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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni

Dramma giocoso in two acts, K. 527
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
Text by Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838)


With German and English surtitles

Duration of the opera approx. 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Print programme (PDF)


Alain Altinoglu, Conductor
Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Stage Director
Rolf Glittenberg, Sets
Marianne Glittenberg, Costumes
Friedrich Rom, Lighting
Ronny Dietrich, Dramaturgy
Walter Zeh, Chorus Master


Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Don Giovanni
Luca Pisaroni, Leporello
Carmela Remigio, Donna Anna
Paolo Fanale, Don Ottavio
Layla Claire, Donna Elvira
Alain Coulombe, Mika Kares (August 9), Il Commendatore
Valentina Nafornita, Zerlina
Alessio Arduini (August 7 and 9), Iurii Samoilov, Masetto
Members of the Angelika Prokopp Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic, Stage Music

Philharmonia Chor Wien
Vienna Philharmonic


To put it another way, the opera Don Giovanni – at least on stage – relies on a world which expresses its respect for sexuality through repression and does not devalue it by means of perverted liberalism and an economically-driven freedom from taboos.

Kierkegaard considers Giovanni’s life to be a frenetic series of moments unlinked by continuity or causality. Just as sexuality cannot be satisfied for ever, neither can Giovanni’s hunger. He renews his desire like Faust: ‘Thus I stagger from desire to pleasure and in pleasure I pine for desire.’ Kierkegaard sees Giovanni as being beyond moral objections, and of course his fellow men could not topple him, this could only be done by a messenger from another world. Every other character in the opera exists purely because of Giovanni’s presence, stepping out of the darkness into the light he makes. One could say that the characters come into contact with the creative and destructive powers of Eros which Giovanni embodies.

It is obvious that each of these can only become recognizable through visible pressure and counter-pressure, i. e. the self-generating and mutually reinvigorating opposites of repression and protest. Hidden in the interplay between them lie the ambivalences which give the opera its meaning. The freedom which Giovanni thirsts for has nothing in common with the middle class liberal ethos and desolate middle class freedoms of our times, it hardly comes close. His craving is for a lack of boundaries. Aligned against this is a world of order and strict divisions, of insurmountable differences in class and status, of morality and religion, whose mechanisms of repression are made visible when confronted with Giovanni. ‘Freedom to do what?’, Mozart and Da Ponte might ask their Giovanni, concerned. To have a feudal master articulate the rebellious demand for freedom on the eve of the revolution, to make this murderer and alleged rapist a character with whom we identify in order to bring hell on stage in the finale – this undertaking is so rich in contradictions, both suspected and explicit, so rich in fears and hopes, false and genuine outrage, support and opposition, earthly and religious horizons, indecision and daring, humour and gravitas, that one would think a wrestling match were taking place in which neither competitor loses, but in whose heat the battlefield goes up in flames. Liberty and its lack appear by its flickering light as equally terrifying giants. Our age puts out this fire by psycho-pathologizing Don Giovanni. As nothing more is sacred to us, we find nothing unsacred. Viva la libertà!

Sven-Eric Bechtolf
(Translation: David Tushingham)


The Young Mozart Singers

posted in: Opera

( 21 Aug 2016 ) An airhead? No! – That is not Susanna at all. “She holds all the threads in her hand,” says Anna Prohaska, who sings the role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro this Festival summer. Still, the focus of Sven-Eric Bechtolf’s production is more on the Count and Countess, the soprano says. And yet Susanna is “the Hans Sachs of lyric sopranos,” she says with a laugh. After all, Susanna is constantly on stage.

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Young Voices in the Da Ponte Cycle

posted in: Opera

( 24 Jun 2016 ) For the first time in the history of the Salzburg Festival, Mozart’s complete Da Ponte cycle can be heard this year. Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro, the libretti for which were all written by Lorenzo da Ponte, are among Mozart’s most popular operas next to Die Zauberflöte. But not only that: they are also considered the psychologically most astute and politically most charged of his works, having been written during insecure times: the French Revolution was about to begin, or in full swing already.

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Opera 2016

posted in: Opera

( 5 Nov 2015 ) The 2016 opera programme includes three new productions, two revivals, one re-staging, one revival from the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and three operas performed in concert. The 2016 Festival opens with a world premiere by the British composer Thomas Adès. The Exterminating Angel is the title of an opera in two acts which will also be shown in London, Copenhagen and in New York in 2018, after its Salzburg premiere.

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Motive Don Giovanni, © Robert Mertens


Haus für Mozart



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