Mozart: The Mercy of Titus
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) composed his last opera 'La Clemenza di Tito' between July and September 1791. It was a short-term assignment on the occasion of the coronation of Leopold II as king of Bohemia and Mozart worked simultaneously - in his last year of life - also to 'Die Zauberflöte' and his 'Requiem'. He left the recitatives of "La Clemenza di Tito" to his student Franz Xaver Süssmayr and the music of the opera is characterized - perhaps by the tight working period - by modest arias, unicoloured choirs and transparent orchestration.
This complete performance was a BBC studio recording, broadcast on 11 March 1956. The source recording is part of the ‘Itter Broadcast Collection’ held by Lyrita Recorded Edition Trust.
The opera was sung in English by a solid cast. The Welsh tenor Richard Lewis sings the title game of Tito. He made his professional opera debut with the Carl Rosa Opera Company in 1939 and sang from 1947 at the Glyndebourne Festival and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. Lewis sings Tito with authority and an excellent Jugendlich-heroic sound. His “Se all’impero” from the second act has been placed before the last trio. Joan Sutherland, 29, is a loving Vitellia full of love, guilt and worry. She does not hear the fierce, avenging Emperor's daughter. She is more intelligible here than later, always pure and with fantastic phrases and tight coloratures. Monica Sinclair is a resplendent Sexto, credible in his doubt, faithfulness and infatuation. The British mezzo Anna Pollak spent her childhood in the Netherlands and is here a "butch" Annio. During the Second World War she sang for the British troops. From 1945 she sang at the Sadlers Wells Opera and gave guest appearances at the English Opera Group, in Glyndebourne (ao Dorabella) and the Royal Opera House (ao Cherubino). Jennifer Vyvyan is Servilia and Thomas Hemsley is Publius.
Opera is characterized - perhaps by the tight working period - by modest arias, unicoloured choirs and transparent orchestration.
- Opera Nederland (translation)