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Don Juan vs. Casanova

February 29, 2008

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    February 29, 2008
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    Opera Carolina News

Don Juan vs. Casanova

Womanizer, libertine, and "Greatest Lover of All Time." These appellations have been shared by two of history's most infamous seducers: Giovanni Giacomo Casanova Albanase de Seingalt, better known simply as Casanova, and Don Juan respectively. Known in the operatic world as one- Don Giovanni. Their names have become synonymous with sexual conquest, looseness of morals, and frivolity that usually lead to a high, and often painful, price. Yet both Casanova and his fictional counterpart greatly influenced one of Mozart's most famous operas, Don Giovanni. With Opera Carolina's production of the story of Giovanni's demise approaching, let us separate the men from the myth and perhaps discover the true impact of their seduction.


  • Cousin to Mozart's librettist, Da Ponte.
  • Believed to have collaborated on pieces of the final drafts of Don Giovanni and attended the premiere of the opera in Prague 1787.
  • Da Ponte is believed to have cited incidents from Casanova's own life in the libretto, including an incident in Milan:
  • Casanova offered to "foot the bill" for a wedding between a Zenobia and her fiancée, a poor tailor. At the reception there were a series of dances where the bride and groom dance together and then split off to dance with the guests. Instead of dancing, Casanova leads Zenobia away in a carriage to seduce her. The poor cuckolded tailor finds out and a "Casanovian contretemps" occurs.

    Don Juan

  • Fictional libertine.
  • First written account of Don Juan occurs in the play El burladore de Sevilla y convidado de piedra (1630) by Tirso de Molina in Spain. Other works include Lord Byron's epic poem Don Juan (1821) and the play Don Juan Tenorio (1844).
  • Nearly always portrayed seducing women and fighting their champions, Don Juan was considered a scoundrel, known to have had over a thousand sexual conquests.

    Don Giovanni will be performed in the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center March 27 at 7:30 p.m., March 29 at 8:00 p.m. & March 30 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available now by calling 704.372.1000 or visit us online at operacarolina.org. Full cast listings and bios are available at: operacarolina.org/operas. To download images of this production please go to: http://www.operacarolina.org/about_media_photos.php Current images available include: production photos, artist headshots, and the Opera Carolina logo.

    Don Giovanni is sung in Italian with projected English titles. All performances feature the Opera Carolina Chorus and The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. This production is made possible by presenting sponsor The Hearst Corporation. Additional support provided by U.S. Airways, and Blue Restaurant & Bar. Media support provided by The Charlotte Observer, Time Warner Cable, and WCNC-TV.

    Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $3.5 million. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region's diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, Music Theater, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

    Opera Carolina is supported by the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc., The North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.
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