«MUSICOLOGICA OLOMUCENSIA VII Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci Olomouc 2005 The present volume was submitted to print on 6 April 2005. Dieser Band ...»
Klementinum we ﬁnd a microﬁlm of the same under sign. MV 21), the orchestra had the following instruments at its disposal: two ﬂutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A, two bassoons, two French horns in D, two clarions in D, three trombones, timpani in D–A, mandolin, violins, violas, cellos and contrabass. A cembalo was also necessary for the accompaniment of recitative.
Although we cannot say for sure exactly which instrumentalists took part in performing Don Giovanni, the participation of two particular musicians is very likely: Anton Grams (1752–1823), and Jan Josef Strobach (1731–1794). This is, of course,only a hypothesis, based on indirect evidence: namely the circumstantial evidence that both of these men were present in Prague in 1787 and that their previous and following musical cultural activities are known. Anton Grams came to Prague after ﬁnishing his studies at the university in Vratislav. Here he perfected his skills by continuing to study violoncello and contrabass. As a contrabass player, he applied his skills in the Prague theater world as early as the mid-1770s. In 1784, he was a member of the Archbishop’s ensemble in Salzburg, returning to Prague by 1787. It is therefore reasonable to assume that he also took active part as a contrabassist in the Prague premiere of Don Giovanni.
His musical cultural activity in Prague was broader than only this, however. He opened his own copymaking workshop involved in the distribution of Mozart’s works. At ﬁrst he was selling works produced by other copiers, for example, Jan Křtitel Kuchař.5 Unfortunately, evidence of Grams’s copymaking workshop does not exist, not even the dates of its existence are known to provide us a clue of their existence. The last known copy is the sheet music of La Clemenza di Tito, produced in 1791. In 1793, Grams became the orchestra conductor for the theater company of Franz Spengler, which performed, thanks to Grams, the Prague premiere of The Theater Director on 27 April 1794.6 Between 1795 and 1797, Grams took the place of the director of the patriotic U Hybernů Theater, where the repertoire of Mozart was being promoted.7 It was at this location that, on 10 March 1796, The Putative Lady Gardener had its Prague premiere. At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, Anton Grams left for Vienna. He later made his presence felt in Esterházy. We even have proof of his literary activity, as represented by his contribution to the Brnobased Allgemeines Europäisches Journal in the ﬁrst year of its existence, 1794.
Another signiﬁcant Prague personality, who in all probability actively participated in the Prague performance of Don Giovanni, was Jan Josef Strobach. He served as choir director in many Prague churches, including the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in the Lesser Quarter. Strobach was also the concertmaster of the Italian opera company that presented the Prague premiere of The Marriage of Figaro in 1786. He established personal contact See Tomislav Volek, “The Mozart Man Anton Grams,” Hudební věda, 4 (1991): 321–324. Volek thinks that it was Grams himself who oﬀered, by means of a classiﬁed advertisement in the Vienna newspaper Zeitung on 6 June 1787, Kuchař’s piano arrangement of The Marriage of Figaro as well as other arrangements of that opera.
See Volek, “The Repertoire of Spengler’s Theatre Company in Prague in the Season 1793–1794,” Miscellanea musicologica, XIV (1960): 5–26.
See The History of Czech Theatre II (1969), 67.
with Mozart and it was to him that Mozart addressed a thank-you letter for producing the opera.8 Strobach even presented a performance of Rossetti’s Requiem, which was heard on 14 December 1791 in the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas. This performance, dedicated to Mozart’s memory, was presented by the operatic orchestra of Prague. During the many years of his musical activity, Strobach put together his own archive of sheet music, which later became the cornerstone of the Loreta musical collection in Prague.9 The fact that both of the aforementioned ﬁgured in Prague’s musical life, means that the Prague opera orchestra was no typical opera orchestra. It was apparently an ensemble of personalities, of whom at least some of them were musicians without servant livery.
Musicians independent of noble sponsorship could decide for themselves in accordance with their own taste and with a view to the overall demands of the society which repertoire to present. This was made possible also for the reason that at the end of the 18th century, it was not usual to practice much before a premiere. On the contrary, frequently most or all of the musicians would play with their noses buried in their music. The opera orchestra, which presented Don Giovanni in Prague, was obviously a rarity and proof of the fact that Mozart’s works were received with a lot of enthusiasm in Prague at that time.
