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First of all, let’s get that full title down: Il Dissoluto Punito, ossia il Don Giovanni. Translated, that’s ‘The Rake, Punished, or Don Giovanni’. As a title, it does exactly what it says on the tin and for many it is Mozart’s operatic masterpiece.
The opera’s Prague premiere came when Mozart was thirty-one and perhaps at the pinnacle of his popularity. It is easy to see why many music lovers cite Don Giovanni as their favourite opera of all time. Tchaikovsky, one of those who placed it above all others, once visited a friend who owned the original manuscript, remarking that he was ‘In the presence of divinity’. As well as its imposing Overture, highlights include the Catalogue Aria in which Don Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, lovingly lists his master’s lovers. In addition, the Champagne Aria (precursing a party) and lovely arias such as ‘Dalla sua pace’ make this among opera’s finest few hours. It must also count as one of the most quoted operas by other composers, featuring in works by Offenbach, Rossini and Liszt.
Johannes Weisser (baritone) as Don Giovanni; Lorenzo Regazzo (bass) as Leporello; Alexandrina Pendatchanska (soprano) as Donna Elvira; Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Chorus; René Jacobs (conductor). Harmonia Mundi: HMC 90196466.