When it comes to a great opera, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni ticks all the right boxes. Not only is it full of lust, passion, sin, and death, but both musically and theatrically it thrills the audience again and again. Mix these crowd pleasing features with Mozart’s legacy, and you have one of the greatest operas of all time. The opera follows the promiscuous and scheming antics of nobleman Don Giovanni as he runs into trouble with countless women. The opera is filled with fine musical memories and an intellectual wit, with Giovanni’s servant Leporello running into more than one sticky situation at the hand of his master.
Although the opera has many breath-taking moments, none compare with the Commendatore Scene towards the end of Act Two. Fresh from attempting to steal a newlywed from her husband for a few moments of pleasure, notorious play boy Don Giovanni is confronted with the ghost of the Commendatore; Giovanni’s murder victim and father of Donna Anna, a target of Giovanni’s amorous antics from the opening of Act One. The spirit demands Giovanni repent his sins but arrogant and self-assured Giovanni refuses and so, the Commendatore drags him to hell.
With harrowing Commendatore, smug Giovanni, and cowardly Leporello all working at once on stage, this experience of life meeting death and Giovanni’s end is one to be appreciated by even those unacquainted with the power of Mozart’s operas. If produced correctly, this can be one of the finest moments in Opera. The rich orchestration and three vocal lines capture the drama and atmosphere intended, and alongside the powerful theatrically elements onstage, creates at times a terrifying experience.
This is definitely one of our opera highlights! What’s one of yours?