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On Stage: Mozart's Last Opera


There is no question that Mozart's place in the world of classical music is secure. The facts of his life as a child prodigy are well-known, but time and understanding have not lessened our fascination and admiration of the man and his work. His last opera, La Clemenza di Tito, was commissioned to celebrate the coronation of emperor Leopold II at Prague on September 6th. The opera is based on Titus, the Roman emperor who shows mercy to his attempted assassins by sparing their lives. The commission came at a time when most of Mozart's work on The Magic Flute was finished, so although The Magic Flute was not produced until September 30, La Clemenza di Tito is considered the later work.

You'll have a chance to see Mozart's last opera onstage next month. The WSU School for Performing Arts is producing La Clemenza di Tito, directed by WSU Opera and Voice Director Marie King, on March 16th through March 19th at Miller Concert Hall in the Duerksen Fine Arts Center.

Around the same period, after The Magic Flute was mostly finished, but before La Clemenza di Tito was commissioned, Mozart was visited by a stranger, who offered to pay in advance for the composer to create a Requiem. According to his wife, Mozart was haunted by the idea that the stranger was a messenger, bringing him an omen of his own death. In fact, Mozart died before finishing the Requiem Mass in D minor. The score was completed by his friend and colleague, Franz Süssmayr, for the man who commissioned it, Count Franz von Walsegg.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.