Mozart wears jeans under his brocade jacket and white wig, and is sometimes found playing with his mobile; Salieri’s ruffled shirt is under a dark modern suit, its folds not quite concealing the tiny vial of fatal poison on a slim chain around his neck; we find ourselves balanced, precariously but effectively, between the 18th and 21st centuries for director Pamela Schermann’s sincere, intense and beautiful production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s brooding, poignant Mozart and Salieri. Nick Dwyer’s smouldering Salieri soon becomes the magnetic centre of this piece, while Roger Paterson’s playfully irrepressible Mozart, unintentionally radiating genius through his restless dynamism, soon reveals intriguing inner depths.
Meanwhile, Zanetto‘s highly melodramatic scenario doesn’t honestly bear much rational scrutiny, but certainly inspires fine soprano writing from Mascagni, here sung with passion and verve by Becca Marriott and Sophie Goldrick to a delicate piano and violin accompaniment from Andrew Charity and Nina Kopparhed.
Part of the Opera in the City Festival
Rating: 4 stars