Our Introducing series continues with a look at our new production of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, which sees renowned German director Claus Guth make his Glyndebourne debut in Festival 2017.
Claus is a prolific director and has worked at opera houses across Europe, where his productions are known for their thoughtfulness and elegance. He made his Royal Opera House debut in 2014 with a critically acclaimed production of Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten.
In this short film we caught up with him to discuss his approach to La clemenza di Tito and his excitement about collaborating with Robin Ticciati:
Need to know
La clemenza di Tito was one of Mozart’s last completed works, composed alongside Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).
Commissioned for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II, it is an opera seria (a ‘serious’ work as opposed to the comic opera buffa) and explores the themes of power, loyalty and forgiveness.
Spurned by the Emperor Tito, noblewoman Vitellia seeks revenge and convinces her admirer, Sesto, to murder him. Sesto is caught in an agonising dilemma: he loves Vitellia, but Tito is his best friend. Sesto follows his heart and receives a lesson in forgiveness from the Emperor.
The opera features some sublime music. Here’s a taste of Vitellia’s aria Non più di fiori from Act II:
Why this production?
While Mozart has always had a special place at Glyndebourne, La clemenza di Tito is a rare treat, as our Archivist, Julia Aries, explains:
‘Mozart forms the cornerstone of the repertoire at Glyndebourne – almost every Festival has featured at least one of his operas. However, there has only been one previous Glyndebourne production of La clemenza di Tito (staged in 1991, 95 and 99), so it will be a real treat to see the opera in Festival 2017.’
—Julia Aries, Glyndebourne Archivist
Our previous production of La clemenza di Tito, directed by Nicholas Hytner, Festival 1999. Photo: Mike Hoban.
La clemenza di Tito will be conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati. Mozart is one of Robin’s passions, and here he explains what sets Mozart apart from other composers:
‘Where most composers would stop in terms of imagination and inventiveness, [Mozart] gives you those little things that transform a phrase or a character and take it to that transcendental level.’
—Robin Ticciati, Glyndebourne’s Music Director and conductor of La clemenza di Tito
Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati will conduct. Photo: Marco Borggreve
Making his Glyndebourne debut in the title role is Australian tenor Steve Davislim. Steve is no stranger to Mozart: a key moment in his career was playing the title role in Idomeneo at La Scala di Milano, and he has previously sung the role of Tito at Semperoper Dresden.
Steve Davislim makes his Glyndebourne debut in the title role. Photo: Rosa Frank
Steve is joined by an array of Glyndebourne favourites:
Playing the fierce Vitellia is Alice Coote, last seen in Hänsel und Gretel, 2010.
Singing Sesto is Kate Lindsey, returning to the Festival after appearing in the similar ‘trouser role’ of the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos in 2013.
Joélle Harvey makes her fourth Glyndebourne appearance in the role of Servilia.
Alice Coote as Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Festival 2008. Photo: Mike Hoban
Things to look out for
Claus will be working with long-time collaborator designer Christian Schmidt on this production. Keep an eye out for some inventive staging that will reveal interesting facets of this compelling story:
‘Claus Guth is doing some very clever things with the staging of La clemenza di Tito, which will allow us to go beyond the bounds of the story and explore the characters in more depth.’
—Eric Gautron, Technical Director
Enrich your experience
Dressing an opera – the costumes and props of La clemenza di Tito, Monday 31 July
La clemenza di Tito: Mozart’s ‘real opera’, Sunday 6 August
Join us for a bite-sized overview of the opera on Wednesday 16 August
The Festival 2017 Programme Book will feature: an exploration of the last year of Mozart’s life and La clemenza di Tito’s place in the body of his work; a look at opera seria; and an in-depth interview with Claus Guth. The Programme Book is published in May 2017.
La clemenza di Tito is generously supported by a Syndicate of Individuals.