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Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

   In Spain, there has always been a legend of a dissolute prodigal who spends his days seducing women and fighting their protectors for fun. Later, in a cemetery, he came across a statue of the deceased, the father of a girl whom he had seduced. The prodigal son invited him to lunch. The statue happily accepts. Then the ghost of the deceased came to his home to dine with him and invited him back to his cemetery for lunch. The libertine also accepts. At the grave of the deceased, when the statue saw him, he asked to shake his hand, and when the prodigal son stretched out his hand, the statue held him tightly and dragged him into a hell. The legendary prodigal named Don Juan.

  The legend of Don Juan was first written by the Spanish dramatist and Roman Catholic monk Tilso de Molina in his "The Mocker and Stoner of Seville" around 1630. As a result, Don Juan became a worldwide literary image comparable to Don Quixote, Hamlet, and Faust. He then became a villain in comedies, novels, and poetry. It was brought to France by Italian wanderers in the 17th century in the form of pantomime, which led Molière to write Don Juan, or the Stone Banquet, performed in 1665. Since then, over the centuries, many versions of this legend have been produced, although Don Juan's name has sometimes changed slightly. According to relevant statistics, there were 20 works describing Don Juan in the 19th century, and even as many as 50 or 60 in the 20th century. New works were published almost every one or two years. In some years, two books were published a year. Notable among these editions are the English poet George Byron's long poem "Don Juan" (1821), the French novelist Alexandre Dumas' "Don Juan of Marana" (1836), the Spanish poet Espronce Da Delgado's novel "Students of Salamanca" (1840), another Spanish poet Sorrilla-Moral's "Don Juan Seducing Women" (1844), Prospera Merimi's The novel Soul in Purgatory (1834) was also written on this subject. The most well-known is Wolfgang Mozart's "Don Giovanni", and the legend of Don Juan is also enduring with this opera.

  On February 7, 1786, Joseph II and his sister Maria Christina, Maria's husband Albert, and the high-ranking nobles of Vienna, had lunch at the "Schönbrunn Palace", the court band played Sa Accompanied by music from Rielli's opera Trophonio. After the meal, the emperor asked Mozart to write an opera for his Italian and German singers, especially for his German actors.

  As usual, Mozart discussed with the Italian Venetian poet da Ponte what subject to choose for such an opera.

  In those years, Don Juan's story was a popular opera subject. The German composer Christopher Gluck staged the opera "Don Juan" in 1761, and Mozart also knew about the performance. During the 12 years from 1776 to 1787, the composers composed a total of 7 operas featuring Don Juan. Lastly, the 1787 Vienna 1787 Playboy Don Giovanni, or Stoner, composed for the Italian composer Giovanni Gazzaniga, with a script written by Giovanni Bertati. According to da Ponte, he recommended Bertati's play to Mozart. There are also materials that Mozart first handed the script to Da Ponte and asked him to write the opera script. Based on Bertati's script, da Ponte wrote a new script in Italian verse over a period of six weeks, starting in the early months of 1787. Mozart did not see the ending of the story, but firmly believed that the subject matter was the most suitable for an opera. German-American music critic Alfred Einstein has done a comparative study of Bertati's and Da Ponte's two books, and believes that Da Ponte's book has a more concise language and is also witty and interesting. The original 10 have been reduced to 8, and the character is also more clearly portrayed; therefore, it is more suitable as an opera script.

  When Mozart was working nervously, he received the news of his father's death on May 28. Although he endured and continued to create, this heavy blow, coupled with the fatigue accumulated from long-term work, made his thin body finally collapse. After coming down, he developed a high fever and had to stay in bed. After almost a month of treatment by the doctor, he was able to gradually recover and continue to create. But after such a delay, time was tight enough, and Bragg wrote again, saying that "Don Giovanni" was planned to be staged in October. Both Mozart and da Ponte were brought to work in Prague in order to speed up the creation. They live in two hotels opposite each other. Since the street in the middle is very narrow, they can see each other from their balconies. Therefore, from their own balconies, they can both learn from each other on creative issues. Underneath, it will also be red-faced. But often Da Ponte shouted: "Don't be noisy, don't go downstairs and have a few drinks; God bless, we will create a world-famous "Don Juan", if you don't believe it, wait and see!" , people will see two friends hooked shoulders, both humming a ditty into the cafe.

  Finally, on October 28, 1787, Mozart completed the composition of the score for the two-act opera Don Giovanni. Others say it was completed two nights before the general rehearsal, "with his mulled wine and his wife telling fairy tales"; some even say it was completed a minute before the premiere on October 29.

  The venue for the premiere of "Don Giovanni" was chosen at the "National Theater" in Prague. This is a theater built by the Duke of Franz Anton Nostis and just opened to the public for the first time in 1783, so it is also called "Nostis Theater", it has about 800 seats, plus 17 main halls back seat. Audiences in Prague were unsurprisingly interested in Mozart's opera, since his "The Marriage of Figaro" premiered in the city just a year ago. Audiences love his work. Now their urgency is on their faces, eager to watch his new drama.

