ACT TWO was commissioned and first presented by the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival on 8/1/97.
Maria Jette as Constanze; Robert Moore as the Ghost of Mozart
John Duykers as Benjamin Franklin; Hector Vasquez as Anton Mesmer
CATERINA- a young opera singer- soprano or mezzo
FRANCO MORO- a traveling medicinals salesman- baritone
A BARMAID- soprano
AN INKEEPER- tenor
CATERINA'S CHAPERONE- mute role, walk-on
MESSENGER- mute role. walk-on
CONSTANZE'S MAID- soprano or mezzo
ANTON MESMER- baritone
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN- tenor
(note- The opera can be performed by as few as four singers and one actor by employing the following double-casting:
Constanze/Barmaid; Caterina/Constanze's Maid; Innkeeper/Franklin; Franco/Mesmer; Chaperone/Messenger.)
accompaniment: string quartet, piano, glass instrument (verrophone, armonica, table glasses, glass harp or seraphim; electronic samples may be substituted if a real glass instrument is not available.)
ACT ONE was composed for Sascha Reckert and the Sinfonia di Vetro.
The Sinfonia di vetro presented the European premier of ACT TWO on November 18, 2006 in Bruchsal, Germany.
The act begins with an overture and three expository solo scenes:
Late Summer, 1791- CONSTANZE MOZART writes a letter to a friend expressing her concern for her husband's deteriorating health.
Late November, 1791- CATERINA, a young singer, writes a diary entry expressing her excitement at her impending trip to Vienna to audition for the opera.
Early December, 1791- FRANCO MORO, a traveling medicinals salesman, writes a note to a colleague, making an appointment for them to meet and for FRANCO to take delivery of some iron rods used in Mesmeric cures.
The remainder of the act is a scene in a tavern, whereat FRANCO arrives for his appointment and CATERINA and her CHAPERONE arrive to spend one of the nights on their journey. The scene begins with a trio by the INNKEEPER, the BARMAID and CATERINA, the subject of which is the comfort one finds in a warming fire on a cold night. FRANCO arrives, makes a play for the BARMAID and is rebuffed by the INNKEEPER who is also the BARMAID's father. There is a cracking sound, and the two men are called outdoors to attend to a tree limb that is threatening to fall on the house. CATERINA and the BARMAID first discuss CATERINA's impending audition, then the BARMAID asks CATERINA about opera in general. CATERINA enthusiastically recounts the plot to her favorite opera, "Don Giovanni," in a long comic aria which uses many of Mozart's tunes to tell the story of that opera from the young lady's point of view. The climax of her tale is interrupted by the return of the two men. A MESSENGER arrives with a note from FRANCO's companion: He was unable to obtain the iron rods from Mesmer, who unexpectedly had been called to Vienna by the death of his friend, Wolfgang Mozart. CATERINA is devastated. The four characters sing the "Tuba Mirum" from Mozart's Requiem.
The day after Mozart's death
Scene 1- The Mozart Apartment
In an aria that describes Mozart's final hours, CONSTANZE MOZART mourns her husband's death. ANTON MESMER comes to the door. Seeing CONSTANZE's distress, her tries to effect a Mesmeric cure on her. He then claims ownership of Mozart's glass armonica. Before MESMER finishes making his case, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN arrives. There are clearly bad feelings between FRANKLIN and MESMER. FRANKLIN has also come for Mozart's glass armonica. Constanze tells them both that she will decide later that day. FRANKLIN and MESMER leave. CONSTANZE is distressed and sings an aria, mourning her husband and resolving not to give the glass armonica to either Franklin or Mesmer.
Scene 2- Franklin and Mesmer's Hotel Rooms
Both men return to their respective hotel rooms and write letters to their loved ones expressing their difficulty in obtaining the glass armonica and telling something of the history of their animosity towards each other.
Scene 3- The Mozart Apartment
In a pantomime, CONSTANZE acts out her grief, dancing with Mozart's coat. Her affection turns to anger. Her reverie is interupted by the MAID to whom CONSTANZE resolves not to be bested by either of her formidable adversaries. FRANKLIN and MESMER return. CONSTANZE informs them of her decision. FRANKLIN and MESMER begin to argue about who deserves the instrument more. As the two men argue, CONSTANZE protests. The argument grows more and more heated until at its climax, CONSTANZE dramatically stops the two men and orders them to leave her house. Resolved to win by any means, MESMER pulls out a pistol and shoots FRANKLIN in the arm. FRANKLIN runs off, screaming. Then, in his attempt to steal the glass armonica, MESMER drops it, and it shatters. With a cry of anger and horror at what he has done, MESMER rushes off, leaving the broken instrument behind. CONSTANZE is stunned as, for a moment, she surveys the wreckage. She kneels and picks up two pieces of broken glass. She holds the pieces side-by-side, as though she could put them back together. Then she gently puts them back on the floor. She slowly wanders the room, touching Mozart's coat, picking up his pen, touching the piano. She picks up a sheet of music from the piano. Briefly and wordlessly, CONSTANZE sings slightly out-of-time with the orchestral glass. CONSTANZE puts the sheet of music back on the stack, crosses to her chair, sits, and as the music finishes, falls asleep.
FOR INFORMATION about presenting THE GLASS ARMONICA