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Amadeus is a play by Peter Shaffer, which gives a highly fictionalized account of the lives of the composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
and Antonio Salieri. First performed in 1979, Amadeus was inspired by a short 1830 play by Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
called Mozart and Salieri (which was also used as the libretto for an opera of the same name by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1897). In the play, significant use is made of the music of Mozart, Salieri and other composers of the period. The premieres of Mozart's operas The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
are each the setting for key scenes of the play. After being presented successfully at the Royal National Theatre, London in 1979, the play moved to the West End followed by Broadway. Amadeus won the 1981 Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Play. It was adapted by Shaffer for the 1984 Academy Award-winning film of the same name.

Contents

1 Plot 2 Background and production

2.1 Historical accuracy 2.2 Notable productions 2.3 Film and other adaptations

3 Awards and nominations 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Plot[edit] Since the original run, Shaffer has extensively revised his play, including changes to plot details; the following is common to all revisions. At the opening of the tale, Salieri is an old man, having long outlived his fame. Speaking directly to the audience, he claims to have used poison to assassinate Mozart, and promises to explain himself. The action then flashes back to the eighteenth century, at a time when Salieri has not met Mozart in person, but has heard of him and his music. He adores Mozart's compositions, and is thrilled at the chance to meet Mozart in person, during a salon at which some of Mozart's compositions will be played. When he finally does catch sight of Mozart, however, he is deeply disappointed to find that Mozart himself lacks the grace and charm of his compositions: When Salieri first meets him, Mozart is crawling around on his hands and knees, engaging in profane talk with his future bride Constanze Weber. Salieri cannot reconcile Mozart's boorish behaviour with the genius that God has inexplicably bestowed upon him. Indeed, Salieri, who has been a devout Catholic all his life, cannot believe that God would choose Mozart over him for such a gift. Salieri renounces God and vows to do everything in his power to destroy Mozart as a way of getting back at his Creator. Throughout much of the rest of the play, Salieri masquerades as Mozart's ally to his face while doing his utmost to destroy his reputation and any success his compositions may have. On more than one occasion it is only the direct intervention of the Emperor himself that allows Mozart to continue (interventions which Salieri opposes, and then is all too happy to take credit for when Mozart assumes it was he who intervened). Salieri also humiliates Mozart's wife when she comes to Salieri for aid, and smears Mozart's character with the Emperor and the court. A major theme in Amadeus is Mozart's repeated attempts to win over the aristocratic "public" with increasingly brilliant compositions, which are always frustrated either by Salieri or by the aristocracy's own inability to appreciate Mozart's genius. The play ends with Salieri attempting suicide with a razor in a last attempt to be remembered, leaving a confession of having murdered Mozart with arsenic. He survives, however, and his confession is met with disbelief, leaving him to wallow once again in mediocrity. Background and production[edit] Historical accuracy[edit] Shaffer used artistic licence in his portrayals of both Mozart and Salieri. Documentary evidence suggests that there was some antipathy between the two men, but the idea that Salieri was the instigator of Mozart's demise is not taken seriously by scholars of the men's lives and careers. While historically there may have been actual rivalry and tension between Mozart and Salieri, there is also evidence that they enjoyed a relationship marked by mutual respect.[1] As an example, Salieri later tutored Mozart's son Franz in music. He also conducted some of Mozart's works, both in Mozart's lifetime and afterwards.[2] Writer David Cairns called Amadeus "myth-mongering" and argued against Shaffer's portrait of Mozart as "two contradictory beings, sublime artist and fool", positing instead that Mozart was "fundamentally well-integrated". Cairns also rejects the "romantic legend" that Mozart always wrote out perfect manuscripts of works already completely composed in his head, citing major and prolonged revisions to several manuscripts (see: Mozart's compositional method).[3] Notable productions[edit] Amadeus was first presented at the Royal National Theatre, London in 1979, directed by Sir Peter Hall and starring Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
