08 December 2011

Don Giovanni and Opening Night for the Opera

Kierkegaard wrote that Mozart's Don Giovanni is "a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection." Flaubert called Don Giovanni, along with Hamlet and the sea, "the three finest things God ever made."
Tchaikovsky always held Don Giovanni in the greatest awe and regarded Mozart as his musical god.

Last night was the opening night for the Opera House, Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and they performed Mozart's masterpiece, Don Giovanni. The orchestra was under the direction of Daniel Barenboim and I was there! In a wonderful program whereby the opera is filmed up close and personal and screened in theaters all over Italy, I was able to attend, see everything, from the stunning, sumptuous theater, the people coming in in all their beautiful finery, for example the President and the Prime Minister, the orchestra warming up and then the start of the opera with the gorgeous overture. We had incomparable seats for a fraction of the cost and close to home. What a great idea. 

The quality of the music, singing and performances were astonishing, breathtaking. I located this aria, "Lá ci darem la mano" on You Tube, between Don Giovanni (an arrogant sexually promiscuous nobleman) and one of his many conquests to give you a flavor. He's trying to tempt her and it starts: "There we'll join hands and you'll say yes". They showed subtitles in Italian so it was easier to follow the dialogue and arias. They also had interviews with the director and conductor about their vision and the opera itself at intermission. It was an incredible evening.

To top it off, my friend and neighbor, who loves opera, came with us, as did our tutor and his friend. Afterwards, rather than go out for pizza, which was the first proposal, we all went back to our tutor's house for a late but delicious dinner whipped up by his friend. It was the better way to end such a full evening- in the presence of friends, sharing good food and wine, savoring the shared experience. A perfect evening.


  1. Now that is what I would call a perfect evening!

  2. Screening live performances of opera is a way to bring it to the masses. We have a lovely theatre in a tiny town in ME that was built out of donations on the high school academy campus. It is state of the art and they screen opera throughout the Winter.

  3. You are very fortunate to have access to such wonderful treasures: the opera, good friends, good food, good wine, and great fellowship.

  4. I am going to see a Don Giovanni opera on Sunday, at the movie theater, previously filmed. I can't wait! Thanks for the preview, although yours was live, mine will be enjoyed just the same.

  5. What a wonderful way to present an opera production! And what a fine evening you made of it!

  6. How exciting to see this sumptuous opera at La Scala in Milan! It will be a memory for a lifetime.

  7. Opera season in Hawaii starts in January. David and I plan to see 3 operas: Aida, Don Pasquale, and The Pearl Fishers. Performed live with a real orchestra. It's great!

  8. TB, Me too.

    CG, Isn't it a great idea? Every seat is the best seat and we get to see world class opera.

    Sally, It's the kind of evening that warms my heart for a long time.

    DJan, Read a summary from online before going and maybe listen to a couple of the arias (some on You Tube have English subtitles) to get the most out of it. Although maybe in the US they'll have English subtitles! Enjoy!

    Nancy, Yes, a fine evening making memories.

    Pat, La Scala is so gorgeous after its renovation. The women in gowns, the men in tuxedos, the presence of the who's who of Italy- very grand!

    gigi, The Pearl Fishers has an duet: Au Fond du Temple Saint, that is the most beautiful duet ever. You can listen to it on You Tube. My favorite version is Robert Merrill with Jussi Bjorling. Turn up your volume and luxuriate! Also, Je Crois Entendre Encore is gorgeous. I like Placido Domingo's version of that. Have a great time.


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