This performance has been staged during the Opera Festival 2015. Visit the program page to see what's scheduled for the next Opera Festival!
From 4th July for 5 performances is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni, in the beautiful staging by Franco Zeffirelli, who inaugurated the 2012 Opera Festival, with costumes by Maurizio Millenotti, choreography by Maria Grazia Garofoli and lighting by Paolo Mazzon. After his extraordinary success in theatres throughout the world with Barocco repertoire debuting on the Arena’s podium is Stefano Montanari.
Conductor Stefano Montanari
Director Franco Zeffirelli
Costume designer Maurizio Millenotti
Choreographer Maria Grazia Garofoli
Lighting designer Paolo Mazzon
Chorus Master Salvo Sgrò
Corps de Ballet Director Renato Zanella
Director of Technical Operations and Stage Design Giuseppe De Filippi Venezia
Arena di Verona Orchestra, Chorus, Corps de Ballet and Technical team
It is nighttime. Wearing a mask, Don Giovanni has entered Donna Anna’s house to seduce her. Leporello impatiently awaits him in the garden, complaining of his situation: he is tired of being the servant of an ungrateful employer and wants to be a nobleman too. Don Giovanni rushes in unexpectedly, held forcefully by the woman who, after having initially mistaken him for her betrothed, Don Ottavio, has reacted to the attempted violence and is now trying to unmask him. The turmoil attracts the Commendatore (Donna Anna’s father) to the garden, where he challenges the seducer to a duel. Don Giovanni does not want to duel with an elderly man, but the Commendatore insists and, after a few sword thrusts, is killed. The libertine and his servant run off. Donna Anna, who has gone to look for help, returns with Don Ottavio and some servants, but finds her father already dead. Desperate, she makes her bridegroom-to-be swear to avenge the crime.
In a street of Seville, Don Giovanni is looking for more adventures: Leporello reproaches him for his behaviour, but he angrily silences him. He then notices a beautiful lady, who is complaining that she has been abandoned by her lover and says she wants revenge. Don Giovanni approaches to “console” her, but realizes that she is Donna Elvira, whom he had seduced and abandoned in Burgos. Embarrassed, he slips away and leaves his servant the task of justifying him. Leporello has no choice but to comfort the woman: he explains to her that she is neither the first nor the last to have been deceived by Don Giovanni, and reads her his employer’s list of conquests. Extremely angry, Donna Elvira decides to seek revenge.
In the meantime, a group of peasants is celebrating the marriage of Zerlina and Masetto. Don Giovanni arrives and immediately catches sight of the bride. He tells Leporello to take everybody to his palace, where they will be able to eat and drink their fill. He will stay with Zerlina. Masetto protests, but has to yield to the nobleman’s will. Alone with the young woman, Don Giovanni courts her and almost manages to seduce her with a flattering but improbable promise of marriage. However, just when the girl is about to surrender, Donna Elvira arrives, unmasks Don Giovanni and warns Zerlina, taking her away.
Left alone, Don Giovanni is joined by Donna Anna and Don Ottavio who, not recognizing him as the Commendatore’s killer, ask him to help them find the culprit. But, once again, with her customary accusing manner, Donna Elvira appears and warns the pair not to trust Don Giovanni who, in turn, accuses the woman of being mad. When the libertine leaves, Donna Anna gives a start: from his voice, she realizes that he is precisely the man who assaulted her and killed her father. She tells Don Ottavio everything and once more urges him to take revenge.
Once he finds his employer again, Leporello tells him what has happened at the palace while he was away: with a trick, he managed to get Donna Elvira out of the way and get Zerlina to remain for the party. Satisfied with the favourable circumstances, Don Giovanni gives instructions for the banquet and thinks of how to deceive the peasant women.
In the meantime, in the palace garden, Zerlina tries to make up with Masetto: she assures him that nothing happened and the nobleman did not even touch her. When Don Giovanni arrives, Masetto hides in a niche, from which he watches him courting Zerlina, but the libertine realizes that he is there: he convinces the boy that he only wants to give him back his bride and invites them both to the reception.
