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Seville Operas - Don Juan/Giovanni - Mozart

Don Juan/Giovanni - Mozart

This opera is based on the legend of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian Opera at the National Theatre (of Bohemia), now called the Estates Theatre, in 1787.

Although sometimes classified as comic, the work blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements. It is one of several Mozart operas set in Seville, the others being The Barber of Seville.

The genre of 18th-century Don Giovanni opera originated in Prague - in total, there are over 50 operas based on this figure. Don Juan/Giovanni is one of the most-performed operas in the world.

As the opera opens, Don Giovanni is trying to seduce the Commendatore's daughter, Donna Ana. The Commendatore challenges Don Juan to a duel, and is killed. Donna Anna and her fiance, Don Ottavio, swear to revenge his death.

Don Giovanni is reproached by Donna Elvira, one of his spurned lovers. Then the lothario tries to seduce Zerlina at her own wedding. He is challenged by Zerlina's bridegroom, Masetto, as well as Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, and Donna Elvira. Next he convinces Donna Elvira herself of his repentance. Then Masetta arrives in search of Don Giovanni, who beats him up.

DG invites a statue to dinner at his house, which is in fact a ghost: it demands that he repent. When he refuses, our protagonist is taken down to hell. The five characters arrive, and each reveals their plan for the future. The moral of the opera is in the final aria: "Such is the end of the evildoer: the death of a sinner always reflects his life".

Mozart collaborated on the opera with librettist Da Ponte; the pair also worked together on The Marriage of Figaro (link).

Seville locations

You can follow a route called the Legend of Don Juan, which takes you to various locations from (somewhat confusingly) Don Juan Tenorio, the 19th-century Spanish play by Zorrilla with similar characters to the opera. The locations visited include Don Juan Tenorio's house, which now houses a budget hotel named after the hero, and a restaurant; the home of Doña Ana de Pantoja (Don Juan's betrothed in Zorrilla's version); and the tomb of the Tenorio family, located in what is today the archway of the Ayuntamiento (City Hall). The route is 3km and takes around 1.5 hours

In addition Plaza Doña Elvira in barrio Santa Cruz is where the house of Doña Elvira's father, Don Gonzalo de Ulloa, is located; it is now the Hotel Elvira Plaza.

There is a statue honouring the character of Don Juan in the Plaza de Refinadores in Santa Cruz.