Mozart in Milan: Lucio Silla 

Musical development of Mozart: more mature, self-assured and independent

Lucio Silla: Giunia and Cecilio

Theater an der Wien, Vienna 2006 Photo: Armin Bardel / Theater an der Wien
1772
Italy
Lucio Silla: Giunia and Lucio Silla

Lucio Silla: Giunia and Lucio Silla

Theater an der Wien, Vienna 2006 Photo: Armin Bardel / Theater an der Wien

However, things were not going well. The singers were late and the singer designated the part of Silla fell ill. Mozart had to adjust the arias for a less talented replacement and of the intended four works, only two really happened. Wolfgang worked hard. He took a further step towards independence, distanced himself from idols, tried to find his own way. Critics see in this Mozart opera a “romantic crisis”, a result of his bodily and mental development.

The catharsis of a Roman dictator

The Mozart opera is set in Rome in 79 BC. The Roman dictator is a bitter enemy of Senator Cecilio, whom he banished from Rome himself. Cecilio has returned in secrecy to marry his bride Giunia. But Silla covets Giunia for himself. When Cecilio wants to murder Silla, Silla has him thrown into a dungeon. But finally he exercises mercy. The couple are allowed to marry, the banished to return home and Silla abdicates in favour of the republic.

The premiere on December 26, 1772, devolved into a disaster. One mishap followed the next. The singers were terrible; the opera took longer than expected. The applause was subdued. Even when the following performances attracted an audience, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father were disappointed. Furthermore: Mozart would never get a commission in Italy again…