First part of the performance – gala concert Viva Mozart! Second part – the opera Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the music and then the words) by A. Salieri.
In June 2022, the St. Petersburg Opera celebrates its 35th anniversary. The premiere of the opera Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the music and then the words) by Antonio Salieri staged by People’s Artist of Russia, artistic director and founder of the theatre Yuri Alexandrov, which the audience will see in the second part, as well as the gala concert Viva Mozart! in the first, is timed to coincide with the theatre’s anniversary.
“The round date is an occasion to joke a little about the theatrical life. Antonio Salieri’s opera Prima la musica e poi le parole is about life behind the scenes. The story in the work is not banal – in conditions of extreme haste, when there is no time to compose something new (only four days are left before the premiere), the artists are trying to fit the existing music of the opera buff to the text of the opera seria, which is being composed before our eyes. Hence the name: “First the music and then the words,” said Yuri Alexandrov.
Count Opizio is planning a theatrical celebration. Opizio instructs the Maestro to write an opera, but he gives little time for preparation – only four days! But he also pays well - 1000 sequins. To create a libretto, the Maestro finds the poet who refuses to work… The Maestro convinces the poet to cooperate. Since there is no time to compose something new, the composer has in store, just in case, beautiful music written for opera buffa*. However, the music does not fit the libretto proposed by the poet – it was written for the opera seria**. The Maestro, insisting on the priority of music, forces the Poet to adjust his text to the existing music.
Donna Eleonora, opera seria soloist, comes to the audition; she demonstrates her creative and other abilities, rehearsing excerpts from a tragic opera together with the poet and the Maestro. Being fully confident that she will get the role, Donna Eleonora leaves to wait until the authors write her crowning aria. The Maestro and the poet are finally able to get down working, and soon realizing that, surprisingly, everything is going well for them. Realizing this, the Maestro sends the poet to Count Opizio for a reward, since the opera is almost ready. The poet returns without money, but accompanied by the charming Tonina, an opera buffa singer. The charming person turns out to have a rather unbearable character, but she gladly demonstrates to the Maestro and the poet her vocal and acting abilities.
At this moment, Donna Eleonora returns. Seeing each other, the rivals arrange a vocal duel, trying to cover one another, and forming a comic duet.
In the end, the situation resolves – Eleonora and Tonina recognize each other’s talents, and the Maestro and the poet have everything ready for the premiere.
*Opera buffa is an Italian comic opera
**Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and "serious" style of Italian opera
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