Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of a fictional libertine and seducer, it was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy and supernatural elements. A staple of the standard operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni for the five seasons 2011/12 through 2015/16 was ninth on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide, it has proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers. The opera was commissioned as a result of the overwhelming success of Mozart's trip to Prague in January and February 1787; the subject matter may have been chosen in consideration of the long history of Don Juan operas in Prague.
The libretto of Lorenzo Da Ponte was based on a libretto by Giovanni Bertati for the opera Don Giovanni Tenorio, first performed in Venice early in 1787, although he was loath to admit this in memoirs written decades later. Some of the most important elements that he copied were the idea of opening the drama with the murder of the Commendatore and the lack of a specification of Seville as the setting, customary in the tradition of Don Juan dramas since the appearance of the prototype Don Juan drama El burlador de Sevilla by Tirso de Molina, written in the early 17th century. For Bertati, the setting was Villena, whereas Da Ponte's libretto only specifies a "city in Spain". According to some sources, Giacomo Casanova assisted in the writing. Don Giovanni was to have been performed on 14 October 1787 for a visit to Prague of the Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, niece of the Emperor Joseph II, her new husband, Prince Anthony of Saxony; the score was completed on 28 or 29 October 1787 after Da Ponte was recalled to Vienna to work on another opera.
Reports about the last-minute completion of the overture conflict. More it was completed the day before, in light of the fact that Mozart recorded the completion of the opera on 28 October; the score calls for double woodwinds, two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, basso continuo for the recitatives, the usual string section. The composer specified occasional special musical effects. For the ballroom scene at the end of the first act, Mozart calls for two onstage ensembles to play separate dance music in synchronization with the pit orchestra, each of the three groups playing in its own metre, accompanying the dancing of the principal characters. In act 2, Giovanni is seen to play the mandolin, accompanied by pizzicato strings. In the same act, two of the Commendatore's interventions are accompanied by a wind chorale of oboes, clarinets and trombones; the opera was first performed on 29 October 1787 in Prague under its full title of Il dissoluto punito ossia il Don Giovanni – Dramma giocoso in due atti.
The work was rapturously received, as was true of Mozart's work in Prague. The Prager Oberpostamtzeitung reported, "Connoisseurs and musicians say that Prague has never heard the like," and "the opera … is difficult to perform." The Provincialnachrichten of Vienna reported, "Herr Mozart conducted in person and was welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering." Mozart supervised the Vienna premiere of the work, which took place on 7 May 1788. For this production, he wrote two new arias with corresponding recitatives – Don Ottavio's aria "Dalla sua pace", Elvira's aria "In quali eccessi... Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata" – and the duet between Leporello and Zerlina "Per queste tue manine", he made some cuts in the Finale in order to make it shorter and more incisive, the most important of, the section where Anna and Ottavio, Elvira and Masetto, Leporello reveal their plans for the future. In order to connect "Ah, certo è l'ombra che l'incontrò" directly to the moral of the story "Questo è il fin di chi fa mal", Mozart composed a different version of "Resti dunque quel birbon fra Proserpina e Pluton!".
These cuts are seldom performed in theatres or recordings. The opera's final ensemble was omitted until the early 20th century, a tradition that began early on. According to the 19th-century Bohemian memoirist Wilhelm Kuhe, the final ensemble was only presented at the first performance in Prague never heard again during the original run. It
1712 Overture and Other Musical Assaults
1712 Overture and Other Musical Assaults is a classical music album released in 1989 by Telarc Records. The album contains works by P. D. Q. Bach, the alter ego of Professor Peter Schickele, it is scored "for big orchestra and some not-quite so big ensembles, plus unique on-location introductions, spoken on the historical spots where the actual history happened." Professor Peter Schickele, narrator, devious instrumentalist and intellectual guide The Greater Hoople Area Off-Season Philharmonic, Walter Bruno, conductor I Virtuosi di Hoople Introduction 1712 Overture, S. 1712 Introduction Bach Portrait Introduction Capriccio La Pucelle de New Orleans, S. under 18. Introduction Minuet Militaire, S. 1A Introduction Prelude to Einstein on the Fritz, S. e=mt² Introduction The Preachers of Crimetheus, a ballet in one selfless act, S. 988 Caution! Digital Sound Effects "Warning! The balloons on track 2, the special sound effects on track 6, the foghorn on track 14 index 6, are recorded at a realistically high level.
