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Mozart's Opera, Don Giovanni

The purpose of this research is to trace the development of the main character in Mozart's opera Don Giovanni. The plan of the research will be to set forth the background of the opera and the climate in which Don Giovanni emerges, and then to focus on the way the operatic structure, and in particular the music itself, facilitates showing the moral and theatrical complexity of the character.

The excessive behavior of the hero of the Don Juan myth is legendary, and the libretto of Don Giovanni, written by Lorenzo Da Ponte, is faithful to the legend. Don Giovanni, indeed, is concerned with one thing only: seduction. His excessively cynical, impious detachment in regard to what he calls love is so extreme and so unlikely, in the realistic scheme of things, to remain unpunished that only hell can contain them. His singlemindedness, as much as its content, dooms him utterly. As the Statue Don Giovanni has so callously invited to dinner points out, "Now is the fatal moment! Repent or face damnation! . . . Heaven demands repentance!" (Don Giovanni II.14). The fact that the Statue gives Don Giovanni only one chance to redeem himself may seem an abrupt turn of dramatic action, but throughout the action of the drama, Don Giovanni has done little except seduce and abandon one woman after an other; indeed, he has come to the banquet fresh from his newest conquest, his servant Leporello's mistress. One chance is enough for a scoundrel like that, and Don Giovanni does not take it.

How a charcter such as Don Giovanni could be said to develop in a complex way may be puzzling in view of what might be termed his almost onenote attribute of personality. In this connection, it has been noted that the librettist, Da Ponte, incorporated autobiographical elements into his treatment of the Don Juan Legend: Da Ponte began his professional career as a priest but was defrocked for licentiousness before becoming a courtpatronized librettis...

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Mozart's Opera, Don Giovanni. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:38, March 22, 2019, from