Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant, is keeping a lookout while his master is enjoying himself with Donna Anna. Anna calls for help. Her father, the commendatore, challenges Don Giovanni to a duel, in the course of which he dies.
In the meantime, Donna Anna has fetched her fiancé Don Ottavio and returns to find her father’s body. She makes Ottavio swear to avenge the commendatore’s death.
Don Giovanni is looking for his next adventure. He recognises the lady he is approaching as Donna Elvira, who is pursuing him after he has abandoned her. He leaves it to Leporello to mollify the offended Elvira. Leporello shows her the catalogue of Don Giovanni’s love affairs.
At a wedding among the peasantry, Don Giovanni pays court to the bride, Zerlina, and invites the wedding party to his palace. Leporello’s job is to distract the jealous bridegroom Masetto. Donna Elvira prevents Giovanni from seducing Zerlina. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio ask Giovanni to help them find the commendatore’s murderer. Elvira warns them about Giovanni; he tells them she is not in her right mind. Anna and Ottavio become mistrustful.
Finally, Anna recognises Giovanni as her father’s murderer and once again challenges the hesitant Ottavio to take revenge. Zerlina asks Masetto to forgive her. At the party in the palace, however, Don Giovanni continues his seduction of Zerlina. Masetto’s jealousy increases. Donna Elvira, Donna Anna and Don Ottavio mingle with the wedding guests, disguised by masks. Zerlina cries for help, alarming the other guests. Giovanni accuses Leporello of being Zerlina’s attacker. The atmosphere becomes increasingly threatening. The pursuit of the murderer is under way.
Leporello wants to leave his master, but is persuaded by him to remain. Giovanni changes clothes with Leporello in order to seduce Donna Elvira’s maid. Leporello, dressed as Don Giovanni, is to amuse himself with Donna Elvira. She is willingly
taken in by the deception. Meanwhile Masetto has gathered together a group of armed peasants and is on the search for Don Giovanni, who pretends to be Leporello and sends them off in all different directions. He remains alone with Masetto and thrashes him. Zerlina finds Masetto and is reconciled with him.
Leporello, still in Don Giovanni’s clothes, tries to escape from Donna Elvira, and comes upon Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto. Donna Elvira begs them to have mercy on her beloved spouse. Leporello reveals his identity and makes use of the resulting confusion to make his escape. Don Ottavio once again affirms that he will take revenge on Don Giovanni.
Donna Elvira remains behind alone: in spite of all the harm he has done her, she still loves Don Giovanni and is anxious for his fate. Don Giovanni and Leporello meet in a graveyard. Don Giovanni boasts of his adventures. The statue of the commendatore approaches him and speaks. Don Giovanni invites the commendatore to have supper with him.
Don Ottavio asks Donna Anna for her hand in marriage, but she rejects him. Donna Elvira warns Don Giovanni about his impending doom. The commendatore appears and tries to persuade Don Giovanni to repent and change his ways. But Don Giovanni has no regrets and must therefore go to hell. The conclusion is drawn by all: “This is what happens to those who do evil”.