Damage could result to speakers or other components if this program is played back at excessively high levels." —from the CD liner notes Grammy Awards P. D. Q. Bach: 1712 Overture and Other Musical Assaults The Ill-Conceived P. D. Q. Bach Anthology
Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, K. 588, is an Italian-language opera buffa in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed on 26 January 1790 at the Burgtheater in Vienna, Austria. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte who wrote Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni. Although it is held that Così fan tutte was written and composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II, recent research does not support this idea. There is evidence that Mozart's contemporary Antonio Salieri tried to set the libretto but left it unfinished. In 1994, John Rice uncovered two terzetti by Salieri in the Austrian National Library; the short title, Così fan tutte means "So do they all", using the feminine plural to indicate women. It is translated into English as "Women are like that"; the words are sung by the three men in scene 13, just before the finale. Da Ponte had used the line "Così fan tutte le belle" earlier in Le nozze di Figaro; the first performance of Mozart's setting took place at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 26 January 1790.
It was given only five times before the run was stopped by the death of the Emperor Joseph II and the resulting period of court mourning. It was performed twice in June 1790 with the composer conducting the second performance, again in July and August. After that it was not performed in Vienna during Mozart's lifetime; the first British performance was in May 1811 at London. Così fan tutte was not performed in the U. S. until 1922, when it was given at the Metropolitan Opera. According to William Mann, Mozart disliked prima donna Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, da Ponte's arrogant mistress for whom the role of Fiordiligi had been created. Knowing her idiosyncratic tendency to drop her chin on low notes and throw back her head on high ones, Mozart filled her showpiece aria Come scoglio with constant leaps from low to high and high to low in order to make Ferrarese's head "bob like a chicken" onstage; the subject-matter did not offend Viennese sensibilities of the time, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries was considered risqué, immoral.
The opera was performed, when it did appear it was presented in one of several bowdlerised versions. After World War II it regained a place in the standard operatic repertoire and is now performed. While the use of modern fach titles and voice categories for these roles has become customary, Mozart was far more general in his own descriptions of the voice types: Fiordiligi, Guglielmo, Ferrando and Don Alfonso; these modern voice types are varied in performance practice. Don Alfonso is performed by baritones such as Thomas Allen and Bo Skovhus and Dorabella is always performed by a mezzo-soprano. In the ensembles, Guglielmo's music lies lower than Alfonso's, accordingly has been performed by basses such as James Morris and Wladimiro Ganzarolli, Despina is performed by a mezzo, such as Cecilia Bartoli, Frederica von Stade, Agnes Baltsa and Ann Murray. Ferrando and Fiordiligi, can only be sung by a tenor and a soprano because of the high tessitura of their roles; the instrumentation is as follows: Woodwinds: 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons.
Fiordiligi's aria "Per pietà, ben mio, perdona", act 2, contains a rare instance of clarinets in B-natural. Score. In most modern editions this is made into a part for A clarinets; the NMA keeps the notation for the B clarinet. There is evidence that some of the clarinet writing was intended for basset clarinet due to its low range. Brass: 2 horns, 2 trumpets. Percussion: 2 timpani – an additional military drum is used on stage. Strings: first violins, second violins, violoncellos, double basses. Basso continuo in secco recitatives of harpsichord and violoncello. Mozart and Da Ponte use the theme of "fiancée swapping". Elements from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew are present. Furthermore, it incorporates elements of the myth of Procris. Place: Naples Time: the 18th century Scene 1: A coffeehouse In a cafe and Guglielmo express certainty that their fiancées will be eternally faithful. Don Alfonso expresses skepticism and claims, he lays a wager with the two officers, claiming he can prove in a day's time that those two, like all women, are fickle.
