La clemenza di Tito


21/06/2020 - 28/06/2020

La clemenza di Tito

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The plot? Ten years ago, four Roman soldiers (friends bound by a sacred oath) returned from the war in Palestine. Since then, one of them has succeeded his father as emperor and the others have been elevated to positions of trust around the throne. Public opinion is urging the new emperor (Tito) to take a bride to ensure the dynasty. All his attempts to impose Berenice, the Queen of Palestine, as his wife have failed. Tito bows to the will of the people and dismisses his "Jewish mistress". Vitellia, daughter of the deposed Emperor Vitellius, is ready to do anything to take her "legitimate" place on the throne. And Rome becomes a powder keg ready to explode...

This last composition by Mozart for the stage was commissioned as part of the celebrations of the coronation of the new Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia in Prague on September 6, 1791. He had already been crowned King of Hungary in Bratislava on November 15, 1790 and invested as Duke of Brabant in Brussels on June 30, 1791. These were momentous ceremonies in a context troubled by revolutionary echoes.

Metastasio wrote the libretto as a "mirror for the princes". A historical parable for a contemporary head of state, not so that he could see who he was, but so that he could see who he might become. It was set to music some forty times. Only one version is still on stage today.


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