Magazine article Musical Opinion

MOZART: La Clemenza Di Tito

Magazine article Musical Opinion

MOZART: La Clemenza Di Tito

Article excerpt

MOZART: La Clemenza di Tito

Opéra National de Paris

Sylvain Cambreling: Conductor

Opus Arte OA 0942 D

2 DVDs 212'

Mozart's last opera is brought to life by Opus Arte in this 2004 production by the Opéra National de Paris, sung in Italian with subtitles. It is riveting from start to end.

Something of a one man production, this Tito is directed by Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, the latter also designed costumes, lighting and sets with Heinz Ilsanker! The conductor is Sylvain Cambreling.

By the end of July 1791 Mozart had virtually completed Die Zauberflöte and was working on the first production. A mysterious stranger arrived and commissioned a Requiem on which the composer started work, but in early August this was interrupted with the arrival of another, this time Royal commission, to compose a Festival Opera for the Coronation of Leopold 11 as King of Bohemia, which was to be staged in Prague on 6 September. The commission designated that the already well known text, written by Pietro Metastasio in 1734, and set by Antonio Caldara be used. For Prague they chose an adaptation made by Caterino Mazzolà. This was an ideal politically correct theme to introduce a new ruler and Mozart was keen to obtain Royal patronage. The Requiem was laid aside and he rushed to Prague, worked on what he wrote in the score as "a real opera" and was rewarded with tremendous enthusiasm on the opening night.

All this activity drained his energies and by the middle of September, when he was back in Vienna to put the finishing touches to and stage Die Zauberflöte on 30 September, he was already a sick man. …

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