The wager is accepted: the two officers will pretend to have been called off to war. The scene shifts to the two women. Alfonso arrives to announce the bad news: the officers have been called off to war. Ferrando and Guglielmo arrive and bid farewell; as the boat with the men sails off to sea and the sisters wish them safe travel. Alfonso, left alone, gloatingly predicts that the women
The Intimate P. D. Q. Bach
The Intimate P. D. Q. Bach is "a live recording of The Intimate P. D. Q. Bach stage show, featuring Professor Peter Schickele and the Semi-Pro Musica Antiqua" and was released on Vanguard Records in 1974. Many of the performer credits are humorous, as with all P. D. Q. Bach recordings, the "S" numbers are humorous; the cover art is a parody of the painting Kreutzer Sonata. Professor Peter Schickele, "beriberitone", siren John Ferrante, "bargain counter tenor", razzer David Oei, police whistle John Nelson, "singist" Peter Rosenfeld, celloist Arthur Weisberg, "bassooner" 1. Spoken introduction Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice, an opera in one unnatural act, S. 2n-1 Overture Aria: "I am a quaint old innkeeper" Aria: "Like a lonely pilgrim" Aria: "My name is Hansel Hunter" Aria: "I'm the village idiot" Aria: "Et expecto" Aria: "There's something about a monk" Duet: "Do you love me?" Interlude: Medical examination Aria: "I hope you'll take this friendly advice" Aria: "Teddy Nice is my name" Duet: "Jump not to conclusions" Finale: "Just tell me what your name is"2.
The O. K. Chorale from the "Toot" Suite for calliope four hands, S. 212° 3. Spoken introduction "Erotica" Variations, for banned instruments and piano, S. 36EE Theme: Windbreaker Variation I: Balloons Variation II: Slide Whistle Variation III: Slide Windbreaker Variation IV: Lasso D'Amore Variation V: Foghorn, Kazoo, Gargle4. Spoken introduction The Art of the Ground Round, for three baritones and discontinuo, S. 1.19/lb Loving is as easy Please, kind sir Jane, my Jane Golly golly oh Nelly is a nice girl The Intimate P. D. Q. Bach The Intimate P. D. Q. Bach, Vanguard VSD 79335
Portrait of P. D. Q. Bach
Portrait of P. D. Q. Bach was released in 1977 on Vanguard Records; the album features the work of Peter Schickele writing as P. D. Q. Bach, with one contribution under his own name; the New York Pick-Up Ensemble, Professor Peter Schickele, conductor John Ferrante, bargain counter tenor Harris Poor, basso bloto Ranson Wilson and Diva Goodfriend-Koven, tape recorders, hand flutes, nose flutes Early Anderson, trombonus interruptus Duh Brooklyn Boys Chorus, James McCarthy, director John Solum, flute Leonard Arner, oboe Lorin Glickman, bassoon Theodore Weis, trumpet William G. Brown, French horn Neal Di Biase, trombone 1. Introduction Missa Hilarious, S. N2O 2. Yriekay 3. Gloria 4. Credo 5. Sanctus 6. Angus Dei 7. Introduction 8. Eine Kleine Nichtmusik Allegro Romanze Menuetto Rondo 9. Introduction 10. Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Groups of Instruments, S. 9999999999 11. Introduction 12. A Consort of Choral Christmas Carols, S. 359 "Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John" "O Little Town of Hackensack" "Good King Kong Looked Out" Eine Kleine Nichtmusik, is a quodlibet consisting of Mozart's work Eine kleine Nachtmusik played in its entirety, along with snippets of dozens of famous tunes heard in counterpoint throughout the piece, taken from both American folk music and the classical repertoire.
