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14 December 2019 (Sat), 13:00 World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - established 1783 - Stars of the Stars  Opera Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "Der Schauspieldirektor". Comedy with music in one act

Running time: 1 hour (till 14:00)

Schedule for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "Der Schauspieldirektor". Comedy with music in one act 2020

Soprano: Larisa Yudina
Soprano: Olga Pudova
Conductor: Anton Gakkel
Soprano: Antonina Vesenina
Bass-baritone: Denis Begansky
Tenor: Dmitry Voropaev
Soprano: Yulia Suleimanova

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Musical Preparation: Larisa Gergieva
Libretto: Johann Gottlieb Stephanie
Stage Director: Gleb Cherepanov

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera

Opera in 1 acts

The performance without interval

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
Libretto by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie (Author of the Russian dialogue text: Gleb Cherepanov)

Musical Director: Larisa Gergieva 
Stage Director: Gleb Cherepanov 
Lighting Designer: Igor Karmanov
Concert Masters: Natalia Soboleva, Yekaterina Romanova

Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), is a comic singspiel by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, set to a German libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, an Austrian Schauspieldirektor. Originally, it was written because of "the imperial command" of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II who had invited 80 guests to a private luncheon. It is regarded as "a parody on the vanity of singers", who argue over status and pay.

Mozart, who describes it as "comedy with music" wrote it as his entry in a musical competition which was given a private performance hosted on 7 February 1786 by Joseph II at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. This competition pitted a German singspiel, presented at one end of the room, against a competing Italian opera, the Italian entry being Antonio Salieri's opera buffa, Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the Music, then the Words), which was then given at the other end of the room. The premiere was followed by the first of three public performances given four days later at the Kärntnertor Theater, Vienna, on 11 February.

The work was written during a very creative period in Mozart's life, at the same time as his Le nozze di Figaro, which premiered later the same year, along with three piano concertos and "another dozen major works".

In addition to the overture, there are only four vocal numbers in the score, and the musical content (about 30 minutes) is surrounded by much spoken dialogue, typical in its day. One highlight, which Erik Smith describes as very funny, is where "each lady sings about the nobility of her art while trying to defeat her rival with ever higher notes". Although it has been described as a "silly farce", Mozart appears to have taken the opportunity to write serious arias and thus the "audition" of Madame Herz includes her aria "Da schlägt die Abschiedsstunde" ("There tolls the hour of departure"), while Mme Silberklang sings the elegant rondo, "Bester Jüngling" ("Dearest Youth").

Age category 6+

The public has always wanted to know what happens on "the other side of the curtain", and they are particularly drawn by theatre rumours, scandals and intrigues. It was just the same two and three centuries ago. In 1786 the Austrian Emperor Josef II organised a competition between Mozart and Salieri, commissioning both to compose one-act operas based on backstage plots. At the time, Salieri was the vinner, but the judge of time – rightly or wrongly – awarded victory to Mozart.

Mozart's singspiel Der Schauspieldirektor, which was presented at that competition, was composed to an ageless plot: the impressario (or producer as one would say today) Frank is running an audition for his new company. Each female singer wants to be the prima donna and the men all want to be the male lead, and to achieve this aim and receive a mighty fee they are ready to undertake anything. Of course, in the finale friendship prevails.

In a singspiel, the cast not only sings, but speaks too, and so the peripeteia of the plot is comprehensible even to an inexperienced observer. Competing with each other, the singers perform the greatest arias in their repertoires, which means that popular operatic pieces are included in the production. And the fact that the plot unfolds on a theatre stage during rehearsals allows the cast to play out this story using any theatre sets, including those of the production being performed in the evening.

Thanks to its short duration, vivid plot intrigue and virtuoso arias bordering on a vocal trick, this opera may be an ideal choice for a first visit to the Mariinsky Theatre.


Frank the impresario has received a long-awaited invitation to attend a festival in the town of Rumburg ("Town of Glory"). He is totally perplexed, because right now his entire company comprises just one single person, the comic actor Buff. The ever-resilient and practical Buff takes it upon himself to organise an audition for the singers. One after another, candidates with symbolically meaningful names – Madame Herz ("Heart"), Mademoiselle Silberklang ("Silvern Sound"), Monsieur Vogelsang ("Birdsong") – arrive at the "audition". Each demonstrates his or her qualities, and each wants to be the lead – as well as the highest-paid. The competitive battle for status and fees results in discord, but Frank pacifies everyone with his call to abandon personal ambition and serve art together.

Schedule for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "Der Schauspieldirektor". Comedy with music in one act 2020

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