Opera "Titus's Mercy": content, video, interesting facts, history

V.A. Mozart opera "Titus Mercy"

Paradoxically, the great Mozart has an essay that still causes many contradictory judgments - this is the opera Titus's Mercy. Some believe that only a brilliant composer is able to write such a work in 18 days, others, on the contrary, assume that because of the haste of the composition of this work "The Grace of Titus" is not a masterpiece worthy of the great maestro. Yes indeed in this work Mozart There are no "hits", as in his other operas, nevertheless, the music is amazingly beautiful and hears delights.

Summary of Mozart's opera "Titus's mercy"and many interesting facts about this work read on our page.




Titus Vespasiantenorruler of the roman empire of the Flavian dynasty
Vitelliasopranodaughter of the overthrown emperor Aulus Wittel
Sextmezzo-sopranoPatrician, friend of Titus, in love with Vitellius
Serviliasopranosister of sexta
Anniusmezzo-sopranoPatrician, friend of Sextus, beloved of Servilia
Publiybassprefect, commander of the praetorian guard

Summary of "Titus Mercy"

Rome. Last quarter of the first century of our era. The reign of Emperor Titus from the Flavian dynasty.

The proud Vittelia, daughter of the overthrown and then murdered ruler of Aulus Vitellius, is disturbed by the fact that the ruler rejected her, carried away by the "barbarous" princess Berenice. She encourages Sextus, a close friend of Titus, to take part in the conspiracy and kill the emperor, promising her love as a reward. As soon as Sextus, who is recklessly in love with Vittelia, gives his consent, Annius appears and tells a friend that the emperor urgently wants to see him, while adding that the sensible Titus sent his beloved Israelite home to the joy of the Romans. Wittelia, having heard the good news, immediately ordered Sextus to suspend the execution of the insidious plan. Annius, when the young men were left alone, asks his friend to get permission from the emperor for his marriage with Servilia, sister of Sextus, whom he has long loved. Sextw happily promises to help.

In the central square of the city, the Romans glorify the emperor. Sextus and Annius also go there. Left alone with friends, Titus told them that in order to please the residents of Rome, he wanted to marry a decent girl and his choice fell on Servilia, the sister of Sextus. Annius was amazed by the decision of the emperor, but could not argue with him. Left alone, the young man calms himself with the fact that his beloved will take the place of empress worthy for her, and he will only bow to her. Servilla appears, the unfortunate Annius reports that Titus's choice fell on her and she is now the bride of the emperor. The girl, amazed at the news he heard, declares to her chosen one that she truly loves him and cannot give this feeling to anyone else.

Palace of the emperor. Servilla approaches Titus, deep in thought. The girl frankly confesses to the master of love for Annius, but adds: if the emperor insists on the intention to make her his wife, then she will submit. Titus, struck by the sacrificial act of Annius, as well as the honesty of Servily, said that he could not interfere with such love. Further, angry Vittelia, hearing the news of the intention of Titus to marry Servilla, again incites Sextus to kill the emperor. As soon as the young man leaves to fulfill the cunning plan of his beloved, Publius and Annius appear with the latest news that the ruler announced Vittelia as his chosen one. The girl is shocked, because she can no longer stop Sextus.

Rebels set fire to a temple on Capitol Hill. Annius, Servilia, Vittelia and Publius approach the Capitol. Sextus, tormented by torments of conscience, informs them that the emperor has been killed.

Anna, alone with Sextus in the imperial garden, wants to reassure him with his message: Titus miraculously survived. In reply, Sextus confesses to a friend that he was the instigator of the rebellion and therefore intends to leave Rome. Annius advises his friend to stay and prove his loyalty to the emperor with his works, but Sextus, who then succumbed to Vittelia's persuasion, was still about to run. His plans are violated by the arrival of Publius, who arrests and escorts the conspiracy organizer to the Senate court. Titus does not believe in Sextus’s treason, and even when Publius brings him the decision on the death sentence handed down by the Senate, the governor doubts. He asks the prefect to bring a young man to him in order to make sure of his friend’s treason. Sextus, betraying no one, admits his guilt and Titus has no choice but to agree to the death penalty.

