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Opera Abbreviated: Don Giovanni

Original playbill for the Vienna premiere of 'Don Giovanni.'

The Metropolitan Opera presents Mozart's Don Giovanni, live in HD in movie theaters worldwide on Saturday, October 22nd at 1:00 PM. 

Heres' my take on what is my favorite opera, the first I ever loved:

Don Giovanni is Mozart's take on he legend of Don Juan. The Italian language libretto was written by a recent collaborator, the poet-priest -rogue and petty thief Lorenzo da Ponte, with whom the composer had worked on Le nozze di Figaro. 

Credit Wikipedia
Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838) Mozart's librettist and a Don Juan, himself.

If Lorenzo da Ponte hadn't actually existed  he would be impossible to invent. He was a Jew who became a Catholic priest, a serial adulterer, a superb literary scholar, a poet, and reprobate and died in New York at the age of ninety, running a green grocery while teaching Italian literature at Columbia University.

Mozart was no shrinking violet himself. but despite the harried love life and his habit of writing scatological letters to friends and to his own mother, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a composer of enormous heart. Only a Mozart could balance Don Juan's rapacious appetites against the love he had for the Don's victims, be they nobility or peasant girls.

Don Giovanni has a lot of comic elements, and its been said that he title character has the least effective music. Mozart may have envied Don Juan's confidence, but he gave his heart to Donna Anna, Zerlina and Donna Elvira.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.
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