Opéra de Lille: Don Giovanni

A Part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series

Production Photo from Don Giovanni / Credit: Opéra de Lille

For cast lists, please visit the Opera Series Overview.

Mozart’s outrageous comedy tells the tale of an incorrigible young playboy who blazes a path to his own destruction in a single day. Based on the story of Don Juan, Don Giovanni follows an irresistible (yet irresponsible and amoral) youth who is loved by women almost as universally as he loves them. It doesn’t take long before the audience sees that even Don Giovanni cannot escape the consequences of his flouting of conventional morality.

This concert is presented by Opéra de Lille, featuring Timothy Murray as the licentious nobleman Don Giovanni, alongside James Platt as the Commendatore and Emőke Baráth as his daughter Donna Anna. Emmanuelle Haïm leads the Lille Opera Chorus and Le Concert d’Astrée in this timeless tale of seduction and retribution.


Act I
Leporello keeps watch while Don Giovanni seduces Donna Anna. Her father, the Commendatore, overhears some commotion and, believing his daughter to be in distress, challenges Giovanni to fight. In the scuffle that follows, Giovanni kills him. Anna flees the scene and shortly after returns with her fiancé Don Ottavio. She makes Ottavio swear to avenge her father’s death.

Giovanni and Leporello come across a distressed woman and her young maid. She turns out to be Donna Elvira, who has come from a nearby town determined to find Giovanni. He had married her there, but then abandoned her. Giovanni escapes from Elvira, leaving Leporello to recount to her Giovanni’s extraordinary catalogue of sexual conquests.

At Zerlina and Masetto’s wedding, Giovanni is about to make off with the bride, when Elvira intercepts him. Ottavio appears with Anna; he seeks his friend Giovanni’s help in searching for the Commendatore’s murderer. Elvira denounces Giovanni, which arouses Ottavio’s suspicions. As Giovanni leaves, Anna tells Ottavio that she has recognised him as the Commendatore’s murderer.

Giovanni orders Leporello to lay on a party.

Zerlina attempts to calm Masetto, whose jealousy has been aroused. Giovanni arrives and whips up the party, which is joined by Zerlina and Masetto. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira appear; they are wearing masks to disguise their identities. Leporello invites them to join in the dancing. Giovanni manoeuvres Zerlina away. When Zerlina cries out for help, Giovanni puts the blame on Leporello and threatens to kill him. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira unmask and denounce Giovanni for his crimes.

Act II
Giovanni forces Leporello to exchange identities with him, leading Elvira to believe that Leporello is in fact her lost husband. As they leave, Giovanni sings a serenade to Elvira’s maid.

Masetto is looking for Giovanni, who, still disguised as Leporello, beats him up. Zerlina attempts to soothe Masetto’s pain with the promise of sex.

In the darkness, Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto discover Leporello, whom they believe to be Giovanni. Elvira pleads for mercy to be shown but the others are determined to kill him. They then discover that it is, in fact, Leporello and not Giovanni.

As Leporello escapes, Ottavio attempts to prove to Anna that he can take control of the situation. Elvira is caught between rage, pity and revenge on Giovanni.

Giovanni and Leporello find one another again, and Giovanni tells him about his adventures. A voice threatens to silence their laughter. Giovanni points out a statue of the Commendatore, and orders Leporello to invite the statue to dinner. The statue accepts.

Leporello serves Giovanni his supper. Elvira makes a final attempt to win back Giovanni. A knocking is heard and Leporello is terrified by the statue’s approach. The Commendatore enters. He gives Giovanni an ultimatum to repent or suffer the flames of Hell. Giovanni resists him.

Ottavio, Anna, Elvira, Zerlina and Masetto arrive to take their collective revenge on Giovanni. Leporello gives them his terrified version of what has just occurred, and joins them in proclaiming the death Don Giovanni.

Summary and synopsis courtesy of Opéra de Lille.


About the Host:
Lisa Flynn has been a program host and producer for WFMT since 1991. She presents The New Releases and has hosted many programs for the WFMT Radio Network, including War Letters (which won the 2002 Peter Lisagor Award) and a series of live broadcasts from Salzburg to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday in 2006. As WFMT’s midday weekday announcer, Lisa hosts live studio performances and interviews guest artists including Renée Fleming, John Adams, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, John Eliot Gardiner, and many others. Before coming to Chicago, Lisa presented classical music at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at WMFE and WUCF in Orlando, Florida. She holds a music degree from the University of Central Florida.


This program is a part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series, a series designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts to fill out the year with great Opera content. The series begins in June and lasts until December.


Category: Operas
Duration: 2-hour / Varies by Opera
Frequency: Flexible
Availability: 07/06/2024 - 07/13/2024

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