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Mitridate, re di Ponto

The Royal Opera
26 June—7 July 2017
Main Stage

Christophe Rousset conducts an excellent cast including Albina Shagimuratova, Bejun Mehta, Lucy Crowe and Michael Spyres in Graham Vick’s acclaimed production of Mozart’s early opera.

When to see it

The Story

Farnace and Sifare, sons of the mighty warrior Mitridate, both love their father’s fiancée Aspasia. While Sifare is determined to remain loyal to his father, Farnace vows never to yield.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)

Background

Mozart was a month shy of his 15th birthday at the premiere of Mitridate, re di Ponto on 26 December 1770. Given his youth, he had to battle some scepticism over his ability to write an opera for the prestigious Milan carnival, and spent the months leading up to the premiere hurriedly writing and rewriting arias to suite his singers’ demands (a practice that would continue even in later life). The premiere’s brilliant success immediately refuted Mozart’s critics, with the opera given a further 21 performances – a remarkable event for the time. Since its rediscovery in the 20th century, Mitridate has been reclaimed by new generations of singers capable of meeting the score’s astonishing demands.

Graham Vick’s 1991 production for The Royal Opera is ‘considered a milestone in the staging of 18th-century opera’ (The Guardian). Vick draws parallels between the stylized form of Baroque opera and the traditions of Japanese and Indian stagecraft – influences echoed in Paul Brown’s stunningly opulent designs.