Mozart’s Don Giovanni
One of the most interesting challenges in operatic composition , is composing for all the specific characters. A composer has to distinguish between characters through his music. Jan can’t sound like Fran , and Dan can’t sound like Stan. Each character must have his or her own traits. Mozart’s opera , Don Giovanni , provides us with many different characters to compare and contrast. One scene in particular lends itself to the comparison of Don Giovanni , Leporello , and The Commendator. Scene fifteen of Act two, places all three characters in close interaction with each other , making it easy to compare and find out how Mozart and his Librettist Lorenzo da Ponte brought them all to life.
Lorenzo de Ponte’s libretto provides the main character traits of Don Giovanni , Leporello , and The Commendatore. It gives an easy way of distinguishing between the characters. Don Giovanni is portrayed as being smart , charming , and brave , yet selfish , arrogant , womanizing , and pompous. We see all of these traits in the final dinner scene. These opposing traits set up a love hate relationship of Don Giovanni.
Leporello on the other hand , is wimpy , subservient , nervous , and a bit dumb. He is often the butt of Don Giovanni’s jokes , and is always being bossed around. He can be thought of as the comic relief of the opera. In the dinner scene we get a definite feeling of Leporello being a wimpy idiot.
The Commendatore returns , after being slain by Giovanni , as a ghost. He is portrayed as being a mighty , powerful , and ominous. He tries to make Don Giovanni repent for all the terrible things he did. In the dinner scene he is truly a powerful being from beyond. His power is dem…
… This is just my opinion though. Both performances were very good.
The above thoughts are about a very complex piece of music. The fact that it appears to be simple , is a result of the genius of Mozart and his incredibly ability to write music. This opera works so well because Mozart made it so accessible to regular people. He achieved this simplicity through his meticulous detail to each characters personality. He made sure that Don Giovanni sounded like he should sound; bold , cocky ,and charming. Mozart truly wrote an opera that almost performs itself. I feel that if a person can sing the notes , then most of the point has gotten across. If the singer is boring , the listener can still understand the character through his or her melodic line or the rhythmic patterns of the part. Overall , Mozart composed the perfect music for each character.