Discover Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni  is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

First performed in 1787, Don Giovanni is Mozart’s exhilarating retelling of the Don Juan legend, filled with some of his most famous and much-loved music. Combining comedy and tragedy, the opera follows the notorious womaniser as he lusts his way towards his dramatic downfall.


Act I

Leporello keeps watch while Don Giovanni seduces Donna Anna. Her father, the Commendatore, overhears some commotion and, believing his daughter to be in distress, challenges Giovanni to fight. In the scuffle that follows, Giovanni kills him. Anna flees the scene and shortly after returns with her fiancé Don Ottavio. She makes Ottavio swear to avenge her father’s death.

Giovanni and Leporello come across a distressed woman and her young maid. She turns out to be Donna Elvira, who has come from a nearby town determined to find Giovanni. He had married her there, but then abandoned her. Giovanni escapes from Elvira, leaving Leporello to recount to her Giovanni’s extraordinary catalogue of sexual conquests.

At Zerlina and Masetto’s wedding, Giovanni is about to make off with the bride, when Elvira intercepts him. Ottavio appears with Anna; he seeks his friend Giovanni’s help in searching for the Commendatore’s murderer. Elvira denounces Giovanni, which arouses Ottavio’s suspicions. As Giovanni leaves, Anna tells Ottavio that she has recognised him as the Commendatore’s murderer.

Giovanni orders Leporello to lay on a party.

Zerlina attempts to calm Masetto, whose jealousy has been aroused. Giovanni arrives and whips up the party, which is joined by Zerlina and Masetto. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira appear; they are wearing masks to disguise their identities. Leporello invites them to join in the dancing. Giovanni manoeuvres Zerlina away. When Zerlina cries out for help, Giovanni puts the blame on Leporello and threatens to kill him. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira unmask and denounce Giovanni for his crimes.

Act II

Giovanni forces Leporello to exchange identities with him, leading Elvira to believe that Leporello is in fact her lost husband. As they leave, Giovanni sings a serenade to Elvira’s maid.

Masetto is looking for Giovanni, who, still disguised as Leporello, beats him up. Zerlina attempts to soothe Masetto’s pain with the promise of sex.

In the darkness, Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto discover Leporello, whom they believe to be Giovanni. Elvira pleads for mercy to be shown but the others are determined to kill him. They then discover that it is, in fact, Leporello and not Giovanni.

As Leporello escapes, Ottavio attempts to prove to Anna that he can take control of the situation. Elvira is caught between rage, pity and revenge on Giovanni.

Giovanni and Leporello find one another again, and Giovanni tells him about his adventures. A voice threatens to silence their laughter. Giovanni points out a statue of the Commendatore, and orders Leporello to invite the statue to dinner. The statue accepts.

Leporello serves Giovanni his supper. Elvira makes a final attempt to win back Giovanni. A knocking is heard and Leporello is terrified by the statue’s approach. The Commendatore enters. He gives Giovanni an ultimatum to repent or suffer the flames of Hell. Giovanni resists him.

Ottavio, Anna, Elvira, Zerlina and Masetto arrive to take their collective revenge on Giovanni. Leporello gives them his terrified version of what has just occurred, and joins them in proclaiming the death Don Giovanni.

Frequently asked questions about Don Giovanni

An ENO performance on Don Giovanni will last approximately 3 hours 30 minutes, including one interval. 

Although Don Giovanni is a celebrated masterpiece and one of the most popular operas of the dramma giocoso genre, it may not be the best choice for beginners due to its length and intricate themes. The opera is more suited to those who are experienced with the art form, and who enjoy complex storylines and several longer acts. 

If you are a beginner looking to try opera for the first time, we’d recommend more light-hearted pieces, such as Iolanthe or The Barber of Seville. 

Don Giovanni is a dramatic opera which tells the story of the legendary libertine and seducer of the same name. The opera explores love, morality, and the consequences of people’s actions, and revolves around Don Giovanni’s amorous escapades. His actions lead to a series of encounters and conflicts with a selection of characters, including Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Zerlina. There is an equal amount of charm and audacity shown by the title character throughout the performance, leading to him eventually suffering from the consequences of his behaviour. The opera serves as a cautionary tale about the moral and ethical implications of one’s actions. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote most of Don Giovanni in the summer of 1787, while he was in Vienna. He then completed the opera in Prague in early October of the same year. 

Don Giovanni is set in a variety of locations in and around Seville, Spain. The scenes take place in a mix of urban and rural settings, including the palace of the Commendatore, a garden and a graveyard, among others. 

The first performance of Don Giovanni took place at the original National Theatre in Prague on October 29th, 1787.