Mozart's Don Giovanni
With the full title Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni (The Libertine Punished, or, Don Giovanni), this opera was written in 1787 for Prague's National Theater. Based on the legend of Don Juan, perhaps the world's most notorious lover, the opera's moralistic stance is evident from its title, "The Libertine Punished." The opera tells the story of the downfall of Don Giovanni (Don Juan): after he kills the father of one of his intended conquests, the ghost of the slain father appears and forces him to answer for his life of debauchery. Traditionally set in seventeenth-century Spain, as shown here in the scenic design for Don Giovanni's palace by American theatre designer Oliver Smith (1918–1994), the work is subtitled a "dramma giocoso" (literally, a jocular, or humorous, drama) for its unusual blending of comic and tragic elements.