Fragments from the opera “Don Giovanni” by Mozart on the composer's birthday

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart defined the genre of his “Don Giovanni” as dramma giocoso, i.e. "merry drama". Unless one considers this phrase as a specific genre, it is an oxymoron. Indeed, Don Giovanni contains more riddles and contradictions than any other opera. It mixes play-acting and reality, masks and faces, sensuality and cold moralising. It is not clear where one ends and the other begins.

The premiere of “Don Giovanni” took place on October 29, 1787 at the Estates Theatre (Czech: Stavovské divadlo) in Prague. At first it had been scheduled for October 14, but the singers had half-learned the roles, besides Mozart himself was completing the last pages of the score just before the premiere, so the musicians received the notes just before they went on stage. The people of Prague greeted Mozart's new work with enthusiastically.

The premiere in Vienna took place on May 7, 1788. Two arias and one duet were composed for the Vienna performance; the final ensemble was not performed, and the opera ended with the death of Don Giovanni. This production received cool welcome. Emperor Joseph II remarked that 'Don Giovanni” was a tough nut to crack" for his Viennese. He could hardly have guessed at the time that attempts to unravel Don Giovanni would be endless. Today, two and a half centuries after its premiere, Mozart's “Don Giovanni” remains an unsolved operatic mystery.

W.A. Mozart wrote his most famous operas at a time when the composer's ability to fill music with his feelings was at its peak, and in “Don Giovanni” this art reached its culmination.
Embodying the characteristic features of the Viennese classical school, Mozart summarised the experience of Italian, French and German cultures, folk and professional theatres and various opera genres. The individual character of Mozart's works is made up of many intonations and development techniques typical of that era, uniquely combined and heard by the great composer.
The versatility of Mozart's music made it an ideal of art for Pushkin and Glinka, Chopin and Tchaikovsky, Bizet and Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Today, on the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- one of the most popular classical composers who had a huge influence on world musical culture – we present a story of the opera “Don Giovanni” creation, the greatest opera ever written.

*"Don Giovanni" is an opera-buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 2 acts, 10 pictures, to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte based on the play by Antonio de Zamora. An undocumented legend exists that while working on the opera Mozart and da Ponte met Casanova in Prague and the latter was their consultant