Major Operas | The Stone Guest by Alexander Dargomïzhsky | High Romantic

Composed: 1866–69, completed by Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov 1870
Premiered: 1872, St Petersburg
Libretto set directly to Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin’s verse tragedy

Act I

Don Juan has been exiled from Madrid for murdering Don Alvaro, the commander. He has now returned in secret, accompanied by his servant Leporello, to see an old flame, the actress Laura. While he is standing outside a monastery, an old monk tells him that the commander’s beautiful widow, Donna Anna, visits her husband’s grave there every evening. He waits to catch a glimpse of her, hidden behind her veil, and vows to woo her. Laura is entertaining her admirers with songs. One of them is Don Carlos, the commander’s brother, who reminds her of Don Juan. After she has dismissed the other guests to be alone with Don Carlos, Don Juan himself enters. Don Carlos challenges him to a duel and is killed, leaving Don Juan to seduce Laura.

Act II

Don Juan disguises himself as a monk and waits for Donna Anna in the monastery beside the statue of the commander. When she appears he woos her with protestations of love, until she finally agrees to an assignation at her house the following evening. After she has left Don Juan instructs Leporello to invite the statue to guard the door of the house while he is there. The statue nods in assent and they flee in terror.


Next evening Don Juan reveals his identity to Donna Anna and swears he loves her. Even though this is her husband’s murderer, she cannot resist. She kisses him as a token of forgiveness and they agree to meet tomorrow. The statue appears at the doorway, as invited. It seizes Don Juan by the hand and drags him down to hell.

Personalities | Alexander Dargomïzhsky | High Romantic | Opera


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