<< -- 2 -- Maria Nockin POWER AND EFFERVESCENCE
Actually, it is thought that Mozart's librettist, Lorenzo daPonte, used Giovanni Bertati's book for Giuseppe Gazzaniga's 1787 Venetian opera Don Giovanni o sia il convitato di pietra ('Don Giovanni or the Stone Guest') as an outline for his own libretto. Many of the scenes are the same, but the text and the music are totally different and on a much higher artistic level than the original.
Vytautas Juozapaitis (Don Giovanni) and Italian bass-baritone Stefano DePeppo (Leporello). Photo © 2006 Robin Grant
During January and February of 1787, Mozart and his wife visited Prague where the composer conducted Le nozze di Figaro ('The Marriage of Figaro') and some of his other works. Before they returned to Vienna, he secured a commission for a new opera on the theme of Don Juan. DaPonte, who had contributed to the success of Figaro, was then called in to work on the new project. One of the librettist's friends was the Venetian adventurer, Gian Giacomo Casanova, and we can imagine that he probably took an interest in his friend's work.
Hristo Sarafov as Masetto and Viara Zhelezova as Zerlina. Photo © 2006 Robin Grant
When rehearsals began in Prague, both composer and librettist moved there. They occupied apartments directly across a narrow street from each other and were able to converse from their windows. By 29 October, rehearsals were over and the première, held on that evening, was a monumental success. Mozart was the darling of the city and this was a truly good time in his short, often care-ravaged life.
Copyright © 26 November 2006
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA