Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrating the anniversary of La clemenza di Tito

Alex Esposito as Publius
Today is the anniversary of the premiere of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito and we thought it deserved a mention, since we give a disproportionate amount of attention to the Big 3 - Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan tutte. The opera doesn't really have much music for a baritone to show off. In fact, there is only one aria, "Tardi s'avede," which belongs to Publius and was written for a lyric bass.

Nonetheless, we found this beautiful version of the aria sung by bass-barihunk Luca Pisaroni, which is worth sharing. In the aria, Publius feels sorry for his Emperor and tries to get Tito to wake up to the fact that his best friend, Sesto, had tried to assassinate him.

The opera premiered on September 6, 1791 and was written as a commission to celebrate the coronation of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor as King of Bohemia. The opera remained popular after Mozart's death and in 1806 became his first opera to be performed in London. It wasn't performed in the United States until 1952, when it was presented at Tanglewood in English.

There are a couple of all-star productions of the opera this year, led by barihunk Alex Esposito taking on Publius at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels in October. The cast also includes Kurt Streit as Tito, Véronique Gens as Vitellia and Anna Bonitatibus as Sesto.

In November and December, the opera will be performed at the Paris Opera with Bálint Szabó as Publius and Saimir Pirgu as Tito.

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