Wednesday, April 14, 2010

People: Mozart's greatest rival

In Peter Shaffer's famous play, Amadeus, we are given the impression that Mozart's greatest rival was the court composer Antonio Salieri. However, this is a myth that has it's beginnings in a  piece by the Russian poet and playwright, Alexander Pushkin, from his poetic drama Mozart and Salieri. In truth, Salieri was really no rival to Mozart at all, but instead, a friend and admirer of Mozart's who, if anything, only failed to present Mozart's music at court in order to preserve his own position with the Emperor.

Mozart's greatest and most bitter rival was the dashingly handsome Spanish composer, Vincente Martìn y Soler, who came to Vienna in 1785. It was Soler, who because he was angry that Mozart's new Italian comic opera, The Marriage of Figaro, was chosen over his piece, Una Cosa Rara, as the 1786 season opener, started an uprising against Mozart with certain members of the opera company and arranged most, if not all, of the cabals that occurred during Figaro's opening performance.

The following article was taken from Wikipedia.

Vicente Martín y Soler (May 2, 1754 – January 30, 1806) was a Spanish composer of opera and ballet. Although relatively obscure today, in his own day he was compared favorably with his contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as a composer of opera buffa. He has been called the Valencian Mozart.
He was born in Valencia and studied music in Bologna under Giovanni Battista Martini. His first opera was Il tutore burlato (1775), an adaptation of Giovanni Paisiello's La frascatana, which in turn was based on a play of the same title by Filippo Livigni. He had the libretto translated into Spanish and adapted it into zarzuela form (adding spoken dialogue) as La Madrileña o el tutor burlado, under which title it was performed in Madrid during 1778.
In 1777, he travelled to Naples, where he composed for the Teatro di San Carlo. During this period, he worked with choreographer Charles le Picq to compose four ballets d’actionLa Griselda (1779, derived from the libretto by Apostolo Zeno), I ratti sabini (1780), La bella Arsene (1781), andTamas Kouli-Kan (1781, an interpretation of Vittorio Amedeo Cigna-Santi's libretto). He also worked with Zeno on an opera seriaAndromaca, in 1780. In addition, he composed two mezzocarattere ballets, La sposa persiana (1778) and Il barbiere di Siviglia (1781, based on the play by Beaumarchais). At Naples he also worked with court librettist, Luigi Serio, on the composition of opera seria, producing Ifigenia (1779) andIpermestra (1780).
In 1785 he moved to Vienna, where he enjoyed great success with three operas composed to texts by Lorenzo Da Ponte, who was simultaneously collaborating with Mozart and Antonio Salieri. These three comedies were Una cosa rara (1786, based on the play La luna de la sierra by Luis Vélez de Guevara); Il burbero di buon cuore (1786, based on the play by Carlo Goldoni); and L'arbore di Diana (1787). He is credited with introducing, inUna cosa rara, the waltz to Vienna; and a melody from the same work is quoted by Mozart in the banquet scene in Act 2 of Don Giovanni (1787).
In 1788, Soler was invited to the Russian court at St. Petersburg, where he wrote three Russian language operas, The Unfortunate Hero Kosmetovich (1789, libretto written in part byCatherine the Great), Melomania (1790), and Fedul and his Children (1791, with Vasili Pashkevich). Moving to London for the 1795 season, he provided three more Italian language operas: La capricciosa corretta (libretto again by Lorenzo Da Ponte, partly adapted from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew); L'isola del piacere and Le nozze de' contadini spagnuoli. On return to St Petersburg, he wrote his last opera, La festa del villaggio (1798).
He also wrote a number of tragic ballets during his residence as Court Composer there, including Didon abandonée (1792), Amour et Psyché (1793, based on Psyché by MolièreCorneille and Philippe Quinault), Tancrède (1799) and Le retour de Poliorcète (1799). He died, still in post, in 1806.

No comments :

Post a Comment