Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in FeaturedOperas

Das Liebesverbot, Vienna 1962

Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.

Jules Massenet: Le Cid

Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts

Vincenzo Bellini: I puritani

I puritani, opera seria in three acts

Vincenzo Bellini: Zaira

Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.

G. F. Handel: Athalia

Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts

DONIZETTI: Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.

BERTIN: La Esmeralda

La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.

VERDI: Ernani — Florence 1957

Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.

von Waltershausen: Oberst Chabert

Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.

VERDI: Otello — La Scala 1954

Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.

HAHN: Le Marchand de Venise

Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.

STORACE: Gli Equivoci

Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.

MARTIN: Der Sturm

Der Sturm: Opera in three acts

PURCELL: The Fairy-Queen

The Fairy-Queen: Semi-opera in five acts.

VERDI: Macbeth — Vienna 2009

Macbeth: Melodramma in quattro parti.

WAGNER: Das Liebesverbot

Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.

VERDI: Falstaff — Wales 2008

Falstaff: Commedia lirica in three acts.

THOMAS: Hamlet — London 2003

Hamlet: Opéra in five acts.

Music composed by Ambroise Thomas. Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.

ROSSINI: Otello — Bad Wildbad 2008

Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia (‘Othello, or The Moor of Venice’): Dramma in three acts.

BERLIOZ: Béatrice et Bénédict — Paris 2009

Béatrice et Bénédict: Opéra comique in two acts

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

FeaturedOperas

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov by Valentin Serov, 1898
22 Oct 2005

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Mozart and Salieri

Mozart and Salieri, an opera in one act consisting of two scenes.

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), composer. Libretto derived from Alexander Puskhin's play of the same name.

First performance: 7 December 1898 in Moscow.

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Mozart and Salieri, Op. 48

Mark Reizen, Ivan Kozlovsky, All-Union Radio Chorus and Orchestra, Samuil Samosud, cond.

 

Characters

Salieri, bass

Mozart, tenor

Synopsis

Scene One

Salieri describes his struggle “through unremitting, concentrated effort” to achieve a high position in art, upon which Fame smiled.

And did I envy then my colleague’s works,
Their triumphs in that wondrous art? No, never!
When Piccini charmed the Paris mob,
When I first heard the opening of Gluck’s
Great Iphigenia, could any man
Have called the proud Salieri envious . . .
No, none! But now — it’s I who say it — now
I’m envious. I feel the most profound,
Tormenting envy. God in Heaven! Where
Is justice, when the sacred gift, undying
Genius, is granted not for labour,
Not for burning love, self-sacrifice,
Devotion, prayer — but illuminates
A madman’s head, an idle waster? Mozart!
Mozart!

Salieri invites Mozart to supper where he will poison him.

What is the point, if Mozart should live on,
And rise to even more exalted heights?
Will he then elevate our art? No, no —
When once he disappears, it will decline
Again, since he will leave no heirs. . .

Scene Two

Mozart and Salieri dine at a private room in an inn. Mozart appears depressed. He explains that his Requiem is troubling him, a work commissioned by a strange man in black. Mozart even imagines his presence at their table. Salieri quotes Beaumarchais:

’Friend Salieri, listen — if a dark
Mood should descend on you, then just uncork
A bottle of champagne, or else re-read
My Figaro

Mozart observes that Salieri and Beaumarchais were good friends. He then asks, “But is it true that . . . Beaumarchais once poisoned someone?”

I mean, the man’s a genius,
As are you and I. And surely genius
And villainy are incompatible?

Salieri pours the poison into Mozart’s glass. They toast and Mozart drinks. Mozart goes to the piano and begins to play. He sees Salieri weeping. Salieri encourages him to play on. But Mozart feels unwell and leaves. Salieri bids au revoir.

You’ll sleep for long
Enough now, Mozart! What if he is right,
Though, and I’m not a genius? Genius
And villainy are incompatible?
Not true — just think of Michelangelo;
Or is that just a fable by the stupid,
Mindless mob? And wasn’t the designer
Of the Vatican a vile assassin?

[All quotations from Alexander Pushkin, Boris Godunov — The Little Tragedies, trans. Stephen Mulrine (London: Oberon Books, 2002)]

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):