New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross of The Rest Is Noise does Mozart:
In a jubilee year, when all the old Mozart myths come rising out of the ground where scholars have tried to bury them, the usefulness of “Don Giovanni” is that it puts a stake through the heart of the chocolate-box Mozart, the car-radio Mozart, the Mozart-makes-you-smarter Mozart. If the opera were played in bus stations or dentists’ waiting rooms, it would spread fear. It would probably cause perversion in infants. No matter how many times you hear the punitive D-minor chord with which the opera begins, or the glowering diminished seventh that heralds the arrival of the stone statue of the Commendatore (“Don Giovanni, you invited me to dinner, and I have come”), it generates a certain mental panic. Mozart’s harmonies of disaster are all the more terrifying because they break through the frame of what purports to be a saucy comedy about an aristocratic seducer — a successor to “Figaro.” The fact that “Figaro” is actually quoted in the score — “Non più andrai” is one of the airs that the Don enjoys at dinner, just before the Commendatore arrives — suggests that Mozart is consciously subverting his reputation as a supplier of ambient musical pleasure.
“Don Giovanni,” which is many people’s choice for the greatest opera ever written, ends with something like a humble gesture: it dissolves its own aura of greatness. Having marched us to the brink of Heaven and Hell, Mozart abruptly pulls us back, implying that, in the manner of Shakespeare’s epilogues, all is show, a pageant melting into air. “I’m just the composer, I don’t have any answers,” he seems to say. “Life goes on!” And he walks away at a rapid pace, his red coat flapping behind him.