Friday, May 13, 2011

Amadeus: Fact and Fiction


Sir Peter Shaffer said of his play Amadeus (and the screenplay for the 1984 motion picture), "[Amadeus is] a fantasia based on fact. It is not a screen biography of Mozart, and was never intended to be." In this post, I recall some scenes from the film and compare them to facts of the composer's life. Fact means, "the movie had this in it", Fiction means, "the movie either made this up, or changed it slightly".

Fiction - After the premier of Die Entführung aus dem Serial, Mozart refers to his future mother-in-law, Frau Weber, as "my landlady". In reality, Mozart had been asked to leave the Weber boarding house 9 months before the opera's premier. (See Life.)

Fact - Mozart did not get along with the Archbishop of Salzburg. The Archbishop mistreated him and eventually dismissed him.

Fact/Fiction - Mozart married Constanze before his father's consent letter arrived in the mail. However, the movie makes it appear as if Leopold never consented to the marriage. Leopold was always somewhat cool toward Constanze, but he did consent to the marriage.

Fiction - Although it would be foolish to say that a proud Austrian such as Mozart didn't enjoy alcoholic beverages, he certainly wasn't an alcoholic, as the movie portrays him to be near the end of his life. His favorite drink was punch, which his friends said he drank in large quantities.

Fiction - Shortly before his death, Mozart slipped into unconsciousness and never awoke. This means that he probably died with his eyes closed, not open.

Fact - Salieri and his co-workers did work secretly to make Le Nozze di Figaro a failure. They asked the performers to request impossible alterations on their parts, infuriating Mozart to the point of threatening to withdraw the entire opera. The Emporer Joseph II stepped in, then, and ordered that everything return to how it was. The performers ended up liking their parts and the opera was a success until a new Salieri opera overshadowed it. As the movie mentions, the opera was withdrawn after only nine performances.

Fiction - Salieri did not kill Mozart, and it was not he who came to Mozart's door commissioning a Requiem Mass. In reality, the mysterious visitor was a messenger of the young Count Walsegg, who liked to commission pieces and pass them off as his own.

Fact - Mozart loved billiards. In the movie there are many instances where he is playing or writing music at his billiards table. Mozart's good friend, tenor Michael Kelly, mentioned in his memoirs that he enjoyed countless games of billiards with him, and never won.

Fiction - Mozart had not one child, but six. Unfortunately, only two survived to adulthood, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang.

Fiction - Salieri was not with Mozart when he died. Present during Mozart's last hours on earth were his wife Constanze, her sister Sophie and his doctor.

Fiction - Constanze did not attend Mozart's funeral, which was held two days after his death, as she was too distraught.

Fiction - Mozart did not call Constanze "Stanzi", but "Stanzerl".

Fiction - As funny as it was in the movie, the Queen of Night aria in Die Zauberflöte was not inspired by Mozart's mother-in-law!

28 comments:

  1. AMADEUS est un FAUX ENTIEREMENT in french : une grosse merde mensongère

    Veronique Carlève, française

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  2. he was an amazing composer and I don't think his life should have ended so soon :(

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    1. nigga who gives a fuck he was ass lil wyane is better

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    2. Lil wayne sucks.

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    3. Oh, I'm sure in 200 years, they'll be singing Lil' Wayne's praises like they do Mozart's! LOL!!!!!

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    4. Vernon, you won the most stupidest comment ever award yet seen on the internet, dear gad that was stunningly dumb, fek me.

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  3. The film may not be accurate but it introduced many people to the genius of Mozart, including myself.

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  4. Mozart was the greatest musician that has ever lived-- fact...!

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  5. Mozart was the greatest musician that has ever lived --- it is not a fact, it is an opinion. I do not agree

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  6. This article does a pretty good job of debunking some of the myths caused by the movie Amadeus, but I find it very ironic that the banner for the site features a quote that Mozart never really wrote. It was a forgery.

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  7. In my opinion Mozart was and is the greatest composer.
    I absolutely LOVE his music!

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    Replies
    1. You are a faggot

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    2. "You are a f****t" must certainly also be an opinion, a crass one at that, one that has no place in a civilised debate over a superior piece of popular culture. I'm all for the freedoms of the Internet, but the civilities used in day-to-day, face-to-face interaction should guide the more anonymous interactions online. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't be a coward and say it in a comment.

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  8. who tf is this bum ass fool young thug meek mill is way better

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    Replies
    1. cheif keef is way better you cuntsucker

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    2. You both have shit taste for music.

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  9. The following statement exists at the bottom of the page of comments, just below some very profane comments: "Any inappropriate comments will be removed immediately. Please, no profanity or swearing in your comments. Please use correct spelling (no abbreviations or "Instant Message/Texting Spelling". Thank you for your consideration!" Who manages this site???

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    Replies
    1. Yes please, those comments add nothing and lower the tone of this entire blog - and a very worthy blog it is too.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Interesting info. Thnx for your efforts despite the retards with their idiotic comments.

    Would you recommend the 111 Collection as a good intro to Mozart's complete works?

    Thnx

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  12. Keep up the best work guys, nice posts are here to get more benefits.
    Brevard MLS

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  13. listen to Inbred Fist,
    yes its a bit of an odd name but these guys have truly brought the beauty of Mozart BACK TO LIFE. mixing classical music with modern jazz.

    listen here :
    https://inbredfist.bandcamp.com/releases

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  14. https://inbredfist.bandcamp.com/releases

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  15. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect all aspects of your lifealcohol detox

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  16. he performers ended up liking their parts and the opera was a success until a new Salieri opera overshadowed it.alcoholism

    ReplyDelete

Any inappropriate comments will be removed immediately. Please, no profanity or swearing in your comments. Please use correct spelling (no abbreviations or "Instant Message/Texting Spelling". Thank you for your consideration!