The version of the opera that Prague got to know was later named the Prague version, while the version redone especially for Vienna – the premiere of which took place on 7 May 1788 – was referred to as Viennese. Each of these versions reveal something about the orchestras that were meant to perform them.
The Viennese version is primarily characterized by two basic elements. First of all, Mozart added some parts later on at the expense of other parts, which were removed to make way for the new changes. Also, the concept of the ending of the opera as a catharsis was changed. There are varying opinions as to which of the two versions should be considered to be the only “deﬁnitive” version, suitable, for example, for a critical edition of the work.
The diﬀerence between the Prague and Viennese concepts is most noticeably revealed by examining the added parts. The Viennese Don Ottavio, Francesco Morella, requested of Mozart that he compose a new aria to better suit his voice and singing style.
And so Mozart, hoping for a Viennese success, took out aria No. 21 “Il mio tesoro intanto” from scene X in the second act and replaced it with a new aria for the character of Don Ottavio, “Dalla sua pace,” which he inserted in place of Ottavio’s recitative in Scene XIV in the ﬁrst act, “Come mai creder deggio.” These changes with regard to singing represent the only marked intervention to the ﬁrst act of the Prague form. In the following acts, in comparison with this clear change, the number of changes make them less clear.
The ﬁrst change to the second act was made by removing Leporello’s aria “Ah pietà, signori miei” (scene IX, No. 20). The recitative “Ah, pietà...” was specially written to substitute for it. In this manner, scene IX of the Viennese version came to be made up of two recitatives.10 Further, Mozart added the recitative “Restati qua” and the duet “Per See note number 4.
See O. Pulkert, Domus Lauretana Pragensis. Catalogus collectionis operum artis musicae. (Prague, 1973).
From the original Dunque quello sei tu, which was interpreted by Zerlina, Donna Elvira, Don Ottavio and Masetto and the already mentioned Ah, pietà...compassion with Leporello and Don Ottavio.
queste tue manine,” for both Zerlina and Leporello, which were inserted instead of the recitative in scene X.11 Just as he did for Don Ottavio in Vienna, Mozart also gave in to the Viennese portrayer of Donna Elvira, Caterina Cavalieri, for whom he created the recitative “In quali eccesi, o numi” and the aria “Mi tradì quell’alma ingrata,” which are placed after the two inserted recitatives,12 which in turn follow the aforementioned duet “Per queste tue manine.” The ﬁnal Vienna version oﬀers two possible solutions. The 1788 libretto ends with the ruin of Don Giovanni in the tonic key, when Leporello cries out at bar 596. From this fact we can gather that Mozart, for some time prior to the Vienna premiere, to the extent that he was able to inﬂuence the printed version of the libretto, was counting on removing the ﬁnal scene altogether. The second solution meant crossing out bars 689–749, as is also noted in Mozart’s manuscript. In their place, the composer wrote a new passage, which he then found a place for in the same manuscript.
Creation of a Viennese version meant a thorough reorganization of scenes IX–XIII of the second act. In order to preserve the ﬂow of the action, several dramaturgic modiﬁcations were necessary. For example, in scene X, Zerlina and Masetto leave prematurely, so that the reappearance of Zerlina, this time with Leporello, would logically result. This particular moment disturbs the entire atmosphere of the opera as a whole.13 In addition to being performed in Prague, where Don Giovanni remained a permanent part of the repertoire until 1807 and Vienna, where this opera was played a total of ﬁfteen times in the period from its premiere to its ﬁnal performance on 15 December 1788, the opera also appeared in the 18th century in Leipzig, Warsaw, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin and Munich. Leipzig became acquainted with Mozart’s Don Giovanni on 5 June 1788, followed by Warsaw in the autumn of 1789. In both cities, the Italian Bondini company presented the opera, which was, consequently, in the Prague version.
In the 19th century, Don Giovanni was regularly played using a Singspiel approach.
Insensitive encroachments upon the original form are represented by, for example, the Parisian rendition in the year 1805, which featured even such striking changes such as diﬀerent characters, a diﬀerent number of acts, slightly altered recitatives and an added ballet.
