A great rivalry.
An untimely death.
Music to die for.
It's no wonder Mozart's death ended up as a Hollywood movie; the mystery, intrigue and speculation surrounding it is greater than fiction.
This June the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, MSO Chorus and a stellar line up of Australian soloists bring this intense musical drama to Hamer Hall, led by Spanish maestro Jaime Martín.
The 1984 biopic Amadeus – which went on to win eight Oscars including Best Picture – is centred on the period of Mozart's life leading up to his demise and the composition which dominated his final days, his Requiem.
Acute kidney disease, syphilis, rheumatic fever, mercury exposure, trichinosis from eating undercooked pork chops – rumours abounded on the cause of Mozart's death, on December 5, 1791. But it was the salacious scandal surrounding Antonio Salieri, Mozart's colleague and rival, that fuelled suspicion the 35-year-old had been poisoned. Though disproved in life, it's this theory which forms the basis of the Peter Schaffer play and later, film.
Adding to the sinister gossip was the fact that Mozart had been visited by an anonymous, masked man, earlier in 1791 to commission him to write a requiem mass. He needed the money and accepted. But as he grew weaker, Mozart became more obsessed with the notion that he was writing a mass for his own death. And so it happened, he died, leaving the requiem unfinished.
The MSO will also perform the charming Mother Goose suite, providing perfect contrast to Mozart's epic masterpiece. Ravel's signature elegance and luminous orchestral colours capture the fantasy of five fairy tales in this beguiling work.
An all-Australian line-up including soprano Jacqueline Porter, mezzo Fiona Campbell, tenor Andrew Goodwin and bass James Clayton all return to the MSO for these two performances.
Mozart's music has everything from fire and brimstone to heavenly, ethereal redemption. The drama is driven through the Dies irae, gradually building to a climax and catharsis of the well-known Lacrimosa.
Draw your own conclusions on the masterpiece the maestro never got to experience, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra this June.
Date & Time: Thursday 20, 7.30pm and Saturday 22 June, 2pm
Venue: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Bookings: mso.com.au | 03 9929 9600