a duel with the masked seducer. The Commendatore is finally killed, and the wounded Giovanni flees.When Donna Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio return to find her father dead, they swear vengeance on the murderer ("Ah! vendicar, se il puoi").
THE PIAZZA: Early morning. Donna Elvira, a woman evidently in a desperate state, arrives. She pours out her wish to find and avenge herself on the man who has seduced and then left her ("Ah! chi mi dice mai"). The Don and Leporello, fleeing from their earlier escapade, arrive unseen. Seeing the unknown woman from a distance, the Don is enchanted, but as she accuses him of being the man who seduced and then abandoned her, he beats a hasty retreat. Leporello then tries to explain the Don's deeply flawed character to Elvira by reading from a list of his staggering numbers of conquests ("Madamina, il catalogo è questo"). The outraged Elvira swears revenge. A wedding group rushes in, celebrating the upcoming marriage of the young Zerlina and Masetto. Giovanni returns and is immediately taken with the beautiful bride-to-be. He offers to host a wedding party for the couple at his palace and asks Leporello to take everyone there immediately-everyone, that is, except Zerlina. Her fiancé violently objects but is dragged away ("Ho capito"). The Don offers (falsely, of course) to instantly marry the young girl himself ("Là ci darem la mano"), but before he can complete his seduction Elvira arrives and defeats him, by convincing Zerlina of his malicious character ("Ah, fuggi il traditor"). They both leave.
THE INTERIOR OF THE CATHEDRAL: Moments later. Anna and Ottavio are seen praying as they try in vain to deal with the death of her father. Seeing the Don, a man from their aristocratic circle, they immediately ask him for his help in finding the murderer. Elvira arrives to seek some calm in prayer, but, horrified to see the Don, tries unsuccessfully to denounce him to Anna, Ottavio, and the whole congregation. In the Don's violence toward Elvira, Anna gradually sees enough to convince her of his guilt in her own attempted rape, and upon his departure urges Ottavio to avenge her father's death ("Or sai che l'onore"). She leaves him as he professes his love for her while also vowing to discover the truth ("Della sua pace").
BY A FOUNTAIN IN THE CITY: Later. Leporello and Giovanni meet and exchange news. The frustrated Don decides to try to turn his upcoming party into a veritable orgy, if he can manage it, and sings of his intentions ("Fin ch'han dal vino").
OUTSIDE THE PALACE DOORS: Moments later. Masetto and Zerlina fight as she tries to reassure him of her innocence ("Batti, batti"). Giovanni arrives, bringing various partygoers, including some potential conquests, all of whom enter the palace. He remains and tries to take Zerlina on the spot but is interrupted by Masetto. They all manage to agree to at least enter the palace together. Anna, Ottavio, and Elvira arrive, having decided to also join the masked ball with the intention of finally confronting the Don. They are invited in but, before entering, pray to God for protection ("Protegga il giusto cielo").
THE PALACE TERRACE: Moments later. A party is in full swing, but Zerlina and Masetto are still arguing. The three masked aristocrats arrive, and the ball proper commences. During the ball, the Don manages to lure Zerlina away; she screams for help once his true intentions are made clear to her. All of the guests try unsuccessfully to reach her, but, as Giovanni returns, he blames Leporello for his own attack on Zerlina. The guests denounce the Don's lies, and a fight ensues. Giovanni and Leporello narrowly escape.
OUTSIDE ELVIRA'S LODGING: Later the same night. The Don and Leporello enter, arguing while fleeing their pursuers. They finally manage to make peace with each other. The Don then reveals that he is enamored with Elvira's maid and convinces Leporello to switch clothing with him in order to woo her as a "servant." However, instead of the maid arriving, Elvira comes out onto the balcony. Seeing Leporello dressed as Giovanni and thinking that he is finally returning to her, she accepts his wooing and then leaves with him. Left alone, the Don sings a romantic serenade to Elvira's maid ("Deh, vieni alla finestra"). However, he hears a disturbance on the other side of the piazza just as she arrives on the balcony.
The noise is made by Masetto and an angry mob of peasants who are all out searching for
Don Giovanni. The disguised Don manages to send all but Masetto away and, left alone with him, beats him severely. The Don leaves as Zerlina arrives and comforts the beaten Masetto
A COLONNADE: Moments later. As Leporello tries to elude Elvira, he is discovered by
Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina, and Masetto, who threaten to kill him, believing him to be Don Giovanni. Elvira pleads for them to spare his life, but Leporello finally reveals his true identity and manages to escape in the confusion. Ottavio sends the ladies into the house and sings of his wish to dry Anna's tears by avenging her father's death ("Il mio tesoro intanto").
IN FRONT OF A STATUE OF THE MADONNA AND CHILD: Moments later. Torn between her love for Don Giovanni and her disgust at his behavior, Elvira laments her predicament while
praying for guidance ("Mi tradi, quell‘alma ingrata").
A GRAVEYARD WITH A STATUE OF THE COMMENDATORE: After midnight. Giovanni, fleeing pursuit from all, lands out in the cemetery. Exhausted, Leporello staggers in, having been similarly chased. As Giovanni laughs over the evening's scurrilous events, he is interrupted by an eerie voice which they realize has come from the statue itself. It warns the Don of his fate. Dismissing the reality of the message, the Don jokingly invites the sculptured mass of stone to be his guest at dinner ("O statua gentilissima"). Leporello and the Don are horrified when the invitation is accepted. They leave in haste.
WITHIN THE COMMENDATORE'S PALACE: The same night. Ottavio tries unsuccessfully to comfort Anna and, finally arguing with her, describes her as cruel. Anna responds in heartfelt terms ("Non mi dir").
DON GIOVANNI'S PALACE: The same night. An almost crazed Don tries unsuccessfully to divert himself from the bizarre reality of having invited a talking statue to dinner.
Donna Elvira rushes in, begging the Don to mend his ways, but he scoffs at her and sends her away. As she leaves, her shouts are heard from the entryway, announcing the arrival of the Commendatore's statue. The statue enters and urges Don Giovanni to repent his actions before it is too late, but he refuses. Finally, as the inevitable result of his past actions, Giovanni is dragged to a final agonizing retribution. Anna, Ottavio, Masetto, Zerlina, and Elvira then arrive, and the horrified Leporello tries to explain what has happened.
As a result of the Don's unearthly departure, Anna postpones her wedding for a year, Elvira decides to enter a convent, Zerlina and Masetto return to their new home together, and Leporello expresses his hopes of finding another employer. Together, they recite the moral of the story: "This is the end of those who do evil!" ("Questo é il fin di chi fa mal!").
David and Alice Rubenstein are the Presenting Underwriters of WNO.
The Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program is made possible through the generous support of
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.
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