"...from the ordinary he created legends"
Genius and jealousy collide in the opulent salons and opera houses of 18th-century Vienna in this Tony Award-winning play. When an impulsive and eccentric prodigy outshines an envious composer, theatrical fireworks emerge. Salieri will do everything in his power to destroy his musical rival-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart'.
Winner of 5 Tony Awards®, including Best Play.
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The play opens in Vienna, November 1823, where whispers and rumors are rampant that Antonio Salieri, once the famed director of the Italian opera and a favorite of Emperor Joseph II, has admitted to murdering Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart thirty-two years prior. Now an elderly man in a wheelchair, Salieri speaks directly to the audience and begins to explain the story behind the rumors.
The story turns backward in time to 1781. The young Salieri, a devout Catholic who has vowed to dedicate his life to composing music in the name of God, is a favorite of the Royal Court. He has not met Mozart but is thrilled to learn Mozart is in Vienna for a performance. Salieri’s first encounter with Mozart is an accidental eavesdropping on a profane, private moment between Mozart and his fiancée. Mozart’s music is indeed the thing of myths…its genius pierces through to the very soul of Salieri, who cannot reconcile the man whom he calls the “filthy creature” and the “absolute beauty” of Mozart’s God-given musical genius. Right then and there, Salieri swears off God and religion and decides to dedicate himself, instead, to ruining Mozart’s career as a way to wage war on God.
Folger Theatre gratefully acknowledges the kind support of the following sponsors.
Premiere Season Sponsor
Peter Andrews, In memory of Joan Andrews, a Folger Reader and supporter for many years.
Maygene and Steve Daniels
Helen and David Kenney and Family
Robin and Roger Millay
Neal T. Turtell
Scott and Liz Vance
John and Connie McGuire
Bill and Evelyn Braithwaite
Howard M. Brown
Timothy J. Carlson
Louis and Bonnie Cohen
Andi H. Kasarsky
Carolyn and Mark Olshaker
Beverly and Chris With