Placido Domingo to conduct Don Giovanni 230 years after its world premiere in Prague

Placido Domingo, photo: CTK

The world renowned opera singer Placido Domingo is to conduct two performances of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague in October to mark 230 years since Mozart himself conducted the premiere of this famous opera in the very same opera house. Domingo visited Prague this week to launch preparations for the cultural event of the year.

Placido Domingo,  photo: CTK
No other famous opera is so closely linked to Prague as Don Giovanni. Mozart wrote the opera for Prague and himself conducted its world premiere at the Estates Theatre on October 29, 1787. It was a special favour to Prague audiences where his music traditionally got a more enthusiastic reception than in Vienna. The premiere was a huge success and Mozart is quoted as having said “My Praguers understand me.”

230 years later Prague is preparing to mark the anniversary in grand style at the Estates Theatre where it premiered. And the star at the centre of this illustrious occasion is none other than the world-famous tenor Placido Domingo. Mr. Domingo was in Prague this week to oversee the preparations for the autumn premiere, and told journalists at a press briefing he hoped Don Giovanni would give the Czech capital the cultural recognition it deserved.

Estates Theatre in Prague,  photo: Kristýna Maková
“Prague needs to be known more around the world as the city where the miracle of this masterpiece happened. But not only for the premiere of Don Giovanni, but as an unbelievable cultural city. Just the fact that Mozart selected Prague for the premiere of his Don Giovanni is amazing.”

Placido Domingo, who also has a love of Prague, reportedly himself suggested the idea of directing Don Giovanni in Prague on the occasion of the operas 230th anniversary. He will not only direct two performances of the opera, using a copy of the original score, but will act as artistic director and cultural ambassador for the event. The lead singers will be handpicked at the international contest Operalia, which Placido Domingo sponsors, and other roles will be filled by local singers whom the tenor has already started to audition.

Daniel Herman,  Placido Domingo,  photo: CTK
Culture Minister Daniel Herman, who welcomed Placido Domingo in Prague, said the upcoming Don Giovanni anniversary would be an occasion to remember.

“The return of this opera to the city it was written for, its return to the opera house where the very walls are permeated with this historic event will be an exceptional and unique experience.”