Don Giovanni

This opera, one of the most frequently performed of all time and considered Mozart’s greatest operatic masterpiece, was also adapted for the big screen. The character of Giovanni, the man who refuses to repent, has fascinated writers since the story’s origins in 17th century Spanish literature, and has been made popular by playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw, and by other earlier Italian composers whose versions predated Mozart’s 1787 premiere. Casanova-like nobleman Don Giovanni (Don Juan), who needs women’s love as much as he needs to breathe, goes over the top of his list of 1,003 sexual conquests when he tries to seduce a Commander’s daughter. Giovanni murders the Commander (Commendatore), whose statue later comes to life and exacts revenge by accepting Giovanni’s dinner invitation and dragging Giovanni off to hell when he refuses to atone for his innumerable sins. In his story, Mozart combines comedic, melodramatic and supernatural elements, as well as special effects: a ballroom scene in which three separate stage bands play different dance music simultaneously in varied meters; a scene in which Giovanni’s mandolin playing is actually a string accompaniment from the pit; and a disembodied voice emitting from the walking statue of a deceased person. These kinds of FX   never grow old. Move over, Twilight!

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