Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart remains one of the world’s most celebrated – and enigmatic – figures more than two centuries after his death, perpetually famous for his brilliant classical compositions as well as for his turbulent and tragic life. This spring, his story and musical legacy are presented to Nashville audiences in a collaboration called Mozart in Music City: the Man, the Music, the Magic.
The city-wide celebration includes productions from Nashville Opera, the Nashville Symphony, Blackbird Theater, the Lipscomb University Department of Music, and FiftyForward Music for Seniors. It runs through March and April.
Mozart in Music City begins with Blackbird Theater’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play (and source of the Academy Awardwinning film) Amadeus, March 8-23 with 7 p.m. performances for much of the run at Lipscomb’s Shamblin Theatre. Amadeus takes a trenchant look at the troubled life, brilliant music, and tragic death of Mozart through the envious eyes of Salieri, the rival who claimed to have killed the great composer. “Amadeus is one of the great masterworks of modern theatre,” says Blackbird’s Artistic Director Wes Driver. “Shaffer has such a unique theatrical imagination, which I don’t think was ever more fully realized than in this funny, ferocious, tour de force of a show.” A matinee performance will be held March 17 at 2:30 p.m. with a special senior discount ticket for $10.
FiftyForward Music for Seniors joins host Lipscomb University to present a free music program for seniors on Thursday, March 14 at 2:00 p.m. The event features performances of Mozart’s work by the Lipscomb University Department of Music and Nashville Opera’s Young Artists quartet, and scenes from Blackbird’s production of Amadeus. “FiftyForward Music for Seniors is delighted to participate in Mozart in Music City,” says program director Sarah Martin McConnell. “Our free Daytime Concert Series audiences love classical music, so offering this beloved composer’s work combined with the magic of theater is a wonderful gift to our area’s older adults and the whole community.” The event is free and open to all, and will be held in Lipscomb’s Ward Hall.
An expanded instrumental performance will be held April 1 at 8:00 p.m. as the Lipscomb University Department of Music presents Mozart & Schumann: The Piano Quartets. Lipscomb string faculty Carolyn Wann Bailey, violin; Clare Yang, viola; Sari Reist, cello, join pianist Jerome Reed for piano quartets by the two composers. The event is also free and open to all, and will be held in Lipscomb’s Ward Hall.
The series continues with Nashville Opera’s production of one of Mozart’s most popular and enduring works. “The Magic Flute was Mozart’s final opera, and is arguably one of the most well-known and loved operas in the history of music,” says John Hoomes, General and Artistic Director of Nashville Opera. “It contains a fantastical, fairy tale type of plot and within the glorious music, we hear Mozart composing at the height of his musical power. While at first glance this opera offers an immense beauty and lightness of spirit, beneath this simple surface can be found several deeper layers of meaning.
“This is often the case with great works of art: they can be enjoyed, interpreted, and understood on several different levels depending on your experience and insight. Some people are drawn to the fairy tale aspect of The Magic Flute, others might enjoy Mozart’s fantastic music, others will be fascinated by the love story and the battle between good and evil, and still others may regard the opera as a parable dealing with the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment. No matter how much or how little you wish to search for in The Magic Flute, everyone will agree that this opera is a timeless masterpiece that could only come from the mind of Mozart.” Performances are April 11 at 7 p.m. and April 13 at 8 p.m. in TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall.
The series concludes as the Nashville Symphony presents Mozart’s Piano Masterpiece April 18-20 (7 p.m. the first night and 8 p.m. the next two evenings) at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center featuring his Piano Concerto No 9 in E-flat Major, popularly known as Jeunehomme. “I am thrilled that Nashville is coming together to celebrate the genius of Mozart,” says Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. “The Nashville Symphony is proud to be a part of this citywide program and looks forward to closing out the series of events with our performance of Mozart’s Ninth Piano Concerto in April.”
“Whether one’s favored haunt is the opera house, symphony hall, or theatre, we hope Nashville’s culture lovers will see this as a chance to explore a medium they perhaps haven’t tried in a while,” says Blackbird’s Managing Director Greg Greene. “The legacy of Mozart presents a golden opportunity to experience his story and his music in an array of marvelous art forms, and there’s nowhere more fitting for this series than Music City.”
For full event listings and tickets, visit MozartInMusicCity.com, powered by NowPlayingNashville.com. NowPlayingNashville.com, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, is Middle Tennessee’s comprehensive arts and entertainment calendar, with information about music, theater, sports, dance, museums, kids and family activities and more along with discount ticket offers. Since its launch in 2007, the website has collaborated with hundreds of community partners, providing comprehensive information to support arts and entertainment organizations and enrich the Middle Tennessee community.
*Logo courtesy Mozart in Music City collaborative.