Vittelia, shocked by the fact that Sextus’s love for her is so great that he did not betray her, on the day of the execution she approached the emperor with a confession of guilt. Titus, having thought over, mercifully forgives everyone, and the jubilant crowd glorifies his mercy and wisdom.

Duration of performance
I ActAct II
70 min75 min.

A photo

Interesting Facts

  • The opera "The Mercy of Titus" is the most under-performing work. Mozart.
  • The Italian Pietro Metastasio, on the text of which this opera was written, was once considered to be one of the most popular librettists. His opera scripts were regarded by contemporaries as exemplary. As a result, the composer created more than 2,000 musical performances on 26 opera texts composed by the playwright in the 18th century.
  • "Titus Mercy" was written by Metastasio in 1733, and was first presented with the music of the Italian composer Antonio Caldar in 1734 as an offering for the birthday of Charles VI - the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Since then on this text by various composers, among which I. Bach, K. Gluck, I. Hasse, N. Yommelli, D. Scarlatti was written more than four dozen opera works, usually performed on the day of the coronation or the name of the royal personages.

  • In the center of the plot of the opera "Charity of Titus" was presented the Roman emperor Titus Flavius ​​Vespasian. He reigned in Rome from 79 to 81 years of the first century AD and was distinguished by mercy, generosity, nobility, and special condescension to his subjects. Emperor Titus was the first Roman ruler to whom power was inherited.
  • Everyone was surprised that Mozart could write such an opera in just 18 days. But a special blow to self-esteem was put to the composer Antonio Salieri, who served as court composer and at the imperial court enjoyed a special prestige, but due to the shortened terms he refused to fulfill the order.
  • Mozart, working in Prague on the opera “The Mercy of Titus”, in order to get a little distracted, visited the pub almost every day, having fun playing billiards there. The companions noticed that during the session he constantly sang some motives, then took out a notebook, noted something and then continued the game again. What was the surprise of friends, when the melodies already familiar to them, heard for the first time in the tavern, sounded in the opera "magical flute"This suggests that the power of creative genius allowed Mozart to simultaneously engage in different things, and his creative work was continuous.

  • In Russia, for the first time, the opera “The Mercy of Titus” was presented by artists of the German troupe in 1809. The Russian production of the musical performance was carried out in 1817, but the opera scheduled for July 1826 was prevented by the execution of the Decembrists. Nicholas I did not want to follow the example of the merciful Roman emperor: the revolutionaries were hanged, and the performance was banned.
  • Of particular interest in this work of Mozart began to grow in the late 60s of the last century, and "Titus's Mercy" very often began to appear in the records (today there are more than forty). In addition, there are several remarkable screenings of the work, among which the most remarkable are opera films: 1980 (Germany), 1991 (United Kingdom), 2005 (France), 2012 (USA).

Popular numbers from the opera The Mercy of Titus

The duet of Vitellija and Seksta "Come ti piace imponi" (listen)

Vitellia's aria "Deh se piacer mi vuoi" (listen)

Aria Tita "Ah, se fosse intorno al trono" (listen)

The story of the creation of "The Mercy of Titus"

In the last summer month of 1791, shortly before its untimely death, Mozart received from the impresario Domenico Guardazoni, to which, despite his poor health, he gladly agreed. It was an order for the composition of the opera “The Mercy of Titus”, staged by the management of the Prague Estates Theater intended to mark the forthcoming significant event in the life of the Czech state: the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II as king of Bohemia.

