The legendary seducer Don Giovanni came magestically to life in the opera of Mozart. In 2012 however, the natural charmer seems to have struck again in a specially created ‘facebook opera’. Become a friend of Don Giovanni and follow his quest for beauty, his cunning advances but also his clinical coldness. Mothers beware: Don Giovanni is on the net!
Catalogo delle belle
In the opera Don Giovanni, Mozart together with librettist Da Ponte, recall some of the advances of this master seducer. There are quite a few, but they are only a couple of example out of a much longer list. Don Giovanni’s assistant, Leporello, makes this clear to one of the betrayed lovers in his famous 'catalogo delle belle', the catalogue of the beauties that Don Giovanni has conquered. And there are many: ‘in Italy 640, in Germany 230, 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, but in Spain…1003’ according to Leporello. The complete lyrics can be found at the bottom of this page.
A facebook opera
Mozart and Da Ponte had to make a choice out of this catalogue of possibilities. Their choice is exquisite, but their stories make us crave more: more about these other adventures and an explanation as to why Elvira is so furious at the Don at the beginning of the opera. Through the international co-production of this opera by OPERA2DAY and Juventus Lyrica, we will get to know a bit more of this pre-history. And we find this in the domain of modern technology. Don Giovanni’s catalogo delle belle is after all a Facebook friends list to the letter. We have therefore also created an interactive facebook opera of which, from end of April, anyone can become a friend. On 29 May, there was a fantastic live kick off to the facebook opera. Don Giovanni aimed high for his first conquest, directing his arrow at no less that Princess Maxima. Read here more about this event. The story is broken up into ten chapters. After the performances of the opera at the end of September and beginning of October in The Hague and Rotterdam, there will be an epilogue.
The story of the facebook opera is written by the Toneelschrijfhuis De Kosmonaut in collaboration with OPERA2DAY. They continually create new chapters that are complete in themselves, but which also are part of a longer story. But the facebook opera is not created by us alone. About 400 teenagers from The Hague will take part in workshops, where they will also create material for the facebook opera. And of course, anyone who is a friend of Don Giovanni on facebook can send him a message and respond to what he does. Don Giovanni succumbs especially easily to female attention…
Anyone can now become a friend of Don Giovanni. The only thing that is necessary is a facebook account. If you want to become his friend, click here and we will guide you to his facebook page. If you are not yet on facebook, you can register here. A summary of the storyline will also be available on this website. If you have joined the facebook opera halfway through the project, you can find out in this summary what has happened up until now. Alternatively you can scroll through the old messages on Don Giovanni’s facebook page to read up on the story.
The source of inspiration: Il catalogo è questo...
Click here to listen to the aria on youtube in a performance by Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, with The English Baroque Soloists directed by John Elliot Gardiner.
'The villian decieved me, betrayed me!....'
'Well, console yourself,
are not you,
you were not,
and you will be neither
nor the last.
Look! This book – not at all small-
is full of the names of his lovers:
has its witnesses of his escapades!
My dear lady, this is a list
Of the beauties my master has loved,
A list which I have compiled.
Observe, read along with me.
In Italy, six hundred and forty;
In Germany, two hundred and thirty-one;
A hundred in France; in Turkey, ninety-one;
But in Spain already one thousand and three.
Among these are peasant girls,
Maidservants, city girls,
Women of every rank,
Every shape, every age.
With blondes it is his habit
To praise their kindness;
In brunettes, their faithfulness;
In the white-haired, their sweetness.
In winter he likes fat ones.
In summer he likes thin ones.
He calls the tall ones majestic.
The little ones are always charming.
He seduces the old ones
For the pleasure of adding to the list.
His greatest favourite
Is the young beginner.
It doesn't matter if she's rich,
Ugly or beautiful;
If she wears a skirt,
You know what he does.
With thanks to
The facebook opera is made in collaboration with Toneelschrijfhuis de Kosmonaut and students of the Haags Montesori Lyceum and the International School of The Hague.
The opera and facebook opera productions of Don Giovanni are only possible thanks to the support of:
Gemeente Den Haag (specifically under the programme for Haags Muzikaal Toptalent)
Fonds Podiumkunsten (NFPK)
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds ism Mozart/Wagner Fonds
Stichting Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie
Stichting Niemeijer Fonds
It is unexpectedly warm in Seville in the south of Spain in the night of 21 March 1730, when Don Giovanni is born. At a young age, he becomes friends with Leporello and not long afterwards, the division of the roles becomes clear: Leporello becomes Don Giovanni’s servant and is sent to search for the perfect woman. A difficult task because Don Giovanni is not easily satisfied. The years role by and the list of ladies who have warmed Don Giovanni’s heart also roles by just as easily: the redheads, brunettes, blondes. The women of the countryside, the women of the towns.
The stories of Don Giovanni spread through the world like wildfire and it does not take long for artists to be inspired by the exploits of this infamous womanizer. On 29 October 1787, Don Giovanni and Leporello see themselves on the stage in Prague in Mozart’s opera, and two centuries later, in 1995, they watch in a New York cinema whilst Johnny Depp acts a character which looks suspiciously like Don Giovanni in the film Don Juan DeMarco... And of course there are the many books about this persona, which he devours.
As much as he is a muse for other, Don Giovanni does not manage to find his own muse to tame his stormy heart. For centuries, the seducer and his servant wander the world in search of the perfect woman. For the last decade, they have been in Italy, Germany, France and Turkey, and have now come back home to Seville. If the perfect woman is not to be found out in the big wide world, perhaps she is to be found here, close to home.
