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Ensemble

Miracle for Bohemia!

'La clemenza di Tito' at Covent Garden,
with ROBERT ANDERSON

 

As a young man Titus was not notably clement. Jerusalem was dealt a blow it may well have deserved, but it was a hard one, and priceless temple treasures were made to sit by the Tiber and weep. Clemency came later, with imperial power (AD79). Vesuvius erupted almost at once, and Titus did what he could for the Pompeian refugees. During his absence from Rome there occurred the three-day fire that in abbreviated form concludes Act 1 of Mozart's opera. Again imperial assistance was to hand. Thereafter Titus showed remarkable forbearance to all who plotted against him, and his only warfare was in Britain, where Agricola took his forces to Scotland and the Tay.

Barbara Frittoli (left) and Vesselina Kasarova in the Royal Opera House 2002 production of 'La Clemenza di Tito'. Photo © Bill Cooper
Barbara Frittoli (left) and Vesselina Kasarova in the Royal Opera House 2002 production of 'La Clemenza di Tito'. Photo © Bill Cooper

Leopold II, for whose Prague coronation in 1791 the opera was commissioned and speedily composed, smiled initially at the French Revolution, but naturally showed alarm when it seemed even his sister Marie Antoinette and her husband might be heading for 'La veuve'. Leopold died (1792) before he could take effective action against a French movement become ever more bloodthirsty, égal and fraternal in its choice of victims.

Vesselina Kasarova and Bruce Ford in the Royal Opera House 2002 production of 'La Clemenza di Tito'. Photo © Bill Cooper
Vesselina Kasarova and Bruce Ford in the Royal Opera House 2002 production of 'La Clemenza di Tito'. Photo © Bill Cooper

 

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Copyright © 13 October 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK

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