Thursday, October 29, 1987

200 years ago: Mozart’s Don Giovanni first performed

Last updated 11/16/2020.

Il dissoluto punito, ossia il
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)


Composed: 1787


First Performed: October 29, 1787


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classical > opera


Parts/Movements:

  1. Overture, Andante

Act I

  1. Introduzione ("Notte e giorno faticar")
  2. Recitative & Duet ("Ma qual mai s'offre, oh Dei, spettacolo funesto... Fuggi, crudele, fuggi")
  3. Aria ("Ah! chi mi dice mai")
  4. Aria ("Madamina! Il catalogo e questo")
  5. Duet with Chorus ("Giovinette che fate all' amore")
  6. Aria ("Ho capito, Signor, si")
  7. Duet ("La ci darem la mano, la mi dirai di si")
  8. Aria ("Ah, fuggi il traditor")
  9. Quartet ("Non ti fidar, o misera")
  10. Recitative & Aria ("Don Ottavio, son morta!... Or sai chi l'onore")
  11. Aria ("Dalla sua pace la mia dipende")
  12. Aria ("Finch' han dal vino calda la testa")
  13. Aria ("Batti, batti, o bel Masetto, la tua povera Zerlina")
  14. Finale ("Presto, presto! priach' ei venga, por mi vo'")

Act II

  1. Duet ("Eh via buffone, eh via buffone")
  2. Trio ("Ah, taci ingiusto core")
  3. Canzonetta ("Deh, vieni alla finestra")
  4. Aria ("Metà di voi quà vadano")
  5. Aria ("Vedrai, carino, se sei buonino")
  6. Sextet ("Sola, sola in buio loco palpitar")
  7. Aria ("Ah, pieta, signori miei! Ah, pieta, pieta")
  8. Aria ("Il mio tesoro intanto")
  9. Recitative & Aria ("In qualieccessi, o Numi... Mi tradi quell' alma ingrata, quell' alma ingrata")
  10. Duet ("O statua gentilissima")
  11. Recitative & Aria ("Crudele! Ah no, mio bene... Non mi dir, bell' idol mio")
  12. Finale ("Gia la mensa e preparata")


Average Length: 164:20

Rating:

4.465 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)


Quotable: --


Awards:

About the Album:

Don Giovanni is a two-act opera was billed at the time as “drama giocoso”, which refers to a mix of serious and comedic action. WK It tells the story of seducing legend Don Juan (“Don Giovanni” in Italian) and how he is destroyed by his excesses. WK

Mozart was in Prague during the first couple months of 1787 to attend and conduct performances of several works, most notably Le nozze di Figaro, his most recent opera. While there, he was commissioned to create a new opera by impresario Pasquale Bondini. JH

It premiered in Prague on October 29, 1787. Reports suggest Mozart didn’t complete the work until that day or the day before. WK It was well-received, as was generally the case for Mozart’s work in Prague. The Prager Oberamtszeitung reported, “Connoisseurs and musicians say that Prague has never heard the like.” WK By contrast, reviews of the opera’s first Vienna performances in 1788 “suggested mild dissatisfaction with the work’s extended length and unnecessary plot elaborations.” JH According to Operabase, it is the seventh most-performed opera worldwide. WK

The final score used double woodwinds, horns, trumpets, timpani, and strings. WK He used three onstage ensembles for a ballroom dance scene at the end of the first act. WK In addition, “Mozart creates levels of dramatic expression through recitativo secco, recitative accompagnato, and aria styles…Recitativo accompagnato is reserved for moments of great emotion, in which the accompanying orchestra virtually assumes a dramatic role. In Act Two, Scene Ten (d), the orchestra virtually speaks for the conflicted Donna Elvira… conveying her rage and slurred couplets giving musical voice to her sighs.” JH

“The dramatically stagnant da capo aria that was the mainstay of the operas of George Friedrich Handel is virtually absent from Don Giovanni. Leporello’s so-called ‘catalog aria’ (Madamina, il catalogo è questo) in Act One, Scene Five, for example, suggests both through-composed and bi-partite formal elements. Some arias in Don Giovanni, however, such as Don Ottavio’s Act One, Scene Fourteen aria (Dalla sue pace), contain traces of the ternary form idea of returning to beginning material after a section of contrasting music. Donna Elvira’s aria in Act Two, Scene Ten(d) (Mi tradì quell'alma ingrate) juxtaposes ternary and rondo form ideas, reinforcing through musical form Donna Elvira’s returning to the same position of pity and longing for Don Giovanni.” JH

“In keeping with the function of the opera overture to introduce the opera’s important themes, the music that begins the overture, marked by alternations between the D minor tonic and its dominant, returns in the Commendatore’s scene in Act Two, Scene Fifteen. The drama of this scene is set in relief by the light use popular music in the preceding party scene, where the on-stage musicians play melodies from arias by Martín y Soler, Sarti, and even Mozart’s own Le nozze di Figaro during Don Giovanni’s party. Don Giovanni’s canzonetta (Deh, vieni alla fenestra, o mio Tesoro) in Act Two, Scene Three, an airy strophic song scored for pizzicato strings and mandolin, is a similarly witty musical juxtaposition of planes of realism.” JH

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Monday, October 12, 1987

INXS released Kick

First posted 5/31/2008; updated 10/24/2020.