Mozart liked this assignment: first, Wolfgang really liked Prague, where, unlike Vienna, his music was received with great hospitality, secondly, the composer needed money, because his wife’s illness required considerable expenses, and besides Mozart still did not leave hope to get closer to the emperor. However, by agreeing to write this opera, he, first of all, helped Guardazoni very much, because everyone found out about the date of the coronation scheduled for September 6 only two months before the momentous event, and it was necessary to celebrate such an important historical fact with a grandiose theatrical premiere. The Czechs accordingly appealed to the well-known impresario, although they put him in a difficult position, because there was very little time left to prepare such an event.

It didn’t take long to choose a plot for an opera, as it was already customary for such celebrations to stage a performance in which all the content was reduced to glorifying the state ruler. The libretto for Titus's opera-seria, the famous Italian playwright Pietro Metastasio, which he created more than fifty years ago, was perfectly suited for such a grand celebration. It goes without saying that, first of all, Guardazone addressed the composer Antonio Salieri, whose work was valued at the imperial court, with a request for writing the opera, but he immediately refused, citing great employment. The proposal of the impresario was also rejected by other musical writers. Only Mozart agreed, despite the fact that in this creative period he was completing work on "Magic flute"and besides that began to compose his famous"Requiem".

Libretto, written by Metastasio in 1733, Mozart considered somewhat outdated and therefore, with a request to refresh his maestro, immediately contact the poet Catarino Madzola, who made significant changes to the text. The opera from three-act turned into two-act, however it became more dynamic.

There was very little time left for composing and staging the opera, which included 27 numbers, and therefore the composer set about writing it in the carriage on its way from Vienna to Prague. The work was very intense, because Mozart wrote the score day and night, which consequently affected his health.

Probably the maestro provided little help to his pupil Franz Zusmayer, since according to some assumptions it was he who wrote the so-called "dry" recitatives for the opera. The premiere of the opera took place in due time, but she did not have written at an accelerated pace of success with the audience, and the empress declared that it was not music, but “German rubbish”. Accordingly, Mozart failed to consolidate his position at the imperial court, but the fee in the amount of two hundred ducats, which at that time was a significant amount, was quite satisfactory. After the coronation, "Titus's Mercy" was shown several more times, but the maestro no longer cared, he was worried about the upcoming premiere of The Magic Flute, which was to be held on the 30th of the same month.


After the premiere, held on September 6, 1791, Titus's "Mercy" in Prague was shown several more times. The last performance, dated 30 September, according to some sources, was perceived by the audience quite well.

Further, throughout the 19th century, with various changes in the libretto, the opera was occasionally staged, but mainly for ceremonial purposes. For example, in 1806, the audience first saw it in London, in 1818, Titus's Mercy subdued the scene of Milan's "La Scala", in 1824 it was set in Munich in honor of the 25th anniversary of the reign of Elector Maximilian IV Joseph, and in 1848 again played on the coronation of the Emperor of the Austrian Empire, Franz Joseph I.

It should be noted that this composition by Mozart received a special reassessment only in the second half of the 20th century thanks to the talented French opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnel. His Cologne production of Titus Mercy in 1969 attracted widespread attention to the work of musical genius forgotten at the time. In 1976, Ponnel resumed the production of the play, but this time in the Austrian Salzburg, and eight years later the name of the opera appeared on the poster of the Metropolitan Opera. Since then, the opera has become popular with the resumption of productions on the world's best stages. The performance was seen by the spectators of Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Stockholm, Naples, Brussels, London, Hamburg, Zurich. In Russia, especially remarkable were the performances staged by the Helikon-Opera Theater in 2006, as well as the Chamber Music Theater. B.A. Pokrovsky in 2017.

"Titus's mercy"- this opera is great Mozart, despite the contradictory judgments, rightfully takes place in the treasury of world music culture. The value of the work is not only in beautiful music, but also in that, in addition to the eternal themes: friendship, devotion, love, hatred and betrayal, the composer touches on an important problem that remains relevant and at the present time is a question of power and rulers. However, unfortunately, the ideal image of the overlord, created by the ingenious maestro, remains so only on the theatrical stage.

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