What the two men have in common is an appreciation for music that far exceeds what anybody else at court is capable of — not just an ear, but a spirit. The passages in which Salieri describes Mozart's operas, as the music itself plays behind him, are among Shaffer's most exquisite. Hundertmark's Salieri speaks these with a pleasure indistinguishable from pain, and as Lewis conducts Mozart's work (quite well), he conveys both the young man's brilliance and his unadulterated joy, without ego or ostentation, in trying to "turn the audience into God".

We already know — from history, and from Salieri himself — that this eternal child is not going to make it, that he'll be dead of syphilis and in a pauper's grave before he's 28. But his fall and pathos are still haunting, in Lewis's hands (his baby-talk with Constanze is both sweet and haunting; his descent into syphilitic madness is aching), and even more difficult to watch is Salieri's slow transformation into a truly despicable, pitiable creature. In turning on God, the music that so moves him, and the man who created it, he has really turned on himself.

Megan Grumbling can be reached at  mgrumbling@hotmail.com.

AMADEUS | by Peter Shaffer | Directed by Genevieve Aichele | Produced by New Hampshire Theatre Project, in Portsmouth NH | through January 23 | 603.431.6644

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Theater , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Theater, Theatre,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MEGAN GRUMBLING
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM  |  April 17, 2014
    Snowlion gets dark with a musical tragedy
  •   THE HYDROPHILIC LIFE  |  April 11, 2014
    The very winning world premiere of Underwaterguy , which Underwood both wrote and performs, runs now at Good Theater, under the direction of Cheryl King.
  •   THE PASSIONS OF PRIVATE LIVES  |  April 03, 2014
    Battle of the exes at Portland Players
  •   LEARNING TO HEAR, AND LISTEN  |  April 03, 2014
    The vicissitudes of identity and community are difficult negotiations in Nina Raine’s drama Tribes , dynamically directed by Christopher Grabowski for Portland Stage Company.
  •   THE DEAD DON'T LEAVE  |  March 28, 2014
    The complexity of familial love, regret, and shame, as seen between Charlie, who long ago moved to London, and his simple, sometimes confounding, working-class gardener father (Tony Reilly), are the crucible of Hugh Leonard’s Da .

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING