Based on a story set in first-century Rome, the next Metropolitan Opera HD simulcast will be a production of Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" at 10:55 a.m. Saturday in the Finkel Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.
"La Clemenza di Tito was a rush job," New York Times reviewer Anthony Tommasini wrote in a 2006 review. It was his last opera, composed near the end of his life during a terminal illness, at the time he was finishing "The Magic Flute." The first performance took place in Prague in 1791 as part of the celebration for the coronation of Austrian emperor Leopold II as king of Bohemia. In tribute to Leopold II, Tito is depicted as a benevolent ruler who served as Emperor of Rome from 79-81 AD.
Tito's one misdeed was usurping the throne from the incumbent emperor, Vitellius. Vitellius' daughter, Vitellia (sung by Italian soprano, Barbara Frittoli), who aspires to recapture the throne by marrying Tito, becomes vengeful upon rejection. Vitellia then pressures one of her admirers, Sesto (sung by Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca), to assassinate the emperor. Also involved in the plot are Sesto's sister, Servilia (sung by Lucy Crowe) and her lover Annino (mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey).
Amidst the tale of love, friendship, hate and vengeance is a dramatic scene in the capitol where the populace hails Tito for his service to the survivors in Pompeii after the eruption of Vesuvius, followed by an assassination attempt that sets the stage for Act II.
Although early reviews judged the last of Mozart's operas to be subpar, time has erased this judgment. Characteristic of Mozart, the music includes flowing arias, trios and powerful chorus ensembles, supported by an energetic orchestra.
The Metropolitan Opera's production is bolstered by the orchestral conducting of British Baroque specialist, Harry Bicket, and director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. The opera is described as one of the legendary director's most acclaimed stagings.
Prior to the simulcast, there will be a 30-minute preview at CMC, starting at 10 a.m. Snacks and beverages will be served during intermission.