Don Giovanni (or Opera in 21 Syllables)

  Don Giovanni clerihew

Don Giovanni ( is one of Mozart’s best known operas, and is based on the legend of Don Juan ( in which a rake and libertine gets his metaphysical comeuppance — as you would — by being dragged to hell by the graveyard statue of a man he murdered. 

Don Giovanni’s scorecard of women seduced, as voiced by his servant Leporello, numbers: 

Italy: 640
Germany: 231
France: 100
Turkey: 91
Spain: 1003

…which today would probably put him in the same league as a minor sports star or pop music idol. 

George Gordon, Lord Byron (, put a different spin on his (unfinished) version of the legend of Don Juan by making the hero something of an innocent abroad. An interesting note, says Wikipedia, is that Byron’s epic poem marks the first appearance in print of the saying “Truth is stranger than fiction”.

Today’s rather odd quotation by Tom Stoppard (b.1937) could be applied equally to Mozart as well as Beethoven…  “If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.”

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