Music ReviewsOperaTom Williams

La Clemenza Di Tito

An opera in two acts

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartditotiologo1

Libretto by Caterino Tommasco Mazzola

(after Pietro Metastasio)

Conductor Jane Glover

Director Christopher Alden

Produced by Chicago Opera Theater

At the Harris Theater

Seldom produced Mozart opera a ravishing complete work

Mozart’s last opera from 1791, La Cemenza Di Tito, is a high drama of great immediacy featuring the soaring Mozart score under the deft direction of Jane Glover. This story is set in ancient Rome (79 A.D.) where Vitella (Amanda Majeski) wants Emperor Tito assassinated because he doesn’t lover her as he has chosen Berenice. She wants Sesto (played by a female Renata Pokupic) to kill Tito but asks him to delay the murder because Sesto is told by his friend Annio (also played by a female Paula Murrihy) that Berenice will not be the emperor’s consort after all. The two men renew their friendship as the populace hails Tito as a near god.


As the story unfolds, we witness complex twists including conspiracy, betrayal and treachery. Beautifully sung mostly by female including fine arias by Renata Pokupic, Paula Murrihy, Armanda Majeski and Charlotte Dobbs. Sopranos and mezzo sparanos never sounded so fresh and vibrant. They give depth to Mozart’s score. The gender bending casting, faithful to Mozart’s original gave homoerotic hints as subtext. Dominic Armstrong’s Tito belted his excellent tenor with aplomb and emotional range. This is a hopeful opera with a heartfelt forgiving tone.

The highlight of the production, for me, was the splendid Mozart score with rousing marches with stirring trumpet allegros. Conductor Jane Glover orchestra effectively navigated the gorgeous Mozart music. If it is a Mozart opera, put it on your ‘must see’ list. Chicago Opera Theater’s production values are worthy.


Tom Williams

At Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL, call 312-704-8414,, tickets $30 -$120, Tuesday, April 21; Wednesday, April 29; Friday, May 1—all at 7:30pm, running time is 2 hours, 40 minutes with intermission.

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