About the Event
Mozart composed 'The Opera of Operas' — Don Giovanni — especially for Prague, and he personally conducted its world premiere in 1787 at the Prague Estates Theatre (Stavovské Theatre).
The National Marionette Theatre presents this brilliant opera in a unique version using classical marionettes. Tall marionettes clad in stylish period costumes are coupled with original stage effects. The opera performance adheres to the original Italian libretto.
The authentic 18th century spectacle celebrates Mozart's lifetime and awakens the atmosphere of his era. It is a must‐see for opera and puppet lovers on a visit to Prague, great for children and adults alike.
Don Giovanni is a dramma giocoso or 'playful drama' with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and an Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Based on the story of a fictional seducer and libertine, the fabled Don Juan — Giovanni in Italian — the exploits of Casanova, a personal friend of da Ponte, may well have played a part in inspiring the work. The work is a mix of serious and comic action, and includes both supernatural and melodramatic elements, as well as ravishingly seductive music.
Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant, keeps watch while his demanding and unreasonable master attempts to seduce the Commendatore's daughter, Donna Anna. Don Giovanni is pursued by Donna Anna into the garden where she tries to unmask him, shouting for help. The Commendatore enters the garden as Giovanni breaks free, and Anna runs away. The Commendatore forces Giovanni to fight a duel, resulting in the Commendatore’s death.
Giovanni and Leporello escape, and Donna Anna, returning with her fiancé, Don Ottavio, finds her father’s body. She makes Don Ottavio swear vengeance on the unknown assailant.
Leporello reproaches Don Giovanni for his dissolute life. Giovanni reacts angrily until he is distracted by the sound of a woman’s voice. Don Giovanni starts to flirt with her, but it turns out he is the former lover for whom she is searching. Giovanni orders Leporello to tell Donna Elvira about his exploits, and hurries away. Leporello catalogues Giovanni’s many conquests for Donna Elvira. She vows vengeance and departs.
A marriage procession enters. Don Giovanni is attracted to the bride, Zerlina, and he offers to host a wedding celebration at his castle in an attempt to get rid of her jealous groom, Masetto. Masetto becomes angry but is forced to leave.
Don Giovanni and Zerlina are left alone and he immediately begins his seduction. Donna Elvira arrives and interrupts Giovanni’s plans. She takes Zerlina and leaves.
Don Ottavio and Donna Anna enter, plotting their vengeance. Donna Anna asks for Don Giovanni's help, which Giovanni readily promises. Donna Elvira returns and exposes Don Giovanni’s previous behaviour. As Don Giovanni leaves, Donna Anna suddenly recognises him as the murderer. Anna tells the story of Giovanni’s assault, and repeats her demand that Ottavio take revenge on her behalf.
Leporello tells Don Giovanni that the party was in full swing when Zerlina returned with Donna Elvira, and spoiled everything. Giovanni laughs off the setback, and tells Leporello to organize a party and invite every girl he can find.
Zerlina tries to calm Masetto down, but Don Giovanni's voice offstage startles and frightens her. Masetto hides, waiting to see how she reacts when Giovanni appears. Zerlina tries to hide, but Giovanni finds her and attempts to continue the seduction. Spotting Masetto's hiding place, Don Giovanni upbraids Masetto for leaving Zerlina alone, and returns the bride temporarily to her spouse, leading both back to his ballroom.
Three masked guests –Don Ottavio, Donna Anna, and Donna Elvira – enter the garden. From a balcony, Leporello invites them to join the party. Inside, Leporello distracts Masetto, allowing Don Giovanni to take Zerlina to an offstage room, where he tries to assault her. Zerlina screams for help, and Giovanni accuses Leporello of assaulting Zerlina, threatening to kill him. Don Ottavio points his pistol at Don Giovanni, and the three guests unmask. Denounced and threatened from all sides, Don Giovanni escapes.
Leporello threatens to leave Don Giovanni, but his master offers him money to stay. Giovanni wants to seduce Donna Elvira's maid, and orders Leporello to exchange clothes with him.
Donna Elvira comes to her window. Don Giovanni sends Leporello out wearing Don Giovanni's cloak and hat, and sings a promise of repentance from his hiding place, while Leporello tries to keep from laughing. Donna Elvira is convinced and Leporello, continuing to pose as Don Giovanni, leads her away to keep her occupied while Don Giovanni serenades Elvira’s maid with his mandoline.
Before Don Giovanni finishes his serenade, Masetto and his friends arrive, looking for him. Giovanni poses as Leporello and joins the posse. Don Giovanni scatters Masetto's friends, beats him up, and runs off. Zerlina arrives and consoles the bruised and battered Masetto
Leporello abandons Donna Elvira, but bumps into Don Ottavio and Donna Anna. Zerlina and Masetto also arrive and everyone mistakes Leporello for Don Giovanni, whose cloak he is still wearing. Donna Elvira tries to protect ‘Don Giovanni’. Leporello reveals his true identity, begs for mercy and seizes the opportunity to run off.
Don Giovanni and Leporello reunite in a graveyard. Leporello tells Don Giovanni what has happened, and Don Giovanni taunts him. A voice is heard from the Commendatore’s statue, warning Giovanni that his laughter will not last beyond sunrise. Don Giovanni orders Leporello to invite the statue to dinner. The statue responds affirmatively.
Don Ottavio presses Donna Anna to marry him, but she thinks it inappropriate while she is still in mourning. He calls her cruel, and she assures him of her love and fidelity.
Don Giovanni revels in a luxurious meal and musical entertainment. Donna Elvira enters, and begs Giovanni to change his life. Don Giovanni taunts her, praising wine and women as Elvira gives up and leaves.
As she leaves, Elvira screams in terror. Don Giovanni orders Leporello to see what has upset her the servant runs back into the room, stammering that the statue has appeared as promised. The statue offers a last chance to repent, but Don Giovanni refuses. The statue disappears and Don Giovanni is carried off to hell by demons, as Leporello, watching from under the table, shakes in fear.
The others arrive, searching for Don Giovanni. Leporello is found hiding under the table, and assures them that no one will ever see Don Giovanni again. The ensemble delivers the moral of the opera – ''Such is the end of the evildoer: the death of a sinner always reflects his life''.
National Marionette Theatre (Narodni divadlo marionet), Zatecká 1, Prague, Czech Republic — Google Maps