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The Gothic Libertine: The Shadow of Don Giovanni in Romantic Music and Culture, by Thomas S. Mozart's Don Giovanni in Shaw's Comedy, Agnes Heller12. Homage to Adorno's "Homage to Zerlina," by Berthold Hoeckner14.Adorno and the Don, by Nikolaus Bacht Lydia Goehr is professor of philosophy and aesthetics at Columbia University.
Through a close and careful analysis of Don Giovanni's literary and philosophical reception and its many appropriations, rewritings, and retellings, these contributors treat the opera as a vantage point from which theory and philosophy can reconsider romanticism's central themes.
As lively and passionate as the opera itself, these essays continue the spirited debate over the meaning and character of Don Giovanni and its powerful legacy.
After this serious beginning, the opera turns to the comic.
Various practical jokes, disguises, frustrated seductions, and pranks follow.
They are startled to find the grave of Il Commendatore, crowned by his statue. The Don returns home for a sumptuous dinner and, sure enough, the statue shows up. I conceived of Don Giovanni as a hero of the Enlightenment—standing up against the church, against convention, against rigid social class, and against the idea that we should suffer here on Earth to earn a reward in Heaven. I was indignant at the staging of the performance, which seemed to depart from the text to paint the Don as a villain.
The thrilling final scene, in which Don Giovanni shows tremendous courage by standing firm in his beliefs and refusing to submit, is an emblem of heroism. When I prepared a presentation on Don Giovanni for The Atlas Society’s 2003 Summer Seminar, I looked at the project as an opportunity to lay out the facts supporting the conclusion that Don Giovanni was a hero.
The Don Giovanni Moment is the first book to examine the aesthetic and moral legacy of Mozart's opera in the literature, philosophy, and culture of the nineteenth century.
The prominent scholars in this collection address the opera's impact on the philosophical visions of Kierkegaard, Goethe, and Williams and its influence on the literary and dramatic works of Pushkin, Hoffmann, Mörike, Byron, Wagner, Strauss, and Shaw.
In particular, Don Giovanni is pursued by a distraught woman whom he has abandoned, Elvira, who manages to disrupt his seduction of other women.
At length, Don Giovanni and his servant, Leporello, escape from their latest imbroglio by jumping over a wall into a cemetery late at night. The Don makes light of Leporello's fear, inviting the statue to dinner. When I first encountered Don Giovanni 30 years ago, I was struck by the political, social, and philosophical messages in the work. I formed my first impression of Don Giovanni reading the libretto and listening to a recording of the music in preparation for seeing a live performance.