La clemenza di Tito

“House of Cards” at the Whitsun Festival

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15.05.2024 17:00
Director Robert Carsen stages Mozart's opera "La clemenza di Tito" as a major political thriller that could hardly be more topical.

La clemenza di Tito" is not only the last opera that Mozart composed in his lifetime, but also the one that has the persistent reputation of being old-fashioned and backward. This is often blamed on the libretto, which is about the Roman Emperor Titus and his almost infinite mercy. But when you blow the dust off the cover, a highly topical political thriller emerges.

"It's impossible not to think of events in recent history here," remarked director Robert Carsen at the Whitsun Festival terrace talk. A woman (Vitellia) who would walk over dead bodies to regain her right to rule, a Capitol in flames and numerous intriguing machinations read like the plot of an episode of the American hit series "House of Cards", which is not to say that Carsen is now moving the action to Washington in 2021. "For me, the focus is on the question of politically correct action. It's about power, which Vitellia claims for herself against the backdrop of her own trauma," says Carsen.

"It's impossible not to think of events from recent history here," says Robert Carsen about the plot. (Bild: Jan Friese)
"It's impossible not to think of events from recent history here," says Robert Carsen about the plot.

Musically, the opera is no less exciting, especially because of its cast at Pentecost. The artistic director Cecilia Bartoli has taken on her first staged Sesto. Mozart originally wrote the role for a castrato, but it was taken on by a mezzo-soprano at the Prague premiere in 1791. Perfect for Bartoli.

She sang the role for the first time in a CD recording in 1994, then let it rest for almost 30 years before taking it up again three years ago for a concert performance at the Whitsun Festival. It will make its staged debut with director Robert Carsen, which will also be the first staged Mozart opera of his career in Salzburg for conductor Gianluca Capuano. We can also look forward to the performance of the title role by tenor Daniel Behle, who can certainly be called one of the most accomplished Mozart voices at the moment.

Larissa Schütz

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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