as Salieri, Simon Callow
Simon Callow
as Mozart, and Felicity Kendal as Constanze. (Callow later appeared in the film version in a different role.) It was later transferred in modified form to the West End, starring Frank Finlay as Salieri.[4] The cast also included Andrew Cruickshank (Rosenberg), Basil Henson (von Strack), Philip Locke (Greybig), John Normington (Joseph II) and Nicholas Selby
Nicholas Selby
(van Swieten).[5] The play premiered on Broadway on December 11, 1980 at the Broadhurst Theatre,[6] with Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
as Salieri, Tim Curry
Tim Curry
as Mozart, and Jane Seymour as Constanze. It ran for 1,181 performances, closing on October 16, 1983, and was nominated for seven Tony Awards
Tony Awards
(Best Actor for both McKellen and Curry, Best Director for Peter Hall, Best Play, Best Costume Design, Lighting, and Set Design for John Bury), of which it won five (including Best Play and Best Actor for McKellen). In 2015, Curry stated in an interview that the original Broadway production was his favorite stage production that he had ever been in.[7] During the run of the play McKellen was replaced by John Wood, Frank Langella, David Dukes, David Birney, John Horton, and Daniel Davis. Curry was replaced by Peter Firth, Peter Crook, Dennis Boutsikaris, John Pankow, Mark Hamill,[8] and John Thomas Waite. Also playing Constanze were Amy Irving, Suzanne Lederer, Michele Farr, Caris Corfman and Maureen Moore. Adam Redfield (as Mozart) and Terry Finn
Terry Finn
(as Constanze) appeared in the 1984 Virginia Stage Company production, at the Wells Theatre in Norfolk, directed by Charles Towers. [9] The play was revived in 1999 at the Music Box Theatre, New York City, directed again by Peter Hall and ran for 173 performances (15 December 1999 until 14 May 2000), receiving Tony Award
Tony Award
nominations for Best Revival and Best Actor in a Play (David Suchet, who played Salieri).[10] Also in the cast were Michael Sheen
Michael Sheen
as Mozart, Cindy Katz as Constanze and David McCallum
David McCallum
as Joseph II. In July 2006, the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic
presented a production of portions from the latest revision of the play at the Hollywood Bowl. Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
starred as Mozart, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Kimberly Williams-Paisley
as Constanze Mozart, and Michael York
Michael York
as Salieri. Leonard Slatkin conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra.[11] Rupert Everett
Rupert Everett
played Salieri in a production at the newly refurbished Chichester Festival Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre
from 12 July through 2 August
August
2014.[12] The cast included Joshua McGuire as Mozart, Jessie Buckley as Constanze and John Standing as Count Orsini-Rosenberg. Simon Jones played Joseph II. Peter Shaffer attended the play at the closing performance. The play was revived at the National Theatre in London in a new production directed by Michael Longhurst, from October 2016 to March 2017[13]. It stars Lucian Msamati
Lucian Msamati
as Salieri alongside Adam Gillen as Mozart, Karla Crome as Constanze, Hugh Sachs as Count Orsini-Rosenberg and Tom Edden as Joseph II, accompanied with a live orchestra by the Southbank Sinfonia. The production sold out with rave reviews and returned to the Olivier Theatre at the NT with Msamati and Gillen reprising the roles of Salieri and Mozart from February to 24th April 2018, again with rave reviews.[14][15]. Film and other adaptations[edit] Main article: Amadeus (film) The 1984 film adaptation won an Academy Award for Best Picture. In total, the film won eight Academy Awards. It starred F. Murray Abraham as Salieri (winning the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance), Tom Hulce as Mozart, and Elizabeth Berridge as Constanze. The play was thoroughly reworked by Shaffer and the film's director, Miloš Forman with scenes and characters not found in the play.[16] While the focus of the play is primarily on Salieri, the film goes further into developing the characters of both composers. In 1983, BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
aired the play directed by Sir Peter Hall and starring the original cast of his National Theatre production. The cast included:

Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
as Antonio Salieri Simon Callow
Simon Callow
as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Felicity Kendal as Constanze Mozart John Normington as Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor Nicholas Selby
Nicholas Selby
as Gottfried van Swieten Willoughby Goddard
Willoughby Goddard
as Count Franz Orsini Rosenberg Basil Henson as Johann Killian Von Strack Donald Gee, Dermot Crowley
Dermot Crowley
as Venticelli Nigel Bellairs, Susan Gilmore, Peggy Marshall, Robin Meredith, Anne Sedgwick, William Sleigh, Glenn Williams as Citizens of Vienna

This radio production was re-broadcast on 2 January 2011 as part of Radio 3's Genius
Genius
of Mozart season.[17] To celebrate Mozart's 250th birthday in 2006, BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
broadcast an adaptation by Neville Teller of Shaffer's play in eight fifteen-minute episodes directed by Peter Leslie Wilde and narrated by F. Murray Abraham as Salieri[18] (re-broadcast 24 May – 2 June 2010 on BBC Radio 7). Awards and nominations[edit]

1979 Evening Standard Award for Best Play[19] 1981 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play[20] 1981 Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Play[20]

See also[edit]

Death of Mozart

References[edit]

^ Brown, A. Peter (7 February 2009). " Amadeus and Mozart: Setting the Record Straight". The American Scholar. 61 (1). Archived from the original on 25 August
August
2010.  ^ Hildesheimer, Wolfgang: Mozart, 1977[full citation needed] ^ Cairns, David (2006). Mozart and his Operas. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0520228986.  ^ Josephdreams (2 July 1981). "Frank Finlay". Frank Finlay. Retrieved 19 September 2011.  ^ Hall, P, Goodwin J. The Peter Hall Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle. Hamish Hamilton, London, 1983, p. 461, footnote 1. ^ Internet Broadway Database ^ Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(2008). "Amadeus". Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
Stage. Archived from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008.  ^ Thomas, Bob. "Hamill changes pace as star of 'Amadeus'" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 20 July 1983 ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0278176/otherworks ^ "COMPLETE LIST OF 1999-2000 TONY AWARD WINNERS Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-01-24.  ^ " Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
Is Mozart in Hollywood Bowl's Amadeus Live". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2011.  ^ Billington, Michael (2014-07-18). " Amadeus review – Rupert Everett's Salieri darkly rages at God". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-23.  ^ " Amadeus 2016 National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-01-23.  ^ Billington, Michael (2016-10-27). " Amadeus review – stunning production pits Salieri against God, Mozart and his own orchestra". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-23.  ^ " Amadeus 2018 National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-01-23.  ^ Malgorzata Kurowska (1998). "Peter Shaffer's play 'Amadeus' and its film adaptation by Milos Forman". Retrieved 26 June 2008.  ^ Drama on 3 (2011). "Amadeus". BBC Radio 3. Retrieved 2 January 2011.  ^ Radio 2 Readings (2006). "Amadeus". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 26 June 2008.  ^ "Shaffer: Acclaimed Amadeus playwright". BBC Online. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 1 May 2011.  ^ a b IBDB. "Production Awards". Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 

External links[edit]

Amadeus at the Internet Broadway Database Amadeus at the Internet Broadway Database Amadeus character descriptions from StageAgent.com

v t e

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Biography

Biographies Birthplace Grand tour Name Nationality Scatology Smallpox Italy Berlin Prague Death

Music

Köchel catalogue List of compositions Concert arias, songs, canons Dances Horn concertos Masses Operas Piano concertos Works for solo piano Sonatas Symphonies Compositional method

Family

Leopold Mozart Anna Maria Mozart Maria Anna Mozart
Maria Anna Mozart
(Nannerl) Constanze Mozart Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
(Bäsle) Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart Karl Thomas Mozart Johann Georg Mozart Joseph Lange Cäcilia Weber Josepha Weber Aloysia Weber Sophie Weber Georg Nissen Family trees