Kick

INXS


Released: October 12, 1987


Peak: 3 US, 9 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.9 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: new wave/college rock


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Guns in the Sky
  2. New Sensation (1/9/88, 3 US, 3 CB, 2 RR, 8 AR, 2 CO, 25 UK, 11 CN, 9 AU)
  3. Devil Inside (12/26/87, 2 US, 2 CB, 3 RR, 2 AR, 4 CO, 47 UK, 3 CN, 6 AU)
  4. Need You Tonight (10/24/87, 11 US, 11 CB, 11 RR, 73 RB, 12 AR, 1 CO, 2 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU)
  5. Mediate
  6. The Loved One
  7. Wild Life
  8. Never Tear Us Apart (6/25/88, 7 US, 8 CB, 6 RR, 42 AC, 5 AR, 2 CO, 28 MR, 24 UK, 9 CN, 11 AU)
  9. Mystify (12/17/88, 17 AR, 11 CO, 14 UK, 5 CN)
  10. Kick (6/18/88, 33 AR, 30 CO)
  11. Calling All Nations
  12. Tiny Daggers


Total Running Time: 39:12


The Players:

  • Michael Hutchence (vocals)
  • Tim Farriss (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Kirk Pengilly (saxophone, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
  • Garry Gary Beers (bass)
  • Jon Farriss (drums, percussion)
  • Andrew Farriss (synthesizers, drum machine, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)

Rating:

4.367 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)


Quotable: “One of the best mainstream pop albums of the ‘80s” – Steve Huey, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“Throughout the early 1980s, INXS kept threatening to go big league;” MR “‘What You Need’ had taken INXS from college radio into the American Top Five, but there was little indication that the group would follow it with a multi-platinum blockbuster like Kick. SH The album “fused the funk and soul of The Swing with the mainstream rock of Listen Like Thieves.” WK The band “set out to make an album that did not share any musical formula with other hits of the time.” WK

The result was an album which created multiple hits in its time. “Where the follow-ups to ‘What You Need’ made barely a ripple on the pop charts, Kick spun off four Top Ten singles.” SH The success of that song had given Hutchence and Andrew Farris, the primary songwriters, “the confidence and optimism to pen bigger material.” WK As Kirk Pengilly said, “We wanted an album where all the songs were possible singles.” WK

They succeeded. The lead single, Need You Tonight, became the band’s sole chart-topper in the United States. The song, paired with Mediate, also made for a hugely successful and iconic video which took home five MTV video awards, including Video of the Year. The songs also showcased the diversity of the album in its lyrical themes. While the former was dripping in sexuality, the latter tackled social concerns such as apartheid.

Follow-up singles would continue to cement that. Devil Inside, , which just missed out on the top spot, peaking at #2, was about “a life of excess” WK and New Sensation was about a party lifestyle, but “the shimmering ballad Never Tear Us ApartMR was about “an instant connection between two people who formed an unending bond.” WK Musically, the song was originally “a piano ballad having no orchestral structure at all.” WK

“The rest of Kick, especially the strutting Guns in the Sky and the groovy Wild Life, is of similar quality.” MR The album “crystallized all of the band’s influences” SH – “Stones-y guitars and angular, funk-tinged rhythms” MR alongside “contemporary dance-pop – into a cool, stylish dance/rock hybrid.” SH “Hutchence’s MTV good looks and Aretha-meets-Aerosmith swagger completed the musical equation for both the girls and the boys.” MR Also putting the band in the spotlight was Hutchence’s “feline sexuality, which certainly didn’t hurt the band’s already inventive videos.” SH

“But it wasn’t just image that provided their breakthrough. For the first (and really only) time, INXS made a consistently solid album that had no weak moments from top to bottom. More than that, really, Kick is an impeccably crafted pop tour de force, the band succeeding at everything they try. Every track has at least a subtly different feel from what came before it; INXS freely incorporates tense guitar riffs, rock & roll anthems, swing-tinged pop/rock, string-laden balladry, danceable pop-funk, horn-driven ‘60s soul, ‘80s R&B, and even a bit of the new wave-ish sound they’d started out with. More to the point, every song is catchy and memorable, branded with indelible hooks. Even without the band’s sense of style, the flawless songcraft is intoxicating, and it’s what makes Kick one of the best mainstream pop albums of the ‘80s.” SH


Notes: The 2002 reissue adds and alternate of “Mystify” as well as the songs “Move On,” “Jesus Was a Man,” and “The Trap.” A 2005 deluxe edition adds a whole second disc of bonus material, including the aforementioned material as well as the songs “I’m Coming Home” and “On the Rocks;” remixes of “New Sensation,” “Guns in the Sky,” and “Need You Tonight;” and live versions of “Mediate,” “Never Tear Us Apart,” and “Kick.”

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