Chapter

Feminine Vengeance I: The Assailed/Assailant

Donna Anna

in Understanding the Women of Mozart's Operas

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248021
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932968 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520248021.003.0001
Feminine Vengeance I: The Assailed/Assailant

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Donna Anna responds to Giovanni's criminal trespass, vowing that she will bring him into custody or else die in the effort. It is she whose desire for vindication remains constant throughout the opera. In Don Giovanni, Donna Anna's haunted and haunting presence throughout the opera challenges spectators, performers, and scholars alike. Her dual role—as both grieving victim and clarion-voiced agent of retribution—is one of many factors that keep the opera from fitting comfortably into the comic-opera category. In most cases, the critical hostility stems from two distinct but related biases about what is appropriately “feminine” in opera. Before introducing the main proponents of the ironic, hidden-passion reading of Anna's character, this chapter considers her literary predecessors in earlier versions of the Don Juan story, some of which evidently influenced Da Ponte's libretto.

Keywords: Don Giovanni; vindication; Donna Anna; femininity; Don Juan; Da Ponte

Chapter.  13099 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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