Portrait of P. D. Q. Bach Complete list of music parodied in Eine Kleine Nichtmusik
Suite No. 2 for Cello All By Its Lonesome
Suite No. 2 for Cello All By Its Lonesome is the second of a pair of parody pieces by P. D. Q. Bach, pseudonym of composer and musical parodist Peter Schickele; as with most of his other pieces, Suite No. 2 is impressively unique, not only in its challenge as a piece, but for its most humbling moments — the piece calls for no fewer than four varieties of pizzicato, makes frequent use of the three common cello clefs, requiring the cellist to be comfortable in all of his or her left-hand positions in order to approach the piece. The piece is divided into five parts, the naming convention an apparent parody, with every word ending in "o" when this means nothing in proper Italian. Preludio Molto Importanto Bourrée Molto Schmaltzando Sarabanda In Modo Lullabyo Menuetto Allegretto Gigue-o-lo
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan and to the works they jointly created; the two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known. Gilbert, who wrote the libretti for these operas, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos, their operas have enjoyed broad and enduring international success and are still performed throughout the English-speaking world. Gilbert and Sullivan introduced innovations in content and form that directly influenced the development of musical theatre through the 20th century.
The operas have influenced political discourse, literature and television and have been parodied and pastiched by humorists. Producer Richard D'Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration, he built the Savoy Theatre in 1881 to present their joint works and founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan's works for over a century. Gilbert was born in London on 18 November 1836, his father, was a naval surgeon who wrote novels and short stories, some of which included illustrations by his son. In 1861, to supplement his income, the younger Gilbert began writing illustrated stories and articles of his own, many of which would be mined as inspiration for his plays and operas Gilbert's series of illustrated poems, the Bab Ballads. In the Bab Ballads and his early plays, Gilbert developed a unique "topsy-turvy" style in which humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd.
Director and playwright Mike Leigh described the "Gilbertian" style as follows: With great fluidity and freedom, continually challenges our natural expectations. First, within the framework of the story, he makes bizarre things happen, turns the world on its head, thus the Learned Judge marries the Plaintiff, the soldiers metamorphose into aesthetes, so on, nearly every opera is resolved by a deft moving of the goalposts... His genius is to fuse opposites with an imperceptible sleight of hand, to blend the surreal with the real, the caricature with the natural. In other words, to tell a outrageous story in a deadpan way. Gilbert developed his innovative theories on the art of stage direction, following theatrical reformer Tom Robertson. At the time Gilbert began writing, theatre in Britain was in disrepute. Gilbert helped to reform and elevate the respectability of the theatre beginning with his six short family-friendly comic operas, or "entertainments", for Thomas German Reed. At a rehearsal for one of these entertainments, Ages Ago, in 1870, the composer Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to his friend, the young composer Arthur Sullivan.
Over the next year, before the two first collaborated, Gilbert continued to write humorous verse and plays, including the comic operas Our Island Home and A Sensation Novel, the blank verse comedies The Princess, The Palace of Truth and Pygmalion and Galatea. Sullivan was born in London on 13 May 1842, his father was a military bandmaster, by the time Arthur had reached the age of eight, he was proficient with all the instruments in the band. In school he began to compose songs. In 1856, he received the first Mendelssohn Scholarship and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at Leipzig, where he took up conducting, his graduation piece, completed in 1861, was a suite of incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest. Revised and expanded, it was an immediate sensation, he began building a reputation as England's most promising young composer, composing a symphony, a concerto, several overtures, among them the Overture di Ballo, in 1870. His early major works for the voice included The Masque at Kenilworth.
He composed a ballet, L'Île incidental music for a number of Shakespeare plays. Other early pieces that were praised were his Symphony in E, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Overture in C; these commissions, were not sufficient to keep Sullivan afloat. He worked as a church organist and composed numerous hymns, popular songs, parlour ballads. Sullivan's first foray into comic opera was Cox and Box, written with librettist F. C. Burnand for an informal gathering of friends. Public performance followed, with W. S. Gilbert saying that Sullivan's score "is, in many places, of too high a class for the grotesquely absurd plot to which it is wedded." Nonetheless, it proved successful, is still performed today. Sullivan and Burnand's second opera, The Contrabandista was not as successful. In 1871, producer John Hollingshead brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to produce a Christmas entertainment, Thespis, at his Gaiety Theatre, a large West End house; the piece was an extravaganza in which the classical Greek gods, grown elderly, are temporarily replaced by a troupe of 19th-century actors and actresses, one of whom is the eponymous