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Synopsis Don Giovanni

Synopsis Don Giovanni

ACT I

 

SCENE ONE

A garden by night.
Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant, is waiting for his master, who has entered the house of the Commendatore with intent to seduce that gentleman’s daughter, Donna Anna. Don Giovanni emerges, pursued by the young lady. Donna Anna, who is betrothed to Don Ottavio, has managed to beat off her assailant and now attempts to discover his identity. Alerted by his daughter’s cries, the Commendatore hurries to the scene, but is mortally wounded by Don Giovanni. Leporello and his master escape. When Donna Anna, who has gone to seek help, returns accompanied by her betrothed and several servants, she finds only the dead body of her father. Donna Anna enjoins Don Ottavio to swear vengeance on her father’s murderer.

 

SCENE TWO

A street by night.
Don Giovanni and Leporello, in search of fresh adventures, come across Donna Elvira, who was seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni and has been looking for him to get her revenge. As soon as the rake recognizes Elvira as one of his previous amours, he goes off, leaving Leporello to explain to the lady the reason for his deserting her so suddenly. The servant then rattles off a long list of his master’s conquests. Exit Donna Elvira, determined to punish her treacherous lover. Zerlina and Masetto, with a group of peasants, are celebrating their approaching marriage. Don Giovanni enters with Leporello and pays court to the bride. He invites the whole wedding party to his country house, and undertakes personally to escort Zerlina there. Masetto is led away on a pretext by Leporello, but has clearly grasped the situation and is anxious to put matters straight with Zerlina. Left alone with the girl, Don Giovanni attempts to seduce her with gallant promises. But the unexpected arrival of Donna Elvira, who denounces her betrayer and takes Zerlina away, prevents him from implementing his designs. Meanwhile Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive. Not recognizing Don Giovanni as the Commendatore’s assassin, they seek his assistance in punishing the culprit. When Donna Elvira reappears and reports her unfaithful lover’s misdeeds, Don Giovanni slips away. But Donna Anna has recognized his voice as that of her seducer and of the man who killed her father. She urges Don Ottavio to avenge the outrage without hesitation. Don Ottavio in his turn vows to himself to carry out the wishes of his beloved. In the meantime Don Giovanni directs preparations for the festivities, during which he hopes to seduce the attractive young Zerlina.

 

SCENE THREE

A garden with two gates locked on the outside. Two alcoves.

Masetto rebukes Zerlina for her unfaithfulness, but his bride soothingly reassures him that her virtue has not been offended by the amorous nobleman.
Masetto however, when Don Giovanni arrives, hides in an alcove and spies on his advances to Zerlina. But the libertine, having noticed the bridegroom’s presence, promptly invites him and Zerlina to the ball. Three masked figures – Don Ottavio, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira – now enter in search of Don Giovanni, who does not recognize them and invites them too to the party.

 

SCENE FOUR

A brightly lit hall prepared for a lavish ball.

During the festivities Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Zerlina, but his plan is thwarted by the arrival of Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira. After trying in vain to put the blame on Leporello, and threatening everyone insight, Don Giovanni vanishes.

 

ACT II

 

SCENE ONE

A street.

Leporello has made up his mind to leave his master’s service, but Don Giovanni convinces him to stay on, and even to exchange costumes so that he can seduce Donna Elvira’s maid. When Elvira appears at the window, Don Giovanni, concealed behind Leporello, declares his repentance to her. Trusting his words, Elvira goes off with the servant whom she has mistaken for her former admirer. Don Giovanni is now left free to serenade Donna Elvira’s maid, but the sudden entry of Masetto, accompanied by armed peasants who are determined to kill the seducer, forces him to give up this conquest too. Believing Don Giovanni to be Leporello because of his clothes, Masetto asks him for news of his master. But the nobleman, taking advantage of his disguise, manages to get rid of the peasants and is left alone with Masetto, to whom he delivers a thrashing. Zerlina comes to the aid of her betrothed and reproaches him for his jealousy but lovingly tends his bruises.

 

SCENE TWO

A darkened room in Donna Anna’s house.

Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto have discovered Leporello’s disguise and the trick played on Donna Elvira. The servant barely escapes just punishment. Don Ottavio, sure by now of Don Giovanni’s guilt, decides to enlist the authorities to avenge the crimes committed by the villain, while Donna Elvira cannot conceal her pity for the miscreant.

 

SCENE THREE

A graveyard with several equestrian statues and one of the Commendatore.

Don Giovanni meets Leporello and tells him of yet another disreputable thing he has done. In reply to obscure threats uttered by the statue of the Commendatore, who is buried there, the rake invites him to supper at his palace.
 

SCENE FOUR

A gloomy room.

Don Ottavio, confirming to Donna Anna that Don Giovanni is soon to be punished by law, asks her if she feels she can now accept his proposal of marriage. But she is still shaken and begs him to be patient a little longer, though she again reassures him of her love.

 

SCENE FIVE

A dining room and table laid for a feast.

While Don Giovanni cheerfully dines, despite the appearance of Donna Elvira, who has come to get him to repent his sins, the statue of the Commendatore appears at the door. Leporello takes shelter under the table, while Don Giovanni confronts the grim apparition. After refusing the statue’s exhortations to repent, he is dragged down to Hell. To the assembled company, who have come to arrest Don Giovanni, Leporello recounts his master’s death. A final ensemble rejoices in serenity regained.