Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni is a two-act opera composed in 1787 by Mozart to a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.


English quotations here are cited from Robert Pack and Marjorie Lelash (trans.) Three Mozart Libretti (New York: Dover, 1993).

  • Notte e giorno faticar,
    Per chi nulla sa gradir,
    Piova e vento sopportar,
    Mangiar male e mal dormir.
    Voglio far il gentiluomo
    E non voglio più servir.
    • I must work night and day for someone who doesn’t appreciate me; I must bear the wind and rain, scarcely eating or sleeping! I, too, would like to be a gentleman, and no longer a servant.
    • Leporello, Act I, sc. i; translation p. 135.

  • Madamina, il catalogo è questo
    Delle belle che amò il padron mio;
    un catalogo egli è che ho fatt'io;
    Osservate, leggete con me.
    In Italia seicento e quaranta;
    In Almagna duecento e trentuna;
    Cento in Francia, in Turchia novantuna;
    Ma in Ispagna son già mille e tre.
    • My dear lady! This is the catalogue of the women my master has loved. It's a list that I've compiled – look at it; read it over with me! In Italy, six hundred and forty; in Germany, two hundred and thirty-one; a hundred in France; ninety-one in Turkey – but in Spain there are already a thousand and three.
    • Leporello, Act I, sc. v; translation p. 145.

  • Nella bionda egli ha l'usanza
    Di lodar la gentilezza,
    Nella bruna la costanza,
    Nella bianca la dolcezza.
    • With blondes, it's his habit to praise their sweetness; with brunettes, their constancy; with old women, their tenderness.
    • Leporello, Act I, sc. v; translation p. 147.

  • Delle vecchie fa conquista
    Pel piacer di porle in lista;
    Sua passion predominante
    È la giovin principiante.
    Non si picca – se sia ricca,
    Se sia brutta, se sia bella;
    Purché porti la gonnella,
    Voi sapete quel che fa.
    • He even seduces the old women, simply for the pleasure of adding them to his list. But his preference is really for the young beginners. He never thinks of whether she's rich, ugly or beautiful – as long as she wears a skirt, you know very well what he does!
    • Leporello, Act I, sc. v; translation p. 147.

  • Don Giovanni: Là ci darem la mano,
    Là mi dirai di sì.
    Vedi, non è lontano;
    Partiam, ben mio, da qui.

    Zerlina: Vorrei e non vorrei,
    Mi trema un poco il cor.
    Felice, è ver, sarei,
    Ma può burlarmi ancor.
    • Don Giovanni: There we'll take each other's hands, and then you’ll tell me "yes". See; it isn't far; let's go there together, my darling!
      Zerlina: I'd like to, and yet I'm afraid – something within me holds back. Perhaps I would be happy – but still he may be deceiving me!
    • Act I, sc. ix, translation p. 153.

  • Ah! la mia lista
    Doman mattina
    D'una decina
    Devi aumentar!
    • Ah, by tomorrow morning a dozen names must be added to my list!
    • Don Giovanni, Act I, sc. xv, translation pp. 163-5.

  • Di rider finirai pria dell'aurora!
    • By dawn your laughter will be ended.
    • La Statua, Act II, sc. xv, translation p. 203.

  • Vivan le femmine,
    Viva il buon vino!
    Sostegno e gloria
    • Long live the women! Long live good wine! Forever may they sustain and exalt humanity!
    • Don Giovanni, Act II, sc. xviii, translation p. 211.

Quotes about Don GiovanniEdit

  • Would not her experience have been the same as mine? She would not have suspected, would not have dreamed what forces she was setting in motion, what passions she was playing with. And thus she was in fact guilty of everything, although innocent. Would this not be too rigorous toward her! If I were to do anything here, I would prefer to quarrel, become angry—but this silent, objective denunciation! No! No! No! I could not, I cannot, I will not, I will not do it for anything. No! No! No! I could despair over these written symbols, standing there alongside each other cold and like idle street-loafers, and the one "no" says no more than the next. You should hear how my passion inflects them. Would that I stood beside you, that I could tear myself from you with the last "no" as Don Giovanni did from the Commandatore, whose hand was no colder than the good sense with which you irresistibly sweep me off my feet. And yet, if I stood face to face with you, I would hardly say more than one "no," because before I got any further you no doubt would interrupt me with the cold response: Yes, yes. What I did was very mediocre and clumsy. Go ahead and laugh at me.
    • Søren Kierkegaard, Repetition (1843), Letters from the Young Man, August 15 – January 13

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