The Sunday Opera: Mozart's "The Clemency of Titus" by the LA Opera
The Los Angeles Opera is supplying this week’s Sunday Opera (8/23 3:00 p.m.) with their production of Mozart’s “The Clemency of Titus” (“La clemenza di Tito”) from last season. Emperor Titus is well loved for his kindness by everyone except for Vitellia, the daughter of the king deposed by Titus’ father. Vitellia has sworn revenge, especially since Titus has turned his attentions to another to be the empress. She enlists the aid of Titus' friend Sesto to plan Titus' assassination, but when Titus decides that he wants to marry Sesto’s sister, Servilla, Sesto is torn. The first act ends with the attack on Titus and the burning of the Emperor’s palace. Even though this is an “opera seria,” there is a happy ending of sorts because of the goodwill and “clemency of Titus” who declares that he hopes that the gods will shorten his days if he ever stops caring about the good of Rome.
The Titus in this performance is Russell Thomas. The Vitellia is Guanqun Yu. Sesto and Servilla are sung by Elizabeth DeShong and Janai Bruggert. James Conlon conducts the Los Angeles Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Once again, we’re changing direction after the opera, when host Michael Kownacky will be airing a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 conducted by Sir Georg Solti leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The soprano soloist for this gloriously massive work is Helga Dernesch, and she’s joined by the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus and the Women’s Chorus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.