Don Giovanni, K. 527; Act 2, Commendatore Scene (1787) – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni is an Opera in 2 acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 1787 when it was written Mozart was deeply worried for his fatally ill father. At about the same time a 16 year old Ludwig van Beethoven came to Vienna and wanted to take lessons from Haydn and Mozart. This would not eventuate as Beethoven’s mother fatally fell ill and he had to return to Bonn.

Mozart was in dire need of money once again. Mozart and his family had always struggled to make ends meet. Musicians were not held in very high social esteem under Emperor Joseph II and hardly made ‘royal’ earnings. Times of overabundance and poverty both featured throughout Mozart’s entire life. ‘When money was there, he spent it liberally’ – the Mozart.com web site states.

Don Giovanni is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer, written by Tirso de Molina. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater (of Bohemia) in 1787, now called the Estates Theatre.
Wikipedia describes the opera, ‘as one of Mozart’s supreme achievements and one of the greatest operas of all time‘.

The final scene of the Opera below delivers the moral of the opera – “Such is the end of the evildoer: the death of a sinner always reflects his life“. In this scene excerpt from Amadeus, Salieri describes how he had seen all 5 of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” performances in Vienna and then begins to realise his own work will never equal Mozart’s. He recognises the dead commander as symbolic of Mozart’s late father. Salieri hatches a plan to triumph over God. To me it is one of the most powerful operatic scenes I’ve ever seen, but it took me years to appreciate it for what it is.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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