The Stone Guest is an opera by Alexander Dargomyzhsky from a libretto taken almost verbatim from Alexander Pushkin's play of the same name which had been written in blank verse and which forms part of his collection Little Tragedies.
It was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg, 16 February 1872.
According to the composer's wishes, the last few lines of tableau 1 were composed by Cesar Cui, and the whole was orchestrated by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Many years later, Rimsky-Korsakov revised his own orchestration of the opera, rewrote a few of Dargomyzhsky's own original passages, and added an orchestral prelude. This version, completed in 1903 and first performed in 1907 at the Bolshoi Theatre, is now considered the standard version.
Opera in two acts
Don Juan, banished from Madrid for killing the Commander de Solva, has secretly returned. Accompanied by his servant Leporello, he hides near a monastery outside Madrid. Remembering his past affairs, he plans to get in the city to continue his adventures. The Monk tells him that Doña Anna, the widow of the Commander, visits the cemetery every day. Don Juan sees Doña Anna and feels an urge to get to know her.
Laura is having a party; many of the guests are people she never met before. She entertains them with singing. One of the songs is based on a poem by Don Juan, Laura’s former lover. The quick-tempered Don Carlos gets enraged, which almost ruins the conspiring guests’ plan. Laura resumes her singing, but it it clear to her that the guests did not come to hear her songs. Laura makes everyone but Don Carlos leave. Him she seduces and thus learns that there is a conspiracy against Don Juan. Presently Don Juan appears.
Don Carlos insists that the inevitable duel should take place on the spot. Don Juan kills Don Carlos. Laura shows Don Juan a list of conspirators. Their privacy is violated by the conspirators’s assault, but Don Juan manages to escape.
Don Juan hides in the monastery disguised as a hermit. Doña Anna comes there every day to visit her husband’s grave. Don Juan introduces himself to her as Don Diego. Doña Anna agrees to receive him at her place the next day. Leporello tries to warn his master by hinting that the Commander's death was not forgiven and that the trap is set. Don Juan challenges his fate: he invites the Commander, an embodiment of the tyranny and total control, to join him on his next day’s rendezvous. Leporello begs forgiveness for his betrayal, because it is clear for him now that Don Juan knows it was he who brought the conspirators to Laura’s.
A room at Doña Anna’s. She spent a night with Don Juan, but now he has to leave her. Unable to conceal the truth any longer, he confesses that he killed her husband and that he loves her with all his heart. Doña Anna cannot hate him; instead she realizes that she loves him in return. Don Juan aspires for a new rendezvous, but the men of ‘the stone guest’ have already tracked him down. Not surrendering, Don Juan extends his hand to them as a token of love and freedom. They kill him.
The Stone Guest
on the schedule
1 Teatralnaya ploschad (1 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia
4/2 Teatralnaya ploschad (4/2 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia