Rudolf Hradil, Kolosseum, Aquarell, 1991 Pfingstfestspiele 2021
Rudolf Hradil, Kolosseum, Aquarell, 1991
Was die Menschen damals aus der Antike machten, war ein Modell für die Gegenwart, eine Sammlung idealer Beispiele. Die Vergangenheit war eine kleine Welt, durch unsere Entfernung von ihr noch kleiner. Sie hatte nur vertraute Namen (die Götter, die großen Leidenden, die Helden und Heldinnen), die vertraute Tugenden darstellten (Standhaftigkeit, Edelmut, Tapferkeit, Milde) und die eine unwiderlegbare Idee von Schönheit, sowohl männlicher als auch weiblicher, und eine kraftvolle, gefahrlose Sinnlichkeit verkörperten […].
Susan Sontag
Whitsun Festival 2021

About the Production

‘There is a conspiracy in Rome’: the Capitol is ablaze, terror is running rampant. At the end of Act I of La clemenza di Tito the erroneous information that Emperor Tito has been murdered unleashes stunning funeral music in which Mozart unites the soloists on stage with the chorus in the distance. Among those lamenting the assassination is the instigator behind it and her submissive dupe: the unscrupulous Vitellia, who feels disappointed in her hopes of Tito and the throne, and Sesto, who is so enslaved by his desire for her that he is blindly prepared to have his closest friend Tito killed. According to the musicologist Friedrich Rochlitz, this quintet with chorus exhibits ‘Mozart’s almighty, Shakespearean power in expressing the great, the magnificent, the horrific, the terrifying and the harrowing… to the extent of making one’s hair stand on end’ (1798). The musical language of the opera, which was composed in 1791, is marked by a new simplicity that nonetheless reflects the finest emotional responses. Thus in Act II, Mozart makes us share with rapt attention in painful inner processes: while Sesto and Vitellia confront remorse, mortal agony and responsibility, Tito triumphs over himself — even in this extreme trial of endurance the Roman ruler remains steadfastly true to his maxims of benevolence and mercy.

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