Wearing masks to avoid being recognized, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Don Ottavio also take part in the party. As soon as the dances begin, Leporello distracts Masetto, while Don Giovanni begins to court Zerlina again and takes her by force into another room. The girl’s shouts for help interrupt the party and everybody rushes to help her. Don Giovanni tries to blame Leporello, but Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Don Ottavio don’t believe him, take their masks off and openly accuse him, invoking divine punishment.
It is evening, near the house of Donna Elvira, and Leporello is squabbling with Don Giovanni: annoyed by what had happened at the party, he wants to leave his employer, but a cash reward is sufficient to make him change his mind. Don Giovanni then compels him to exchange clothes with him, with the excuse that he wants to court Donna Elvira’s maid more easily. When she appears at the window, the seducer, under the cover of darkness, says that he is sorry and asks to be forgiven. The woman comes down and Don Giovanni asks his servant to play along with her, so that he can continue undisturbed with the new prey. While Elvira, taken in by the disguise and the darkness, leaves with Leporello, Don Giovanni goes below the maid’s balcony and sings a serenade.
The plan is ruined by the arrival of Masetto and some armed peasants, determined to kill the dissolute man. Taking advantage of the disguise and changing his voice, Don Giovanni says he is willing to help them: he organizes the search, sending the men off in various directions and, left alone with Masetto, clubs him. The young man’s moans attracts Zerlina who, after having reproaching him for his jealousy, comforts him with tender malice.
In the meantime, Leporello tries to get rid of Elvira, but is blocked by Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto who, mistaking him for Don Giovanni, threaten to kill him. Put with his back against the wall, Leporello reveals his real identity and, to everyone’s bewilderment and anger, tries to justify himself, then runs off. Now certain that Don Giovanni is the murderer of the Commendatore, Don Ottavio decides to put his trust in justice to avenge the wrongs he has suffered. Before leaving, he asks the others to comfort Donna Anna, while Donna Elvira, although furious per the latest deception, is torn between feelings of pity and affect for Don Giovanni.
In a cemetery, where there is also a statue of the Commendatore, Don Giovanni tells Leporello of his latest amorous adventure with satisfaction. Suddenly a spectral voice is heard, threatening the libertine. The pair realize that it is coming from the tomb of the Commendatore, on which an inscription asks for revenge for the murder. While the astonished servant is dying of fright, Don Giovanni, with amused effrontery, invites the statue to dinner that very evening. With a nod of its head, the statue accepts.
In the meantime, Don Ottavio tries to convince Donna Anna to speed up the wedding. But, although confirming her love, the girl explains to him that she is still too tried and will only marry him when her heart has peacefully recovered.
At his palace, Don Giovanni is merrily banqueting and orders the musicians to entertain him. Donna Elvira bursts furiously into the room: she tries to convince the libertine to repent and change his way of life, but he reacts irritably, proposing a toast to women and good wine. Elvira finally gives up, makes to leave, but immediately comes back in, screaming and running in the opposite direction. Leporello is sent to see what is happening and returns, terrified: the statue of the Commendatore is on the threshold of the house. Somebody knocks violently at the door. Leporello hides under the table, while Don Giovanni confronts the terrible apparition. The statue orders him several times to repent for the misdeeds he has committed, but he continues to give a proud sharp refusal. Then the floor trembles, an abyss opens and, amidst the flames, Don Giovanni is dragged into the depths by infernal spirits.
Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Donna Elvira, Masetto and Zerlina arrive to arrest Don Giovanni. Still terrorized, Leporello tells them of the dissolute man’s end, and they all agree he got what he deserved. Don Ottavio asks Donna Anna to marry him, but she asks him to wait for another year; Donna Elvira decides to enter a convent; Zerlina and Masetto go home for dinner. The only thing Leporello can do is to go to the inn and look for a better employer.
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