Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mozart's Last Opera, La Clemenza di Tito

courtesy of Wikipedia

Constanza Mozart is pregnant and resting at a spa; Wolfgang is in the midst of the completion of The Magic Flute and into this hectic time comes a commission from Prague and Mozart benefits because Salieri is too busy! And as the commissioner explains, the clock is ticking. Arguments vary as to just how astonishing Mozart's response is; some say he completed the work in eighteen days. Others say perhaps two months or (as I suspect) about six - seven weeks; mid July to late August. The opera premieres in either case September 6,1791. As they say, you can't make these things up ...

In this,these final years of life 1789-91  he has also written two great instrumental masterworks: the Clarinet Quintet and the great Concerto for Clarinet, the opera comes between the two. These inspired by the superb instrumentalist Anton Stadler. With the prospect of now doubling his Viennese fee for The Magic Flute, Mozart plunges into the composition of La Clemenza di Tito. An unforeseen trilogy of works will bear Stadler's imprint as Mozart inserts within the opera two virtuoso arias for soprano, with clarinet or basset horn again inspired by the clarinetist's playing.
                                       Parto, parto ma tu ben mio,
                                           meco ritorna in pace ;
                                                      I go, but my beloved,
                                                           make peace with me once more ;
                                                     Non piu di fiori
                                                         vaghe catene
                                                                        No longer will Hymen
                                                                           descend to weave
                                                                               lovely garlands
                                                                                   of flowers
It is I think fitting that we present La Clemenza after Ernani. We encounter two worlds of sensibility, Verdi's Romantic world of tragic vengeance and Mozart's hymn to the Age of Reason and the Dream of the Enlightenment. Two noblemen are presented with both a choice and an opportunity; to yield to the baser instincts or transcend themselves and we receive two very different responses. Our Emperor of Rome is entangled in a both political and emotional choice. He is to marry and chooses a woman loved by a friend. At the same time, a woman who believes she should be Empress goads her lover (the same friend) to assassinate the Emperor. The Emperor learning of the love of Servilia and Annio withdraws the marriage proposal and in fact chooses Vitellia. She has, thinking herself betrayed by his earlier choice of another convinces Sesto, who loves her and is the Emperor's friend to kill him and burn down the capitol. What must the Emperor now do and what informs his choices ? Political action, emotional upheaval, the fate of the state and moral examination meet with a most unforeseen outcome ...   

courtesy of Wikipedia

 Please join us for this Saturday Afternoon at the Opera presentation of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, in a recording new to the library and a cast that includes: Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Sophie von Otter, McNair and Julia Varady with John Eliot Gardiner directing his English Baroque Solists and the Monteverdi Choir. It all starts at noon here on KPAC and KTXI.

by Ron Moore

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