Posted by: Frederick Cornwell Sanders | 2013/10/29

“October 29, 1787” by Rick Sanders

Mozart, about 1780. Detail of Mozart family po...

Mozart, about 1780. Detail of Mozart family portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italiano: Copertina libretto "Don Giovann...

Italiano: Copertina libretto “Don Giovanni” dramma giocoso in due atti di Lorenzo da Ponte musica di W.A.Mozart – editore Attilio Barion Sesto San Giovanni – Milano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is 1787. On this day, Mozart‘s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague to great success. From Wikipedia we read:

Don Giovanni (K. 527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga (now called the Estates Theatre) on October 29, 1787. Da Ponte’s libretto was billed, like many of its time, as dramma giocoso, a term that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.

A staple of the standard operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni is currently tenth on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide. It has also proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers.

The opera was first performed on 29 October 1787 in Prague under its full title of Il Dissoluto Punito ossia il Don GiovanniDramma giocoso in due atti (The Rake punished, or Don Giovanni, a dramma giocoso in two acts). The work was rapturously received, as was often true of Mozart’s work in Prague; see Mozart and Prague. The Prager Oberamtszeitung reported, “Connoisseurs and musicians say that Prague has never heard the like,” and “the opera … is extremely difficult to perform.” Provincialnachrichten of Vienna reported, “Herr Mozart conducted in person and was welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering.”

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