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
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
Copyright © 13 October 2002
Robert Anderson, London, UK