April 4 on the Lyric Stage, Scenes and Arias from Don Giovanni
Mozart enjoyed great popularity in Prague beginning with performances of The Abduction from the Seraglio in 1783 at the National Theater, the opera house now known as the Estates Theater. His The Marriage of Figaro was a success there in late 1786, and in early 1787 Mozart made his first visit to Prague to much acclaim. The Italian opera company commissioned a new opera from him, Don Giovanni, and he returned to Prague to help supervise the first production at the Estates in October of 1787. With the libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, it was a great success, and remains one of the most produced operas in the world today.
Don Giovanni's purpose in life is to seduce women, and this purpose leads to his murder of the Commendatore, the father of Donna Anna, one of his conquests. No one is safe, not even Zerlina, who he attempts to seduce on her wedding day. His misdeeds and escapes lead him to a graveyard where a statue of the Commendatore urges him to repent. Don Giovanni refuses, and invites the Commendatore to dinner, where the stone guest appears and grabbing the Don's hand, leads him to hell.
Cesare Siepi Lisa della Casa, Hilde Gueden and Walter Berry head the cast, with Josef Krips conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and the chorus of the Vienna State Opera.