Guess who's coming to dinner? The Commendatore scene. Mozart's Don Giovanni. Don’t invite a dead man to a meal.

Contents.

The effect of Mozart's Don Giovanni on the sinners in Prague.

Don Giovanni invites The Commendatore to dinner.

The wicked Don Giovanni gets his "just desserts", without any dinner.

The sinner meets his end.

Come dine with me.

Don Giovanni. Seducer, and murderer.
Don Giovanni. Seducer, and murderer.
The Commendatore. Dont invite him to your house.
The Commendatore. Don't invite him to your house.
Demons to drag the sinner to Hell.
Demons to drag the sinner to Hell.

The effect of Mozart's Don Giovanni on the sinners in Prague.

Of all the scenes in Opera one of the most dramatic is The Commendatore scene in "Don Giovanni" by Mozart. If you want to scare yourself, this is the scene to watch, especially if you believe that the wicked will get their comeuppance in the next life. I can imagine the impression that it made in eighteenth century Austria, where a strong catholic belief in Hell went hand in hand with a rather earthier attitude to the sins of the flesh. There must have been throngs of penitents laying siege to all the churches in Old Prague on the morning after its premiere, begging forgiveness for all their sins before they were dragged off to The Inferno, like the unrepentant Don Giovanni.

So, you may ask, what did the Don do to deserve his fiery end? The answer to that is the plot of the opera.


Don Giovanni invites The Commendatore to dinner.

Don Giovanni was an arch seducer of women. There was not one member of the fair sex that could be certain of retaining her knickers round her fair waist, if the Don was in town. He simply went through women like a knife through butter.

The action is set in Spain, and the first scene occurs outside the palace of The Commendatore,(The governor of the town). Don Giovanni, while wearing a mask, is trying to forcibly seduce the governor’s daughter Anna, who, unusually, doesn’t want the lecher exploring the inner lining of her nether garments. She screams, and her father intervenes. Don Giovanni kills the Commendatore, and then makes his escape. Anna makes her fiancée, Ottavio, swear that he will revenge her father.

Later on the Don is flirting with a woman, who he doesn’t at first recognise. She is Donna Elvira, a previous conquest, who he deserted. Giovanni escapes from her when his loyal servant, Leporello, distracts her.

After a variety of adventures, in which Don Giovanni tries to seduce the bride at a peasant wedding, he meets Anna in the street. When he greets her she recognises the voice of her attacker, and informs her boyfriend, Ottavio,

Don Giovanni, with the luck of The Devil escapes again.

Later on he is hiding out in the cemetery with Leporello, when a voice warns him to repent of his wicked ways.

It is the statue of the murdered Commendatore speaking. It forms the memorial over his grave.

But the wicked Don refuses to repent, and in an act of severe disrespect, he orders Leporello to invite the statue to dine with him that evening. The terrified servant obeys, and stammers out the invitation.


The sinner meets his end.

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The wicked Don Giovanni gets his "just desserts", without any dinner.

Later that evening Don Giovanni is in his house, drinking champagne, and boasting of his wicked life. Donna Elvira, who oddly enough, still loves Giovanni, bursts in and pleads with him to repent. He dismisses her contemptuously.

She screams a bloodcurdling scream as she exits the house.

The statue has come to dine with The Don.

This is the bit I like the best. In music that is so dramatic, that you could hardly believe it was composed by Mozart, the statue calls on Don Giovanni to change his ways before it is too late.

But the stubborn sinner still defies his destiny. He draws his sword on his ghastly visitor. But against a statue, the blade makes no impression.

Flames start to consume the house, while demons arrive to drag Don Giovanni to Hell.

If there are any lessons to be learned from this opera, they are, that actions have consequences, and also, if you must go round murdering people, don’t add insult to injury by inviting them round your house afterwards.

That is only asking for trouble.


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Comments 6 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Don Giovanni (Don Juan) deserved what he got. Mozart's opera is a brilliant combination of tragedy and would you believe, also comedy at times. Thanks for this excellent review, Christopher, and the compelling video.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks for reading drbj.

At least we got some decent music, as a result of the whole sorry saga.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Christopher i can't put the music on as the queen is asleep. I need you sitting next to me at the opera as i don't have a clue what's happening. Some rogues do somehow manage to be forgiven for a multitude of sins, still enough about me. Isn't comeuppance a lovely word? Cheers mate from the (tiptoeing about) King.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

You probably need to get headphones Keith.

But whatever you do, don't disturb the queen.

Beauty sleep is important.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Ha Ha Tek-knoll- a-gee, now why didn't i think of that. Don't answer that.

I need ear plugs, not ear phones. I prefer a sweet lass that those deep throated fellows.

Each to their own though. Cheers mate.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks for listening Keith.

The commendatore scene, is certainly more dramatic than beautiful. No exactly what you usually think of "Mozartian".

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