Sung in Italian with English supertitles
The performance lasts approximately three hours 15 minutes including a 20 minute interval.
About this production
The blackest of Mozart’s comedies, Don Giovanni charts the last 24 hours in the life of the legendary seducer Don Juan, before he meets his heaven-sent end in a closing scene of hell and damnation that remains one of the most profoundly shocking moments in opera. Directed and designed by the award winning team behind the 2009 Festival’s spectacular staging of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, Glyndebourne’s long-awaited new production of Mozart’s most demonic masterpiece is conducted by the new Music Director of Glyndebourne on Tour, the young Czech-born maestro Jakub Hruša.
Introducing the cast
Making his UK opera debut in the title role is prize-winning young Norwegian baritone Audun Iversen. Leporello, his score-keeping servant, is sung by the Canadian bass-baritone Robert Gleadow, a graduate of Covent Garden’s Young Artists Programme, who makes his Glyndebourne Festival debut this year. As the abandoned Donna Elvira, we welcome the award-winning Chicago-born soprano Nicole Heaston. And, as the avenging Donna Anna, we have Natasha Jouhl (Micaëla in the 2008 Tour’s Carmen), who was winner of the 2009 John Christie Award.
In the early hours of the morning Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Donna Anna in her own home. In making his escape he kills her father, the Commendatore. Anna and her fiancé Don Ottavio swear to avenge her father’s death, but they don’t know who the murderer is. As day breaks, Giovanni’s servant Leporello dares to tell his master that he is leading the life of a scoundrel.
They meet Donna Elvira, whom Giovanni has previously seduced and abandoned. Leporello tells her that she is neither the first nor the last woman his master has betrayed. There have been thousands. Elvira, like Donna Anna before her, swears revenge on her deceiver. The peasant couple Zerlina and Masetto are to be married today. Giovanni invites them to celebrate at his home and immediately begins his attempt to seduce the girl. As a peasant, Masetto is forced to comply with the noble Giovanni’s wishes.
Zerlina is seemingly at Giovanni’s mercy when Elvira intercepts them and rescues the innocent girl.
Ottavio and Anna meet Giovanni, unaware that he is the man they are seeking. Elvira appears and warns them to beware of the treacherous Giovanni. He soon makes himself scarce, but Anna has already recognised the intruder who murdered her father. Intent on further womanising, Giovanni proposes a lavish party to which any woman is welcome. He invites Zerlina and Masetto, who are just beginning to patch things up.
Anna, Ottavio and Elvira arrive at the party in masks, intent on exposing Giovanni’s crimes.
The party is in full swing, and Giovanni continues his pursuit of Zerlina. Leporello attempts to distract Masetto as his master takes the girl to another room, but Zerlina screams out and Giovanni is exposed. Elvira, Anna and Ottavio unmask themselves and call revenge upon the seducer’s head. Don Giovanni is confused but not afraid. Somehow he escapes.
Dinner interval of approximately 85 minutes
Leporello has had enough of serving such a difficult master, but Giovanni uses money to persuades him to stay.
Giovanni’s next victim is to be Elvira’s maidservant; to seduce her he intends to impersonate Leporello, because people of her station can be wary of a gentleman’s appearance. Giovanni now dresses up as Leporello, and Leporello takes on the appearance of his master.
As night falls, Elvira appears at a window and betrays a hint of compassion for the man who has seduced her. Giovanni calls to her, asking for forgiveness; moments later she is in the street with Leporello, thinking him to be Giovanni. Leporello stages a scene of reconciliation and then Giovanni scares them off to leave the coast clear for his attempt on the maidservant.
Masetto appears, armed, with a posse looking for Giovanni. Giovanni pretends to be Leporello and sends the posse off in different directions to track down his ‘scoundrel of a master’. Alone with Masetto, Giovanni proceeds to beat him up.
Zerlina comes by and tends Masetto’s wounds. They are reconciled. Leporello is now trying to shake off Elvira in the dark. He slips away only to run into Masetto, Zerlina, Ottavio and Anna, who believe him to be Giovanni from the clothes he is wearing. To everyone’s surprise, Elvira asks them to show mercy towards the seducer, but Ottavio is on the point of killing him when Leporello reveals his true identity. He attempts to explain himself and then runs away.
Ottavio promises to bring Giovanni to justice for his beloved. He will return only as the messenger of death.
Giovanni and Leporello meet up again in a graveyard. Nearby is the tomb of Anna’s father, the Commendatore, a distinguished soldier. During Giovanni and Leporello’s conversation the voice of the Commendatore is heard. This voice states that Giovanni’s laughter will be finished before dawn, and orders him to leave the dead in peace; an inscription on the statue reads:
I wait for revenge on the villain who brought me to death.
Giovanni is highly amused by this and orders Leporello to invite the statue to dine with him that evening. The statue nods its head in acceptance and then utters the word ‘Yes’. Leporello is terrified and Giovanni is intrigued.
Ottavio tries to persuade Anna to marry him the next day. She, however, is too distraught at her father’s death to contemplate such a thing. Giovanni has already started to dine when Elvira appears in a last attempt to persuade him to change his way of life. A knocking is then heard at the door and the Commendatore arrives for dinner.
The Commendatore begs Giovanni to repent and change his life; Don Giovanni refuses and is dragged down to hell to pay for his sins.
© Malcolm Hunter 2000 Supertitles by Malcolm Hunter
Conductor Jakub Hruša / Leo McFall (9, 12, 30 November, 4 December)
Director Jonathan Kent
Revival Director Ashley Dean
Designer Paul Brown
Lighting designer Mark Henderson
Movement director Denni Sayers
Il Commendatore In-Sung Sim
Donna Anna Natasha Jouhl
Don Ottavio Emanuele D’Aguanno
Don Giovanni Audun Iversen
Leporello Robert Gleadow
Donna Elvira Nicole Heaston
Zerlina Eliana Pretorian
Masetto Callum Thorpe
Glyndebourne on Tour Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus