Following the success of his "Mitridate," Mozart received another
commission to write an opera for Milan, a dramma per musica in three acts.
He began working on "Lucio Silla" in late 1772, while on his third trip to
Italy. Although the rehearsals were fraught with problems caused by
recalcitrant singers, the work was nevertheless given 26 performances to
full houses. Yet despite this success, "Lucio Silla" was the last opera
Mozart wrote for Italy.
"I see it as a kind of political thriller, the story of a plot against an
inhuman regime. [...] 'Lucio Silla' is, in my opinion, one of the few truly
political pieces by Mozart." Director Jürgen Flimm conceived his production
accordingly, delivering a taut and often breathtakingly raw interpretation
of the story of the dictator Lucio Silla. Although the action unfolds in
ancient Rome, Flimm has transposed it to Mozart's day, when absolutistic
monarchs still held sway over Europe.
Coveting the betrothed of the senator Cecilio, the dictator Silla exiles
the senator and declares him dead. Giunia, however, wards off Silla's
advances and is happily reunited with Cecilio when he secretly returns. But
Silla refuses to yield and tries to force Giunia to give herself to him.
She refuses once, she refuses twice... Then Silla publicly announces their
wedding. To prevent the wedding and end Silla's tyranny, Cecilio reappears
in public and tries to assassinate Silla. The plot fails but - as one would
expect in an opera seria - the dictator has a sudden change of mind and
brings the story to a happy end.
Jürgen Flimm's staging is a coproduction with Venice's Teatro La Fenice,
which also contributed its chorus and orchestra to the Salzburg adaptation.
The stellar cast is dominated by Roberto Saccà as Silla, Annick Massis as
Giunia and Monica Bacelli as Cecilio - all three at home on the world's
greatest stages such as the Vienna State Opera, Barcelona's Liceu, London's
Covent Garden Opera, La Scala, Palais Garnier...