Influences

Beethoven Catholic Church Freemasonry Haydn Salieri

Related

Mozart in popular culture

Book Category

v t e

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play

The Way of the World
The Way of the World
/ Thieves' Carnival / Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
/ The Merchant of Venice / The White Devil
The White Devil
(1955) The Iceman Cometh (1956) No award (1957–1974) Same Time, Next Year / Equus (1975) Streamers (1976) A Texas Trilogy / Otherwise Engaged (1977) Da (1978) The Elephant Man (1979) Children of a Lesser God (1980) Amadeus (1981) "Master Harold"...and the Boys
"Master Harold"...and the Boys
(1982) Torch Song Trilogy (1983) The Real Thing (1984) As Is (1985) A Lie of the Mind (1986) Fences (1987) M. Butterfly (1988) The Heidi Chronicles
The Heidi Chronicles
(1989) The Piano Lesson (1990) Lost in Yonkers
Lost in Yonkers
(1991) Marvin's Room (1992) Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (1993) Angels in America: Perestroika (1994) Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995) Master Class (1996) How I Learned to Drive (1997) The Beauty Queen of Leenane
The Beauty Queen of Leenane
(1998) Wit (1999) Copenhagen (2000) Proof (2001) The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
/ Metamorphoses (2002) Take Me Out (2003) I Am My Own Wife
I Am My Own Wife
(2004) Doubt: A Parable (2005) The History Boys
The History Boys
(2006) The Coast of Utopia (2007) August: Osage County (2008) Ruined (2009) Red (2010) War Horse (2011) Tribes (2012) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
(2013) All the Way (2014) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2015) The Humans (2016) Oslo (2017)

v t e

Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Play

1948-1975

Mister Roberts (1948) Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
(1949) The Cocktail Party
The Cocktail Party
(1950) The Rose Tattoo
The Rose Tattoo
(1951) The Fourposter
The Fourposter
(1952) The Crucible
The Crucible
(1953) The Teahouse of the August
August
Moon (1954) The Desperate Hours (1955) The Diary of Anne Frank (1956) Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey into Night
(1957) Sunrise at Campobello (1958) J.B. (1959) The Miracle Worker (1960) Becket (1961) A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons
(1962) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(1963) Luther (1964) The Subject Was Roses (1965) Marat/Sade
Marat/Sade
(1966) The Homecoming
The Homecoming
(1967) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1968) The Great White Hope
The Great White Hope
(1969) Borstal Boy (1970) Sleuth (1971) Sticks and Bones (1972) That Championship Season (1973) The River Niger (1974) Equus (1975)

1976-2000

Travesties
Travesties
(1976) The Shadow Box (1977) Da (1978) The Elephant Man (1979) Children of a Lesser God (1980) Amadeus (1981) The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982) Torch Song Trilogy (1983) The Real Thing (1984) Biloxi Blues (1985) I'm Not Rappaport (1986) Fences (1987) M. Butterfly (1988) The Heidi Chronicles
The Heidi Chronicles
(1989) The Grapes of Wrath (1990) Lost in Yonkers
Lost in Yonkers
(1991) Dancing at Lughnasa
Dancing at Lughnasa
(1992) Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (1993) Angels in America: Perestroika (1994) Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995) Master Class (1996) The Last Night of Ballyhoo (1997) 'Art' (1998) Side Man (1999) Copenhagen (2000)

2001-present

Proof (2001) The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
(2002) Take Me Out (2003) I Am My Own Wife
I Am My Own Wife
(2004) Doubt: A Parable (2005) The History Boys
The History Boys
(2006) The Coast of Utopia (2007) August: Osage County (2008) God of Carnage
God of Carnage
(2009) Red (2010) War Horse (2011) Clybourne Park (2012) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
(2013) All the Way (2014) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2015) The Humans (2016)

.