Don Giovanni  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Don Giovanni (K.527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally "The Rake Punish'd, or Don Giovanni") is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. It was premiered in the Estates Theatre in Prague on October 29, 1787.

Of the many operas based on the legend of Don Juan, Don Giovanni is thought to be beyond comparison. Da Ponte's libretto was billed like many of its time as dramma giocoso: "giocoso" meaning comic, and "dramma" signifying an operatic text (an abbreviation of "dramma per musica"). Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an "opera buffa". Although often classified as comic, it's a unique blend of comic (buffa) and drama (seria). Subtitled "drama giocoso," the opera blends comedy, melodrama, and supernatural elements.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote a long essay in his book Enten/Eller (Either/Or) in which he argues that Mozart's Don Giovanni is the most perfect opera ever produced. The finale, in which Don Giovanni refuses to repent, has been a captivating philosophical and artistic topic for many writers including George Bernard Shaw, who in Man and Superman, parodied the opera (with explicit mention of the Mozart score for the finale scene between the Commendatore and Don Giovanni).

A screen adaptation of the opera was made under the title Don Giovanni in 1979, and was directed by Joseph Losey. Some of the great Don Giovannis on the opera stage have been the basses Ezio Pinza, Cesare Siepi and Norman Treigle, and the baritones Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Thomas Hampson.

As a staple of the standard operatic repertoire, it appears as number seven on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Don Giovanni" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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