ABOUT THE PLAY:
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer combines fiction and history to explore the lives and rivalry of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.
It was inspired by Mozart and Salieri, a short play by Aleksandr Pushkin which was later adapted into an opera of the same name by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Amadeus opened in 1979 to critical acclaim and audience appreciation. It won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play of 1979. Shaffer extensively revised the play before it opened on Broadway in late 1980. It won many Tony Awards including best new play and best play. Shaffer then adapted Amadeus for a film released in 1984, which won many Academy Awards.
The story is fiction: Shaffer took the known rivalry of the two composers and built upon and twisted it to create a superb dramatic storyline. Not all music historians approve of Shaffer’s treatment of Mozart, nor of Salieri, but dramatically it is a brilliant piece of writing.
Amadeus focuses on Salieri and the audience sees the story through his eyes. Salieri changes from an old man speaking to the audience as his confessors, to a younger man, court composer for the Emperor of Austria. There are many ensemble roles and silent roles in Amadeus. Scene changes are completed by servants in front of the audience.
It is an intelligent, powerful play about characters everyone has at least heard of through their music.