This one-hour film shows how Mozart successfully elevated 'opera seria', or courtly opera, to a compelling spectacle, where the beauty and richness of musical invention go hand in hand with the arousal of a particular emotion, both intense and idealized. H. C. Robbins Landon, a leading authority on Mozart and the Classical era, guides the viewer on a tour of Mozart's courtly operas, with the help of Sir Roger Norrington and other noted musicians. The program consists of four sections corresponding to the four 'opera serie' written by Mozart between the ages of 14 and 35, the final year of his life. "Idomeneo", in a production by Jonathan Miller for the Lausanne Opera, is staged in a rarified style in keeping with the epic saga of its action. While "Mitridate", also staged ny Jonathan Miller for the Salzburg Festival, is a sleek, elegant and stylized production, "Lucia Silla" in Peter Mussbach's Salzburg Festival production seethes with unrest and youthful rebelliousness. Finally, "La Clemenzia di Tito", another Salzburg Festival production, this one by Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, seems influenced by the celebrated Actor's Studio and recalls films such as those by Kazan or Sirk.
Mozart: La clemenza di Tito; Lucio Silla; Idomeneo; La Clemenza