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Don Giovanni

Act I

Seville, eighteenth century. At night, outside the Commendatore's palace, Leporello grumbles about his duties as servant to Don Giovanni, a dissolute nobleman. Soon the masked Don appears, pursued by Donna Anna, the Commendatore's daughter, whom he has tried to seduce. When the Commendatore himself answers Anna's cries he is killed in a duel by Giovanni, who escapes. Anna now returns with her fiancé, Don Ottavio. Finding her father dead, she makes Ottavio swear vengeance on the unknown assassin.

At dawn, Giovanni flirts with a high-strung traveler outside a tavern. She turns out to be Donna Elvira, a woman he once seduced with a promise of marriage in Burgos. Donna Elvira chastises her lover for his faithlessness. Giovanni makes his escape and Leporello distracts Elvira by reciting his master's long catalog of conquests. Elvira vows to have her revenge.

Peasants arrive, celebrating the nuptials of their friends Zerlina and Masetto; when Giovanni joins in, he pursues the bride, angering the groom, who is removed by Leporello. Alone with Zerlina, the Don applies his charm, but Elvira interrupts and protectively whisks the girl away. Anna and Ottavio enter asking the Don to help them in their search for her father’s killer. Elvira warns the pair not to trust anything the Don says. Declaring Elvira mad, he leads her off. Anna, having recognized his voice, realizes Giovanni was her attacker. Ottavio declares he won’t rest until justice is served.

Dressing for the wedding feast he has planned for the peasants, Giovanni exuberantly downs champagne. Outside the palace, Zerlina begs Masetto to forgive her flirtation with the Don. Masetto hides when the Don appears, emerging from the shadows as Giovanni corners Zerlina. The three enter the palace together. Elvira, Anna and Ottavio arrive in dominoes and masks and are invited to the feast by Leporello.

During the festivities, Leporello entices Masetto into the dance as Giovanni draws Zerlina out of the room. When the girl's cries for help put him on the spot, Giovanni tries to blame Leporello. But no one is convinced; Elvira, Anna and Ottavio unmask and confront Giovanni, who barely escapes Ottavio's drawn sword.

Act II

Leporello Threatens to quit, so Giovanni bribes him to stay but refused to give up womanizing. Under Elvira's balcony, Leporello exchanges cloaks with Giovanni to woo the lady in his master's stead. Leporello leads Elvira off, leaving the Don free to serenade Elvira's maid. Masetto passes with a band of armed peasants bent on punishing Giovanni, the disguised Don gives them false directions, and then beats Masetto. Zerlina arrives and tenderly consoles her betrothed.

In a passageway, Elvira and Leporello are surprised by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto, who, mistaking servant for master, threaten Leporello. Frightened, he unmasks and escapes. When Anna departs, Ottavio affirms his confidence in their love. Elvira, frustrated at her second betrayal by the Don, voices her rage.

Leporello catches up with his master in a cemetery, where a voice warns Giovanni of his doom. It is the statue of the Commendatore, which the Don proposes Leporello invite to dinner. When the servant reluctantly stammers an invitation, the statue accepts.

In her home, Anna, still in mourning, puts off Ottavio's offer of marriage until her father is avenged.

At the palace, Leporello is serving Giovanni's dinner when Elvira rushes in, begging the Don, whom she still loves, to reform. But he waves her out contemptuously. At the door, her screams announce the arrival of the Commendatore's statue. While Leporello cowers under the table, Giovanni admits the Stone Guest. Unafraid, Don Giovanni offers this supernatural statue his hand. The Guest holds Giovanni in his grip, warning him to repent or face eternal damnation. Giovanni boldly refuses. Flames engulf his house, and the sinner is dragged to hell.

Among the castle ruins, Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina, and Masetto are still searching for the Don. Leporello tells them of the strange events of the evening, confirmed by Elvira. They close with the refrain, "Death is the just reward for a misspent life."

-- Complied from Opera News and Dallas Opera

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