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On this week's opera house I'm pleased to present the "other" version of the Don Juan legend: Giuseppe Gazzaniga's Don Giovanni, which had its premiere in Venice eight months before Mozart's Don Giovanni premiered in Prague. A one-act drama giocoso, its libretto by Giovanni Bertati formed the basis of Lorenzo Da Ponte's book for Mozart. The material and the character of Don Juan originated in Spain, and the first literary formulation is Tirso de Molina's 1630 play El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra (The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest).
With his manservant Pasquariello (bass Jean-Luc Chaignaud) keeping watch outside, Don Giovanni (tenor John Aler) attempts to seduce Donna Anna (soprano Eva Steinsky). Anna's father, the Commendatore (bass Günter von Kannen), challenges Giovanni to a duel and is killed. Ottavio (tenor Robert Swensen), Anna's fiancé, swears vengeance. Meanwhile Giovanni encounters his old lover, Donna Elvira (soprano Pamela Coburn). As Giovanni woos Donna Ximena (soprano Margit Kinzel), Pasquariello gives Elvira a detailed account all his master's amorous conquests.
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Maturina (soprano Julie Kaufmann) and Biagio (bass Anton Scharinger), accompanied by a party of peasants, arrive. They are about to be married, but Giovanni chases off a furious Biagio and attempts (unsuccessfully) to seduce Maturina. Giovanni and Pasquariello follow Ottavio when he visits the Commendatore's tomb. Pasquariello is terrfied when he hears the statue accept an invitation to dinner. Later that evening at Giovanni's house, Elvira pleads with the Don to mend his ways. She leaves when he refuses. Giovanni and Pasquariello enjoy their dinner and sing the praises of food, wine, and Venetian women. The statue suddenly arrives and drags Giovanni to his death. Ottavio and the women enter. Pasquariello and Lanterna (tenor Anton Rosner) describe Giovanni's fate to them. The opera ends as all rejoice at his downfall.
Stefan Soltesz conducts the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Chorus in this 1990 Orfeo recording.
From Act I, Scene 1 we'll hear Laerte Malagutti (Pasquariello), Fernando Jacopucci (Don Giovanni), Maria Luisa Giorgetti (Donna Anna), and Alfonso Nanni (Commendatore) in " La gran bestia e il mio padrone":
To offer a comparison with the Gazzaniga version, we'll hear highlights from a 1969 recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni featuring Gabriel Bacquier (Don Giovanni), Donald Gramm (Leporello), Joan Sutherland (Donna Anna), Werner Krenn (Don Ottavio), Pilar Lorengar (Donna Elvira), Marilyn Horne (Zerlina), Leonardo Monreale (Masetto), and Clifford Grant (Commendatore). Richard Bonynge conducts.
Please join me next Thursday, June 4th, for a 1962 Metropolitan Opera performance of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera starring Carlo Bergonzi (Riccardo), Leonie Rysanek (Amelia), Robert Merrill (Renato), Jean Madeira (Ulrica), Anneliese Rothenberger (Oscar), Bonaldo Giaiotti (Samuel), and Luben Vichey (Tom). Nello Santi conducts.
The WCPE Opera House is heard every Thursday evening at 7 o’clock in the Eastern time zone on 89.7 FM in central North Carolina, and we’re streamed online at http://www.theclassicalstation.org.
— W. Robert Chapman, Host of the WCPE Opera House
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The Metropolitan Opera Announces the 2014-15 Season
The Met’s 2014-15 Season Will Feature 26 Operas, Including Three Met Premieres, In Six New Productions and 18 Revivals!
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