Dramma Giocoso in 2 acts - 1787
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte

The master-servant relationship is another constant of the Da Ponte trilogy. In Le nozze, Susanna and Figaro direct the action precipitated by the desirous figure of Cherubino. Figaro
measures the space allotted to him while singing of his fierce urge to push back the boundaries. As for Leporello, he keeps count of the conquests. Each of them must run from one extreme of aristocratic love affairs to the other. But who is dependent on whom during these affairs ? Lackeys, flunkeys, chambermaids, domestics of every variety are the political conscience of opera. Ever since the era of the Venetian librettists, such as the splendid Busenello, they have had a critical eye and a viper’s tongue; they are fooled by nothing and see everything.
Leporello is the seducer’s double and his whipping boy. He is, above all, the scribe of the extraordinary catalogue, the enticing recitation of which also reveals a furious desire to act in the same way. In their letters, the hacks who turn out operatic texts, like Lorenzo Da Ponte, give us an insight into how such characters originate. Because librettists, constantly forced to place themselves at the service of some important personage in order to earn a living, are familiar with the humiliations of a servant in their everyday existence? There was no factotum’s life more bitter than that of Da Ponte in Vienna, unless it be Mozart’s in the Salzburg of the vicious Archbishop Colloredo. It is scarcely surprising that, under their criss-crossing pens, aristocrats totter on their pedestals and codified love so thirsts for transgression.

Don Giovanni / Mozart

September 6, 2017
Live recording

Dramma Giocoso in 2 acts - 1787
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte

The master-servant relationship is another constant of the Da Ponte trilogy. In Le nozze, Susanna and Figaro direct the action precipitated by the desirous figure of Cherubino. Figaro
measures the space allotted to him while singing of his fierce urge to push back the boundaries. As for Leporello, he keeps count of the conquests. Each of them must run from one extreme of aristocratic love affairs to the other. But who is dependent on whom during these affairs ? Lackeys, flunkeys, chambermaids, domestics of every variety are the political conscience of opera. Ever since the era of the Venetian librettists, such as the splendid Busenello, they have had a critical eye and a viper’s tongue; they are fooled by nothing and see everything.
Leporello is the seducer’s double and his whipping boy. He is, above all, the scribe of the extraordinary catalogue, the enticing recitation of which also reveals a furious desire to act in the same way. In their letters, the hacks who turn out operatic texts, like Lorenzo Da Ponte, give us an insight into how such characters originate. Because librettists, constantly forced to place themselves at the service of some important personage in order to earn a living, are familiar with the humiliations of a servant in their everyday existence? There was no factotum’s life more bitter than that of Da Ponte in Vienna, unless it be Mozart’s in the Salzburg of the vicious Archbishop Colloredo. It is scarcely surprising that, under their criss-crossing pens, aristocrats totter on their pedestals and codified love so thirsts for transgression.