New York City Opera Project: Don Giovanni


Principal Characters:

Don Giovanni
Donna Anna
Don Ottavio
Il Commendatore
Donna Elvira

Time: unspecified; Place: A city in Spain

Act I

Leporello waits outside the Commendatore's home as Don Giovanni, his master, is inside ravishing the Commendatore's daughter, Donna Anna. The masked Don Giovanni suddenly runs from the house with Donna Anna following him. Awakened by the clamor, the Commendatore challenges Don Giovanni to a duel which ends in the Commendatore's death. After Don Giovanni and Leporello flee, Donna Anna and her betrothed, Don Ottavio, swear vengeance upon the Commendatore's masked killer.

Don Giovanni and Leporello overhear the plaint of a forsaken woman. Giovanni approaches, planning to seduce her until he recognizes her as Donna Elvira, a woman he recently seduced and abandoned. Giovanni orders Leporello to distract her while he escapes. Leporello tells Donna Elvira that she is merely one of Don Giovanni's thousands of conquests.

Villagers celebrate the impending wedding of Zerlina and Masetto. Giovanni, lusting after Zerlina, charges Leporello to amuse Masetto and the revelers so that he may be alone with Zerlina. Giovanni has nearly conquered Zerlina when Donna Elvira interrupts. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive and ask for Giovanni's help in finding the Commendatore's mysterious murderer. Donna Elvira's denunciations of Giovanni arouse their suspicions, but he assures them that Elvira is mad. After Giovanni departs, Donna Anna tells Ottavio that she recognized Giovanni's voice as that of her father's murderer.

Masetto chastises Zerlina for fraternizing with Giovanni, but she convinces him to forgive her. Giovanni invites the couple, along with three mysterious masquers, to festivities at his residence. The masked trio - Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Octavion - brace themselves before entering.

At Giovanni's celebration, Zerlina's screams interrupt the dancing revelers, and Giovanni falsely accuses Masetto of attacking her. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira reveal their identities and confront Don Giovanni, who manages to escape.

Act II

Leporello threatens to leave Don Giovanni's service, but Giovanni convinces him to stay and help him seduce Donna Elvira's maid. Exchanging clothes with Leporello, Don Giovanni serenades the maid while Leporello, dressed as Giovanni, diverts Donna Elvira. Giovanni, still dressed as Leporello, encounters Masetto leading a vengeful mob in search of the Don. After Don Giovanni dupes Masetto and makes his escape, Zerlina comforts her fiancée.

Leporello, disguised as Giovanni, is trying to flee Elvira when he is trapped by Ottavio, Anna, Zerlina, and Masetto, who believe they've finally captured Giovanni. Leporello reveals his identity, pleads for mercy, and finally escapes. Ottavio reaffirms his intention to avenge Donna Anna, and Elvira, left alone, laments her betrayal by Giovanni.

Meeting up in a cemetery, Don Giovanni and Leporello encounter a statue of the slain Commendatore. Giovanni orders Leporello to invite the statue to dinner, and, to Leporello's horror, the statue nods its acceptance.

Don Ottavio reassures Donna Anna that her father's death will soon be avenged, leaving them free to marry. Anna, however, still feels reluctant to marry so soon after her father's death.

Don Giovanni feasts, waited upon by Leporello and entertained by a band. Donna Elvira bursts in, urging Don Giovanni to mend his ways, but he scorns her entreaties. Elvira and Leporello encounter the statue of the Commendatore as it arrives for dinner. The Commendatore demands that Giovanni atone for his sins, but he defiantly refuses. Finally, he meets his doom. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Donna Elvira, Masetto, and Zerlina arrive in search of Giovanni but find only the stunned Leporello, who reports his master's bizarre fate. They agree that all evildoers must meet such a terrible end.