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The Sunday Opera: Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" from LA Opera

Let’s talk about an operatic hero who does very little during the course of the opera other than be an extremely nice person.   That’s Tito (Emperor Titus) in this week’s Sunday Opera (10/17 3:00 p.m.) in Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” from LA Opera.   Tito (Russell Thomas) is the Roman Emperor who has chosen Berenice, the daughter of a rival, to be his wife.  This angers Vitellia (Quanqun Yu) who, as the daughter of the former emperor, feels she should be next in line.  She convinces Sesto (Elizabeth DeShong), a young patrician in love with her, to plot Tito’s assassination.   Meanwhile, Tito has turned his attentions from Berenice to Servilia (Janai Brugger), Sesto’s sister.  

Sesto is pleased with but torn about this because he’s Tito’s friend, but he has also promised Vitellia that he would kill Tito to prove his love for Vitellia.  Fortunately, the assassination attempt fails, and Tito is now faced with decreeing Sesto’s death for initiating it.   Tito is also faced with Servilia explaining that she is in love with Annio (Taylor Raven) who is Sesto’s friend and has promised herself to him.   Annio and Servilia convince Vitellia to intercede on Sesto’s behalf, and just before Tito announces his decision to pardon Sesto, he's faced with a new conspirator.   However, being as magnanimous as he is, he also pardons Vitellia and releases Servilia so that she can marry Annio.   The opera ends with Tito praying to the gods that they will cut his life short on the day that he stops caring for the welfare of Rome and its people.  <--break->The cast also includes James Cresswell as Publio, the Commander of the Praetorian Guards.   Once again, James Conlon will conduct the LA Opera Chorus and Orchestra.  

After the opera, please stay tuned and join Michael Kownacky as he features three of the many composers who were contemporaries of Mozart and have been pretty much overshadowed by him.   To this end, we’ll hear symphonies by Muzio Clementi, Franz Krommer, and Paul Wranitzky.  

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.