Sevilla (Spain), 17th century.
Don Giovanni forms the climax of Mozart's operatic work. The music depicts a libertine who offends the prevailing moral code but who is capable of deep passion. Don Giovanni was written for the Prague opera, after Figaro. The 31-year-old Mozart conducted the premiere himself. Lorenzo da Ponte had written the libretto for him and had taken the plot from an opera performed in Venice in January 1787. The central figure is the fascinating but unscrupulous seducer from Sevilla. The people around him become his victims: Donna Anna, the Commendatore's daughter, whom he had tried to seduce and whose father he kills in a duel. Donna Elvira whom he has betrayed and who wavers between love and hatred. Zerline, a young peasant girl who almost succumbs to his charm. Don Giovanni represents a force of nature without conscience and sense of responsibility. His sole aim in life is to win the female he has just fallen in love with. Don Giovanni's opponent is the Commendatore, the representative of morality and justice. The falmes of hell devour Don Giovanni when he invites the stone memorial of the very man he has murdered to his feast and rejects the call for repentence and atonement with a threefold NO. His servant Leporello plays the part of the harlequin taken from the old popular comedy.