Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito"

Jul 31, 2017

The legendary clemency of the Roman Emperor Titus gets a spectacular operatic treatment as Mark Padmore joins René Jacobs for Mozart's final opera, La Clemenza di Tito.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito

Mark Padmore: Tito
Alexandrina Pendatchanska: Vitellia
Bernarda Fink: Sesto
Marie-Claude Chappuis: Annio
Sunhae Im: Servilia
Sergio Foresti: Publio

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, RIAS Chamber Choir
René Jacobs, conductor

Synopsis

Italian to English translation of the text (libretto)

La Clemenza di Tito was one of Mozart's final compositions, written in tandem with his opera Die Zauberflöte ("The Magic Flute") and his ultimately unfinished Requiem. It has been much maligned, almost since the beginning, as a work less vibrant and engaging than Mozart's other operas. Critics argue that you can hear that Mozart's heart wasn't in it, that he wrote it just for the money, that Mozart rushed the process with only "half his mind" on the work, and ultimately that Tito was dull and boring. Conductor René Jacobs disagrees, and in this 2006 recording, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra seeks to counter those assertions with an exceptionally alive, floral, shimmering performance.

La Clemenza di Tito is one of those "based on the incredible true story" operas, inspired by the very real life of the Roman Emperor Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus (40-81 AD). Titus had a quality rarely seen in Roman Emperors (let alone world leaders today): leniency toward those who conspired against him. To the surprise of many, Titus abolished the charge of "high treason" in Rome, and refused to pursue those rumored to be conspiring against him. This "clemency" did remarkable things to raise Titus' popularity among his Roman population. It is this quality that is immortalized in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito: "The Clemency of Titus".

Read a full synopsis via the Metropolitan Opera

Italian to English translation of the text (libretto)

More about La Clemenza di Tito via NPR

More about Emperor Titus