In the summer of 2011, Leporello lets all the women of Seville come and present themselves to Don Giovanni. Even tourists are allowed to come. After a parade lasting weeks and host of beautiful women, Don Giovanni’s mood is even heavier than it has been through all the centuries: his mind is reeling with all the women he has ever seen and had. Leporello has an idea for a clearly structured catalogue: Facebook. There, he can collect a list of all the women and the men can give him tips. Don Giovanni agrees, but he does not want to sit still behind his computer: he has heard of a South American beauty who apparently lives in The Hague.
Since May 2012, The Hague has been gripped by this seduction team. In April 2012, Don Giovanni and Leporello arrived in the capital, on the hunt for this exotic beauty that will warm his heart. Leporello is again allocated the task of finding her. But which one is she? A Cuban, Brazilian or indeed an Argentinean?
Finally, a meeting is arranged. With none less than Princess Máxima. The tryst took place in the Haags Montessori Lyceum on 29 May. It was an absolute debacle.
29 May 2012 The Prologue: Don Giovanni aims his arrows towards Prinsess Máxima
The exclusive and intimate tryst between Don Giovanni and the Princess ended yesterday in a debacle. The meeting was disturbed by a series of the Don’s ex-sweethearts coming for some payback. Assistent Leporello suffered especially, not in the least because Don Giovanni only appeared over Skype. With all this commotion, the facebook opera of OPERA2DAY received an unexpectedly exhausting and energetic start. On the facebook time line of Don Giovanni video clips of this embarrassing afternoon will shortly be made available.
The meeting with the princess got off on the wrong foot. The central hall of the Montessori Lyceum was completely filled with students from the school, a fact which made an intimate tryst utterly impossible. In addition, Don Giovanni didn’t even actually turn up on the day. In a live skype session, it was seen how – or rather, more significantly with whom – the Don was actually occupied at that moment. Assistent Leporello attempted to save the situation by getting the string quartet that had been invited to the tryst to put on a ‘grand concert’.
Don Giovanni reproaches his assistent Leporello for the disgrace (photo Dayna Casey)
The concert had to quickly be interrupted when a group of three young women appeared to inform us the status of their relationships with Don Giovanni. Leporello managed to fob them off fast enough but was powerless against the furious Zerlina. She took to the stage and made Leporello look extremely stupid, all before the eyes of the Princess. When a woman in full bridal attire then turned up and it transpired that she had earlier that day been deserted at the altar by don Giovanni, the students had had enough of him. A serenade sung by the Don via Skype – accompanied by mobile phone – was to no avail. In no uncertain tones, they let Don Giovanni know that they would rather that he disappeared. It thereby became evident that we had landed in the finale of a Mozart opera!
Leporello apologizes to the Princess (foto Dayna Casey)
After the conclusion, Princess Máxima with her renowned charm knew well how to calm the inflamed tempers around her. She conducted interviews with Leporello, the betrayed girls, the disappointed musicians and the assistents Leporello had invited to help him to stage the meeting. In the end, all left with cleared minds and uplifted hearts. Don Giovanni however, went missing without trace that evening.
What will happen now? The Don and Leporello have already planned their course! Follow their actions on Facebook…
Concept Serge van Veggel
Design and texts story De Kosmonaut (Annet Bremen, Koen Caris, Sytze Schalk)
Photography Dayna Casey
Contributions students of the Haags Montessori Lyceum and the International School of The Hague
Production Alice Gubler
Communication Marleen Leroy
Supervision Serge van Veggel
Coordination educational project Mieke van der Ven
Co-development educational project Krista te Brake
Lessons singing Janneke Daalderop
Lessons theater Leonie Pellen
Lessons creative text writing Annet Bremen, Sytze Schalk, Koen Caris
Lessons sound engineering Xavier van Wersch
Lessons portrait photography Charlotte Meindersma
Prologue 29 May 2012 at Haags Montessori Lyceum
Singers Carolina Luppers (Donna Anna, soprano), Maria Valdmaa (Zelina, soprano), Martijn Cornet (Don Giovanni, baritone), 150 CKV students from the Haags Montessori Lyceum
Actors Jos Nargy (Leporello), Karst de Waard, Sara Krant, Sasha Slierendrecht, Sjoerd Hillebrand, Wobke van der Velde (students HML).
Figurants in Skype video Sasha Slierendrecht, Nella Rebero
Musicians Rebecca Huber (1st violin), Louella Alatiit (2nd violin), Seung Rok Baek (viola) en Nika Zlataric (cello)
Texts De Kosmonaut (Annet Bremen, Koen Caris, Sytze Schalk), in cooperation with Serge van Veggel and students of the HML (texts love letters)
Music parts from Mozarts Don Giovanni and a composition based on that music by Manoj Kamps
Stage director Serge van Veggel
Conductor and harpsichord Hernán Schvartzman
Production Alice Gubler
Video registration Rolf Versteegh, Rick Messemaker en Manne Messemaker.
Musical rehearsal with students Janneke Daalderop
Communication Marleen Leroy, Karen van der Spek in cooperation with the Government Information Service
Thanks to Mw.drs. J.F. Zaaijer, Dhr. I. Fernhout, KLTZ JHR. I.F.B. Van Humalda van Eysinga
Flashmob Uitfestival The Hague 2 September 2012
in cooperation with Culturalis
Actor Jos Nargy
Zerlina Maria Valdmaa
Don Giovanni (on film) Martijn Cornet
Amateur soloists Susanne Winkler, Pauline Doolaard en Marloes Kouwenberg
Piano Cynthia Liem
Film footage Rolf Versteegh en Rick Messemaker
Teaser Brigitte Hennequin
Concept en texts Serge van Veggel in cooperation with De Kosmonaut
Composition based on Mozarts music MaNOj Kamps
Rehearsal amateur choirs Rob Kaptein
Coordination Mieke van der Ven
Coordination from Culturalis Joanne Mellink