PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – British dramatist Peter Shaffer has spent considerable time and imagination on the lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his contemporary, Antonio Salieri.
The project, titled “Amadeus,” has been a popular and long-running drama, then a movie, and currently occupies the main stage of the Walnut Street Theatre.
In the play, we first meet Salieri as an old man convinced that, as the Austrian Composer of the Court, he had been instrumental in the death of Mozart. The gifted Mozart had been regarded by Salieri and others as a talented individual with a nasty disposition and, for a time, an overworked womanizer.
But while Mozart eventually warmed to Salieri, the latter looked upon the creativity of the young Mozart as a form of punishment from God.
What we have here is a classic struggle between jealousy and genius.
“Amadeus” may not be the liveliest of theatrical musicals, although it’s brilliantly staged with a large cast and sets cleverly mounted and executed with much credit to director Malcolm Black and a cast of attractive players.
It’s easy to see why this show has won its share of honors. “Amadeus” runs through March 6th on the Walnut Street Theatre’s main stage.
Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060.