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"La Clemenza di Tito" Studio | Operosa


"La Clemenza di Tito" Studio

Operosa Studio for young opera and classical music artists!

Opera  “La Clemenza di Tito“ was commissioned for coronation of Tzar Leopold II in Prague, in 1791. Due the fact that the commission was received two months before the opening night , Mozart had to put aside composing the opera  “Magic Flute“, which he was finishing at the time. It is believed that Mozart started composing “La Clemenza di Tito“  end of July  1791 in Vienna and continued until the very last moment in Prague where he had arrived on 28th of August.  The piece premiered on 6th of September 1791. 

Considering the short notice it is possible that he left the recitativos to be composed by his student Franz Sussmeyr. The opera is based on Pietro Metastasio’s liberetto. It is glorifying the mercy and greatness of the emperor and it was written for the name day of Charles VI, so it is not surprising that the libretto was chosen for the occasion of the coronation.  However because of the extensive length of the original libretto a third was cut.  Only seven arias and one part of chorus were kept, while the rest was adapted by Caterino Mazola and  hence Mozart was able to  keep the opera to a reasonable length.

Vitellia is desperate and wants to kill Tito, the new emperor of Rome, because she was not chosen to become his wife. As a tool she uses Sesto who is madly in  love with her. Tito wishes to marry Servilia, but she loves Annio. Servilia  confesses to Tito of her love to Annio and he withdraws. He invites Vitellia to his chambers and she hesitates to kill him but all along Sesto is already on his way to commit the crime. Despite a failed attempt  Sesto is incrminated by witnesses and is sentenced to die. In order to save him, Vitellia confesses her guilt. Tito forgives everyone, making the point that forgiveness is more important than unceasing loyalty.

Operosa Studio together with the partners Student Culture Centre and Culture Institution Parobrod rehearsed and produced this workshop production directed by aspiring Danish stage director Morten Roesen. Roesen was involved in the fist part of  “La Clemenza di Tito“ workshop during the European Opera Days in May 2014. For this occasion, Roesen picked the scenes that he thought were most significant in the sense of character relations and the most intense ones. The selected scenes are especially interesting from the stage director's point of view. Roesen starts piece from the view that motives, intentions and feelings do not necessarily follow according to the expressed words. In this production he presents his own vision of character typology and their mutual relations, exploring the space behind the verbal communication. The key initiator of the story is the power Tito possesses followed by the other more hidden one; desire. In this version, Tito is not generous and strong. He is a leader who feels discomfort at being in charge, a weak man whose insecurity is the result of the betrayals of the people close to him. These betryals are slowly destroing him and in the end they crush him. Though he craves true love, he cannot obtain this kind of a relationship because of his status and its influence on others.

Now we reach the second question that Roesen is dealing with. The play of power and love; compromises that the characters are willing to make for the sake of one. Vitellia is prepared to go the furthest for the power; Sesto would do the same for the sake of love; Servilia, though in love with Annio, is still attracted to Tito and would certainly enjoy being seen with him, perhaps to seduce him as well. We can find a similar situation in Tito's relationship with Publio and Annia (in this production portrayed as a girl) who both try to find a way of enjoying at least a fragment of the power Tito possesses. 

As for the staging, it is interesting that in contrast to the original idea, the characters are visible throughout the scenes of the opera. The reasons for this and the different aspects of moving through the piece are multiple. Starting with the motives and intentions; Roesen thought that including the physical presence of the various characters who were involved directly and indirectly  in the particular scenes and arias would compell feelings or relations which do not always surface when performed alone on stage. The presence of the one who shouldn’t be included in a particular scene might be reflected in the way others see them or think of them. Sometimes parallel actions are present on stage – the one that actively engages the singers and the other - that uses acting to represent the deeds that happen at the same time but somewhere else. In this way and by being continuously on stage the characters are able to watch each other, spotting their weaknesses and finding the most profitable way of taking a piece of Tito’s status for themselves.

Besides the games of love and power, the universal impeller of any epoque, Roesen emphasises the factor of self promotion which is very much present in today. It is such an essential part of today’s society that sometimes it becomes more important than the actual person’s skills and knowledge.

This question was particularly highlighted in the additional scene with Servilia and Tito, which Roesen created himself.


Director Morten K. Roesen
Conductor Natalija Mićić
Costume, props, hair and make up Nevena Đorđević
VItellia Marijana Sovran
Sesto Bojan Bulatovic
Annio Sara Stefanović
Servilia Natasa Tasic Knezevic
Tito Stevan Karanac
Choir Lidija Vuletic
Slavca Bozic
Đurđa Mihić
Dragana Tkalac
I violin Isidora Dramicanin
II violin Aleksandar Novicki
Viola Ana Jovanović
Violoncello Petar Lazarević
Répétiteur and piano Tea Đorđević
Photography Ivan Plazačić