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Om Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito
Mozart had little time to compose La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus) for the Emperor's coronation in Prague in 1791. This was three months before Mozart's death.The Roman Emperor Tito (Titus) cannot decide who to marry. He rejects Vitellia, who urges his best friend, who is infatuated with her, to lead a rebellion. This fails. But instead of throwing the rebels to the lions, he forgives them: loyalty should be a consequence of love, not fear.With the French Revolution well under-way, it would be preposterous to grant clemency to revolutionaries. So the opera went down badly with the Royals. Anyway, the analogy with Titus, was wholly misplaced. It was he who massacred the inhabitants of Jerusalem.Mozart was not to know this as he set out for Prague with his wife Constanze. Clemency was a virtue espoused by the Enlightenment. In the coach working with him was his pupil Sssmayr, who probably contributed as much work as he did.Mozart's music is at times exquisite, but with two castratos (today, sopranos) singing the parts of Roman nobles, it can seem rather limp. They are no match for the formidable prima donna, Vitellia.