Saturday, 27 September 2008

167. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - La Clemenza di Tito (1791)


Title: La Clemenza di Tito
Performers: Anne Sofie von Otter, Julia Varady, English Baroque Soloists etc.
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1990
Length: 2 hours 10 minutes


1791 was a busy year for Mozart, two operas, the small but beautiful Ave Verum Corpus, the 27th Piano Concerto, the Clarinet Concerto, the Requiem and DEATH make for a hectic year. It was also a year of pretty good production not only in terms of quantity but also of quality.

Of the Mozart operas we have had here this is probably the least great one, but not by very much. You can tell that Mozart was on a schedule here, composing for the coronation of Leopold II (Leopold with a Vengeance!). The recitatives are quite clearly delegated to some other composer, but that permitted Mozart to shine on a couple of pretty amazing arias.

Unfortunately the speed of composition made Mozart not make the amazing set pieces of uninterrupted music that he was famous for since Le Nozze di Figaro. The end of the first act here, with Rome burning in the background is the closest he gets to that. And it is still pretty great. So, yes it is worth listening to or watching, but I don't think it ranks up there in my top 5 Mozart operas.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Metastasio's libretto had already been set by nearly 40 composers; the story is based on the life of Roman Emperor Titus, from some brief hints in The Lives of the Caesars by the Roman writer Suetonius, and was elaborated by Metastasio in 1734 for the Italian composer Antonio Caldara. Among later settings was Gluck's, in 1752; there would be three further settings after 1791. Mozart was not the first choice of Guardasoni. Instead, he had approached Antonio Salieri, who, as the most distinguished composer of Italian opera in Vienna, would provide exactly the lustre which Guardasoni sought. But Salieri was too busy and he declined the commission.

The great end of Act I:

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