Wolfgang A. Mozart • Don Giovanni

Dramma giocoso in two acts, K. 527
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte

With German and English surtitles

Duration of the opera approx. 3 hours and 30 minutes.


  • 27 July, 18:30


  • 30 July, 19:00
  • 03 August, 19:30
  • 06 August, 19:00
  • 12 August, 19:30
  • 15 August, 20:00
  • 18 August, 19:30

Print programme (PDF)


Christoph Eschenbach, Conductor
Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Director
Rolf Glittenberg, Sets
Marianne Glittenberg, Costumes
Friedrich Rom, Lighting
Ronny Dietrich, Dramaturgy
Walter Zeh, Chorus Master


Lenneke Ruiten, Donna Anna
Anett Fritsch, Donna Elvira
Valentina Nafornita, Zerlina
Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Don Giovanni
Luca Pisaroni, Leporello
Tomasz Konieczny, Il Commendatore
Andrew Staples, Don Ottavio
Alessio Arduini, Masetto
Members of the Angelika Prokopp Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic
Philharmonia Chor Wien
Vienna Philharmonic


Viva la libertà! – In our time, comparatively devoid of taboos and free of shame, where what was once urgently advocated enlightenment has been degraded to profitable obscenity, a theatrical character such as Don Giovanni is harder to understand and to stage than ever before.

It is his apparent proximity which leads to misunderstandings that are hard to unravel. Compared to the average porn-hardened twenty-first century libertine, Don Giovanni is a romantic hero of metaphysical proportions. Sören Kierkegaard regarded him as an elemental force, related to Eros or Dionysus, an ancient God who owes his reawakening to the church. If the church reinforced the notion of the spirit, it did the same to sensuality by excluding it. If pleasure already existed in vegetable or animal form, then Christianity and the formulation of its opposite redefined it.

To put it another way, the opera Don Giovanni – at least on stage – relies on a world which expresses its respect for sexuality through repression and does not devalue it by means of perverted liberalism and an economically-driven freedom from taboos.

Kierkegaard considers Giovanni’s life to be a frenetic series of moments unlinked by continuity or causality. Just as sexuality cannot be satisfied for ever, neither can Giovanni’s hunger. He renews his desire like Faust: ‘Thus I stagger from desire to pleasure and in pleasure I pine for desire.’ Kierkegaard sees Giovanni as being beyond moral objections, and of course his fellow men could not topple him, this could only be done by a messenger from another world. Every other character in the opera exists purely because of Giovanni’s presence, stepping out of the darkness into the light he makes. One could say that the characters come into contact with the creative and destructive powers of Eros which Giovanni embodies.

It is obvious that each of these can become recognizable only through visible pressure and counter-pressure, i.e. the self-generating and mutually reinvigorating opposites of repression and protest. Hidden in the interplay between them lie the ambivalences which give the opera its meaning.

The freedom which Giovanni thirsts for has nothing in common with the middle class liberal ethos and desolate middle class freedoms of our times, it hardly comes close. His craving is for a lack of boundaries. Aligned against this is a world of order and strict divisions, of insurmountable differences in class and status, of morality and religion, whose mechanisms of repression are made visible when confronted with Giovanni. ‘Freedom to do what?’ Mozart and Da Ponte might ask their Giovanni, concerned. To have a feudal master articulate the rebellious demand for freedom on the eve of the revolution, to make this murderer and alleged rapist a character with whom we identify in order to bring hell on stage in the finale – this undertaking is so rich in contradictions, both suspected and explicit, so rich in fears and hopes, false and genuine outrage, support and opposition, earthly and religious horizons, indecision and daring, humour and gravitas, that one would think a wrestling match were taking place in which neither competitor loses, but in whose heat the battlefield goes up in flames. Liberty and its lack appear by its flickering light as equally terrifying giants. Our age puts out this fire by psycho-pathologizing Don Giovanni. As nothing more is sacred to us, we find nothing unsacred. Viva la libertà!

Sven-Eric Bechtolf
Translated by David Tushingham


Alternative ways to get the Salzburg Festival experience!

7 AUG2014

posted in: Opera, Concert, General

Once again, numerous Salzburg Festival productions are being recorded in cooperation with the exclusive media partners UNITEL CLASSICA, ORF, and ServusTV to broadcast via TV or radio on various stations. This presents a wonderful opportunity to experience the Salzburg Festival without purchasing tickets to the shows and sometimes these performances are aired live! Here’s a glimpse of the great variety of media productions scheduled for broadcast this year – mark the dates of your favourite productions in your calendar now!

read more ...

Untitled (Leo) – Image detail, © Robert Longo



Supported by ServusTV

Don Giovanni will be recorded by ServusTV in cooperation with UNITEL CLASSICA in collaboration with the Salzburg Festival and the Viennese Philharmonics and will be broadcasted as follows:
Sunday, 3. August 2014 at 07.30 pm LIVE at ServusTV
Sunday, 3. August 2014 at 08.15 pm LIVE time displaced at CLASSICA
Sunday, 3. August 2014 at 06.00 pm LIVE - BEHIND THE CURTAINS at ServusTV
Sunday, 3. August 2014 at 7.30 pm LIVE at Medici TV
Friday, 31. August 2014 at 11.05 am at ServusTV

Concomitant to the opera production ServusTV will broadcast the documentation "Don Giovanni - Die Entstehung einer Festspiel-Oper" in 5 parts as follows:
Monday, July 28, 2014 at 06.20 pm
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 06.20 pm
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 06.20 pm
Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 06.20 pm
Friday, August 1, 2014 at 06.20 pm