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16 Aug 2005

Mitridate, Re di Ponto at Salzburg

Music Versus Theater

Letter From Salzburg

By Jay Nordlinger [NY Sun, 16 August 2005]

SALZBURG, Austria - The festival's production of Mozart's "Mitridate" is so odd, it tries to negate the singing and playing. But the singing and playing on Saturday night were so good, the production had no chance.

"Mitridate" is Mozart's first "opera seria," composed in 1770, when the composer was 14 years old. It is early Mozart, yes (although there is earlier - much). But given the composer's absurdly brief life, can we really say there is "late" Mozart? In keeping with its genre, "Mitridate" consists of recitative and aria, recitative and aria, for hours on end. Every character in the drama has his turn at bat. And everyone in Saturday night's cast stepped up to the plate.

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