  The story of Don Giovanni is roughly as follows:

  Don Juan, a nobleman in the city of Seville, was a womanizer. On this day, he infiltrated the mansion of the Governor, Don Pietro, in an attempt to molest his daughter, Donna Ana. Anna called for help, and the Governor came to fight with Don Juan. Don Juan's swordsmanship was exquisite, and after stabbing Don Pietro to death, he fled. Later, Don Juan managed to seduce Zelena, the farm bride. Fortunately, Don Juan's abandoned wives, Donna Elvira and Ana, arrive just in time to expose his despicable tricks and prevent him from succeeding. Later, when Don Juan wandered around the cemetery, he saw a statue of the Governor, and he cynically invited the statue to have dinner with him, and the statue nodded in agreement. This led to the final outcome: at night, when Don Juan was indifferent to Elvira's rebuke, suddenly, with a gust of gloomy wind, the statue of the Governor appeared, the ground suddenly cracked, flames erupted, and Don Juan fell into hell. middle.

  The music historian Paul Henry Lang explained the story this way:

  "A roaring love flowed through this opera. Its protagonist, the King of Love, roamed the tumult of existence and was tragically destroyed. For his flame of passion transcends the limits of life and challenges the ruling power on the other side. The protagonist of the play combines the passion and evil of love, and he dominates the whole work; Tevio (Anna's fiancé), to Zelena, the scheming and flirtatious, are all caught up in the web of love. They have very different personalities, and therefore their love tendencies are also very different, but the atmosphere of love pervades the whole show. In the play, it permeates everything. . . The magic of love radiates from all directions and completely captures the audience - the measure by which audiences usually measure human relations, along with all their hesitation in viewing the evil but great protagonist. Disappeared. . . . Don Juan did not recognize the limitations of human nature, and thus conflicted with the order of things, and could only perish in the end. Mozart realized the hidden secrets of Don Juan's character at the lowest level, and he showed it very faithfully in his music."

  What kind of work is this? Some saw it as a comedy, while others insisted it was a tragedy, which has been hotly debated. It seems that it is impossible to generalize whether it is pure comedy or pure tragedy. The works of the genius Mo Zhazhi are always unconventional and cannot be named in a fixed pattern. The authoritative "Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment" makes a very pertinent statement:
  "Don Giovanni (Don Juan) is portrayed in this opera as a serious character. He is a master of seduction. A self-proclaimed love of 'all' Woman, has no remorse for his actions. He is by no means a comical or objectionable figure. Rather, he is a daring rebel, even falling (in the form of a figurine -sic) vengeful specter He had no regrets when his hand was about to die. He was an early example of the romantic hero of the 19th century. Mozart's music underscored Don Giovanni's diabolical character. The burlesque way of unfolding the plot structure. However, the ending of the play is very different from the burlesque approach, not the kind of happy ending. The death of the daring Don Giovanni frees the other characters, but such an ending loses The hero of the play, who is both evil and beloved."
  premiered Monday, October 29, 1787. The weather was overcast and cloudy. The show was at 7pm, but there were long queues on the street, the ticket gates were closed at 6:30, no more tickets could be bought, even those who already had tickets swarmed up and squeezed in. Theater, grab your spot.
  Playing Don Juan, or Don Giovanni, is the Italian baritone Luigi Brazil.
  Last year, when Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" premiered in Prague, Luigi Brazil was well-received by audiences when he was only 21 years old when he played the aristocratic Count AlemaVeva. After reading it, the writer Stendhal not only appreciated it, but also commented on his overall performance quality: "...Brazil is still a very skilled actor. He plays tragedies without feeling absurd, and plays comedies without being slick." Audiences in Prague were so fond of Luigi Brazil that they didn't even call him by his first name, calling him "Mozart". The music in the corner of Don Juan this time was specially tailored for him by Mozart.
  Playing Donna Ana is Italian soprano Teresa Zaporiti.
  Born in Milan, Teresa Zaporiti performed Italian opera in Leipzig with her sister Antonia at the age of 19. Antonia unfortunately died 5 years later, and Teresa has been performing in Leipzig, Dresden, Prague, etc. This time, playing Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" is Teresa's most famous performance, and she is considered to be the Donna Anna most remembered by audiences. Other actors, such as Phyllis Ponchiani who played Don Juan's servant, Giuseppe Rowley who played the Doge, and Caterina Messiri who played Donna Elvira, were also better. play.
  Mozart was full of confidence in "Don Giovanni", and in the premiere, as he said, he was satisfied to hear "the loudest applause" from the audience.
  In the comments, although some have different views on the opera's morality, for example, a critic in Berlin praised the music, but believes that from other aspects, the play is an "artificial deformity" that destroys reason, And indecent, trampling on virtue and emotion. But most critics don't see it that way. The great German poet Goethe tried his best to praise "Don Giovanni" and refuted some criticisms:
  "How can it be said that Mozart wrote "Don Juan"? It's like a grouping! This is the creation of the spirit, whether it is the parts or the whole, the creator does not arbitrarily piece together, but is completely in the grasp of his genius spirit, and executes everything it requires."
  Ten years Later, Goethe still remembered this great opera in a letter to his close friend Friedrich Schiller, saying that "the expectations you have placed on the opera must have been met to a high degree in "Don Juan" satisfaction".
  The Sunday Times chief music critic David Keynes made a conclusive review of Don Giovanni in his monograph "Mozart and his Operas": "What other opera has such The effect? ​​What other opera can create this ecstatic feeling in front of you, and be taken over by it after you hear a segment? ETA Hoffman calls it an 'opera' Rossini, when asked which opera he preferred, replied: 'Don Giovanni.'" Indeed, "even taking Mozart's own operas as a standard, Don Giovanni The score is also surprisingly rich."


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