Amadeus - The concert

by Peter Shaffer
music by Wolgang Amadeus Mozart
concert version by John Axelrod

Salieri: Luca Barbareschi
Mozart: Francesco Bonomo
Costanza: Dajana Roncione

Soprano: Marie-Pierre Roy
Mezzosoprano: Eva Vogel
Tenor: Alexander Kaimbacher
Bass: Thomas Tatzl

conductor: John Axelrod


AMADEUS - The concert

Everyone knows Mozart. And mostly everyone knows Amadeus, the Academy Award winning film directed by Milos Forman and based on the play by Peter Shaffer. The play and the movie make Mozart human.  And Salieri's jealousy and conspiracy against Mozart reveals all too human emotions. Who has not envied the talents of those greater than ourselves? But what makes Amadeus so effective are not the characterizations of these historical figures, nor the sublime music of Mozart heard throughout; but it is the that the music is greater than ourselves, that someone who was an outsider, an individual, a rebel, a lover, a son and a genius, could create what only a genius can: the very voice of God. That is how Salieri describes Mozart's music. And if, in scripture, we are created in God's image, then we can see ourselves in the musical voice of Mozart.  

This work, which I adapted for live performance on stage with orchestra, choir, actors and soloists, offers several innovations, that, since the premiere in 1998, continue to make us re-evaluate the presentation of the repertoire. It is of course wonderful to play Mozart's music in concert. But this total drama, a gesamtkunstwerk of theater and music, of symphonic and lyric challenges the notion of what a traditional concert is, and offers a new paradigm, a hybrid, an interactive experience that is both concrete and abstract. The story follows the music, just as the music follows the text. The costumes are real. The movie becomes alive. The sound exists just as does the voice of God: With breath.

John Axelrod


Total time: 2 hrs 15 min (with pauses)

REPERTOIRE (Minimum Strings: 9-7-6-5-3):

MOZART - Symphonie n° 25 - KV 183 - 1er mouvment « allegro con brio »  0200 – 4000 No repeats

MOZART - Sérénade for 13 wind instruments , KV 361 - 3ème mouvement « adagio » 
0 2 2 3[] - 4 0 0 0 - 2corsdebasset

MOZART - Aria «Martern aller arten » for soprano - (n°11, acte 2, Enlèvement au sérail) 
1122 - 2200

MOZART - Concerto pour piano n° 23 - 2 Mvt, Adagio - KV 488 
1022 – 2000

MOZART - Les Noces de Figaro - Ouverture - Kv 492 
2222 - 2200

MOZART - Don Giovanni - Ouverture - Kv 527 
2222 - 2200

MOZART - Requiem - Kv 626 - (until Lacrimosa (n°8) )- ONLY CHOIR 
0002 - 0230 - 2corsdebasset (2 basset horns can be replaced by two clarinets)


What media say:

le Courier-Ouest France
by Lelian, October 18, 2010

ONPL. And the star was .... Mozart!

In breaking many codes, Music Director John Axelrod, who was also pianist for the sublime Piano Concerto No. 23, had a program that was both explosive and penetrating. Explosive by the staging and space of this sad life of the young genius Wolfgang, told here by his protector and executioner Salieri (the venerable violinist Ivry Gitlis as the wise old narrator) and embodied by a twirling and disarming Nicolas Moreau (Mozart) infatuated with a very "free" Contance, in the person of Noémie Kocher.

The show follows the play "Amadeus" by Peter Shaffer and Milos Forman's eponymous film. It shows a Mozart at turns salacious, provocative, and phantasmagoric. One discovers a Salieri devoured by the monster with green eyes, like a visionary and diabolical Othello. The very presence of all these actors at the heart of the public's Congress Center does everything to destabilize and then attract and enchant an audience accustomed to the conventional classical concerts.

One enters through the richness and power of Mozart's music. In symphony, serenade, concerto, opera overtures and Requiem with the ONPL chorus particularly in good voice and the orchestra, led by concertmaster Constantin Serban, offers some of Mozart's rebellious miracles with all the joy and contemplation required. Special mention also to the soprano Theodora Gheorghiu for the enchanting aria "Matern aller Arten.". Ultimately, this bio-drama musical, created by John Axelrod in Houston in 1998, resonated in every sense, from the bottom to the top of creation. 

Ouest France, October 18, 2010

Mozart staged by ONPL: a show!

Decidedly, the arrival of new chief Axelrod at the helm of the ONPL gave the orchestra a rejuvenation and a healthy dose of dynamism. The concerts last Tuesday and Wednesday, devoted to the divine Mozart, were, in fact, genuine performances. In the main auditorium of the congress center, bursting full and sold out, the ONPL played a slice of life of Mozart in Vienna, struggling with his rival Salieri, or joking with his wife Constance, all three played by actors, including the venerable Ivry Gitlis as Salieri. These slices of life are cleverly interspersed with works of the master, sometimes a movement of a symphony, serenade, a concerto, sometimes an opera overture. All under the agile baton of John Axelrod, with bows, reeds and mouthpieces of the musicians of the ONPL visibly galvanized.

Last act: Mozart is dead, his lifeless body lies on stage show and the orchestra, the great chorus of ONPL and four soloists perform for him the ultimate work: his own Requiem.