03 May 2017

Synopsis for Utah Opera’s production of Don Giovanni

Synopsis courtesy of Lyric Opera of Kansas City

setting: America, 1950s

Act I

At night, in the street outside the Commendatore’s house, Leporello bemoans his fate working for the dissolute Don Giovanni.  Suddenly Giovanni runs into the street pursued by Donna Anna, the Commendatore’s daughter, who accuses him of trying to attack her. The Commendatore rushes to his daughter’s aid and is killed by Don Giovanni.  Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her father’s death.

At a café the next morning, Giovanni and Leporello encounter one of Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna Elvira, who is still angry at Giovanni’s betrayal. Leporello tries to discourage her from pursuing Giovanni by showing her his catalogue with the name of every woman Giovanni has seduced.

Meanwhile, Masetto and Zerlina celebrate their upcoming wedding with friends.  Don Giovanni asks Leporello to get rid of the groom.  Alone with Zerlina, Giovanni persuades her to come away with him.

Before they can leave, Elvira interrupts them and leads Zerlina away.  Momentarily thwarted, Giovanni greets the mourning Anna and Ottavio, only to be embarrassed by the persistent Elvira, who denounces him as a seducer.  Trying to dismiss her as a madwoman, he ushers Elvira off.  Anna, in horror, recognizes him as her father’s murderer and calls on Ottavio to avenge her honor.

Later that afternoon, Giovanni looks forward to an evening of revelry he has arranged in Zerlina’s honor. Zerlina begs the furious Masetto to forgive her. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira arrive in disguise, swearing vengeance, and Giovanni tells Leporello to invite them in.

Inside Giovanni’s nightclub, Leporello distracts Masetto while Giovanni dances with Zerlina, trying to drag her into an adjoining room.  When Zerlina cries for help, Anna, Elvira, and Ottavio unmask and confront Giovanni, who escapes.

Act II

Under Elvira’s balcony, Leporello exchanges clothes with Giovanni to woo the lady in his master’s stead.  Leporello and Elvira go off, leaving Giovanni free to serenade Elvira’s maid.

When Masetto arrives with his friends to punish Giovanni, the disguised Don tricks Masetto and assaults him.  Zerlina tenderly consoles him.

Elvira follows the disguised Leporello into a dimly lit courtyard.  Leporello tries to escape, but is discovered by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto.  Mistaking servant for master, they join in denouncing the supposed Don.  Frightened, Leporello reveals his identity and manages to escape.  Ottavio asks Zerlina and Masetto to comfort the distraught Anna and go to the authorities for help.  Left alone, Elvira thinks about her love for Giovanni in spite of everything.

Leporello finds Giovanni in a cemetery, where a statue of the slain Commendatore warns Giovanni of his doom. The Don forces the terrified Leporello to invite the statue to dinner.

Ottavio urges Anna to stop grieving and accept his love.  She implores him to wait until her father is avenged.

Late that night in the empty club, Giovanni orders Leporello to serve supper.  Elvira arrives and attempts to persuade Giovanni to reform his ways, but he sends her away.

In a final confrontation with the Commendatore, Giovanni is finally forced to pay for his crimes.