REVIEW: La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart, English Touring Opera, Lyceum theatre, Sheffield

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English Touring Opera are to be thanked for giving us the opportunity to hear a Mozart opera which is not often performed.

The opera was sung in English which was a surprise as the title was given in Italian and the Puccini operas the previous night were sung in Italian.

While the beautiful cadences of the Italian would have added another dimension to our enjoyment, the clearly enunciated English helped those of us in the audience who did not know The Clemency of Titus.

I do not understand why this opera, set in ancient Rome and written to the greater glory of the Hapsburg Emperor Leopold II, was staged in 1940s dress.

The refusal of Titus to ‘play a part’ with ‘fear and terror’ had a modern resonance but did not really fit the 1940s.

The set too, while symbolic, did not fit the plot as well as the sets of the other operas in this ETO tour.

The music is wonderful. The complex relationships between the orchestra and the voices were just right throughout.

The singing was excellent and Julia Riley’s voice was outstanding in the demanding role of Sextus.

This was a real Mozart treat: beautiful music very well performed.

As the standard was so high and so well appreciated in the two ETO performances in Sheffield, in would have been great if they could also have performed the third opera in their present tour here.

Fantastic Mr Fox would have been another different operatic treat and could have introduced Sheffield children to the fun which is opera.

By Mavis Kirkham