The Stone Guest synopsis
Music by Alexander Dargomizhsky
Libretto by Alexander Pushkin
First performed: 1872
Don Juan and his manservant Leporello have secretly returned from exile, where Juan was sent for killing the Commander, Donna Anna’s husband. They find themselves near the place where Juan seduced Inez, a married woman who has subsequently died. A monk tells them that Donna Anna comes daily to pray at her husband’s tomb and, when he sees her arrive, Juan decides to make her the next of his conquests.
Laura, an actress, is surrounded by admirers, and obliges them with a song. Don Carlos becomes angry when he discovers that the words were written by Don Juan, the murderer of his brother. Laura refuses to hear anything against Juan ‘her true friend and false lover’, yet she makes Carlos stay when others leave and declares that for the moment she loves-him. Don Juan puts an end to their love-making, and kills Carlos. He then himself makes love to Laura.
Donna Anna has notice Don Juan, disguised as a monk, at prayer here every evening. Juan now approaches her and reveals he is in love with her, and begs to see her in private. At first shocked, she finally agrees to let him come to her house tomorrow. He pretends to her that his name is Don Diego. Elated, Juan jokes with Leporello about his success, and orders him to invite the Commander’s statue to come along as well. Leporello is terrified when the statue reacts, and Juan also is unprepared for the response of the dead man.
Juan learns that Anna did not love her husband, and that she was married by her mother to an old man for his money. Nevertheless, she still feels bound to be faithful to him. Juan at last admits who he is and that he killed her husband. She is overwhelmed but forgives him. She admits the truth to herself that’s he now loves the one man whom the laws of morality and society command her to hate. As she yields to Don Juan’s embrace, the statue of the commander appears to stop this union, unacceptable to God and convention.
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