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Did You Know? Don Giovanni

Caitie Quick – February 25, 2016

Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the world's most famous operas—but how well do you really know this 18th-century masterpiece?  Here are some fast facts to impress at your next dinner party. 

Don Giovanni Facts

¤ The full title of Don Giovanni is actually Don Giovanni, or the Rake Punished.

¤ The story of Don Giovanni had been in circulation since the middle ages, and was first published as Don Juan in Spain in the 17th century as a morality tale.

¤ Don Giovanni is the first opera to use a trombone.

¤ Don Giovanni was scheduled to premiere in Prague on October 15, 1787, but had to be pushed back to October 29.

¤ In early performances of Don Giovanni, the roles of the Commendatore and Masetto were played by the same person.

¤ The real Casanova (who lived in Prague at the time of Don Giovanni's premiere) bears a startling resemblance to Giovanni and is said to have had similar life experiences.

¤ In addition to collaborating with Mozart, Don Giovanni's librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, found employment as a priest, teacher, professional gambler, secretary, poet to the court of Emperor Joseph II, owner of a bookstore, proprietor of a grocery store, Italian tutor, impresario, and finally as a Professor of Italian Language and Literature at Columbia University.