The 225th anniversary of Mozart's "Don Giovanni"
October 29, 2012 5:08 AM Subscribe
posted by Egg Shen (20 comments total)
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225 years ago today, in the Teatro di Praga
, there premiered a new opera - conducted by the 31 year old composer, who was in demand after his success in Vienna the year before. Although he had completed the overture
less than 24 hours earlier, the opera was an instant smash - with the composer being "welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering". In the years to come, Kierkegaard would agree with the French composer Charles Gounod that the opera was "a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection". Flaubert would call it one of "the three finest things God made". Today, it is the 10th most performed opera in the world. It is Mozart's Don Giovanni (spoiler)
You probably know what happened to Mozart after that. But librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, having lost his patron in 1792 after the death of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, moved to London where he was involved in various theatrical and publishing activities. After declaring bankruptcy in 1805, he moved to the United States where he ran a grocery store, gave Italian lessons, and opened a bookstore. Through a friend, he received an appointment as the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia College. In 1833, at the age of 84, having become a naturalized citizen a few years earlier, he founded the first opera house in the United States. He received an enormous funeral in St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1838.
Cecilia Bartoli performs Donna Elvira's "Ah, chi mi dice mai".