And so four recitatives followed one after the other, two from scene IX (see footnote No. 10), a further one from scene X, that being “Ferma, perﬁdo, ferma” (Dona Elvira, Masetto, Zerlina, Don Ottavio), which remained isolated here after the removal of Ottavio’s aria, and the newly composed recitative “Restati qua” for Zerlina and Leporello.
The recitatives referred to are Leporello’s “Amico, per pietà” and “Andiam, andiam, signora” for Zerlina, Donna Elvira and Masetto.
On the duet “Per queste tue manine”, Volek writes: This concession on the part of the author to the poor taste of a part of the Viennese audience really degrades this work; Zerlina, armed with a knife, drags Leporello onstage
by his hair and ties him up. At the same time both of them are cursing like sailors and Zerlina threatens him:
”With these hands I will rip out your heart and throw it to the dogs”. When Zerlina goes oﬀ to get Masetto, Leporello rips out the windowframe, to which he has been tied together with the chair he was sitting on, then escapes, dragging these two props on his back. See Volek, “The Signiﬁcance of the Prague Operatic Tradition for the Birth of Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni,” Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Prague (Prague, 1987), 86.
Similarly, even in Prague after the departure of the Bondini opera company in 1807, each further staging meant surprising deviations. In its singspiel form, Don Giovanni was staged on 15 January 1814 by Carl Maria Weber himself. The Czech translation by Jan Nepomuk Štěpánek is also based on the Singspiel version. And so throughout the 19th century, Don Giovanni was performed in the original only twice – 12 May 1842 and 29 October 1887 – both times at the Nostitz Theatre, now known as the Estates Theater.
While the operatic version of Don Giovanni was marked by various contradictory encroachments, the music itself lived, not only in the original, but also in the form of purposefully nonoperatic arrangements, which played a big role in contributing to the fulﬁllment of esthetic and business demands of the period. Because the ﬁrst printed sheet music for Don Giovanni was not issued until 1801 by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, these arrangements became, as a speciﬁc form of musical existence, one of the characteristic traits of musical production at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. The arrangements were considered to be of full value and a respected form of adaptation of the original work even in spite of the fact that it was a matter of a type of working with foreign material. All distribution of Don Giovanni at the end of the 18th century concentrated itself upon Mozart’s original manuscript, on copied accompanying material and particularly on arrangements.
Arrangements of Don Giovanni
Even though there was even greater publishing interest in German-speaking countries in the last two Mozart operas, La Clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberﬂöte,14 even Don Giovanni began to appear relatively frequently at the turn of the 18th an 19th centuries. In the number of its piano arrangements, it actually surpassed both of the operas mentioned.
The ﬁrst piano arrangement of Don Giovanni was published by Simrock in Bonn as early as 1793.
In the Czech lands there was exceptional interest in the opera naturally caused by high expectations. Probably immediately following his arrival in Prague in early October 1787, Mozart lent his manuscript to Jan Křtitel Kuchař,15 who did a piano arrangement of it, which was the ﬁrst arrangement of this opera ever.16 This state of aﬀairs is explained by two facts. First of all, the period of their origin overlaps with the period of the greatest ﬂowering of arrangements, consequently with the period of greatest demand. Second of all, the operas which are best known today – Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro – were only known to a broader audience in the Czech lands. K. G. Fellerer explains: Zunächst erschien der Idomeneo als Mozarts bedeutendstes Werk, allgemein bekannt als Opernkomponisten aber machte ihn erst die Zauberﬂöte.
Don Giovanni und Figaro waren nur einem kleinen Kreis erschlossen, wenn auch in Prag Mozart sich eines Erfolgs, wie ihn Martins Cosa rara in Wien fand, erfreuen durfte. See K. G. Fellerer, “Mozart im Wandel der Musikauﬀasung,” Mozart-Jahrbuch 1956 (Salzburg, 1957): 143–153.
While the ﬁrst act of Kuchař’s piano arrangement is characterized by the absence of most of the recitatives as well as the aria “Ho capito,” which at the same time is missing from early copies of Mozart’s manuscript, the second act, unlike the ﬁrst, contains all the arias and recitatives found in the Prague version.