Antonio Salieri believes that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music is divine and miraculous. He wishes he was himself as good a musician as Mozart so that he can praise the Lord through composing. He began his career as a devout man who believes his success and talent as a composer are God’s rewards for his piety. He’s also content as the respected, financially well-off, court composer of Austrian Emperor Joseph II. But he’s shocked to learn that Mozart is such a vulgar creature, and can’t understand why God favored Mozart to be his instrument. Salieri’s envy has made him an enemy of God whose greatness was evident in Mozart. He is ready to take revenge against God and Mozart for his own musical mediocrity.
* * *
Forgive your assassin!
I confess, I killed you!
Sì, I killed you, Mozart.
Mozart, pietà! Forgive your assassin!
Forgive me, Mozart!
VALET: Signore Salieri, open the door, be good now!
Signore, we have something special for you.
Something you’re going to love.
Mmm! Is that good!
Signore, believe me…
…this is the most delicious thing I ever ate in my life!
Really, you don’t know what you’re miss–
All right, that’s enough! Open the door.
Signore, if you don’t open this door…
…we’re gonna leave nothing for you.
And I’m never gonna come see you again!
GUARD: Good morning, Father.
Herr Salieri ?
Leave me alone.
I cannot leave alone a soul in pain.
Do you know who I am?
That makes no difference.
All men are equal in God’s eyes.
Offer me your confession.
I can offer you God’s forgiveness.
How well are you trained in music?
I know a little. I studied it in my youth.
Here in Vienna.
Oh! Then you must know this.
I can’t say that I do.
What is it?
It was a very popular tune in its day.
I wrote it.
Here, how about this?
This one brought down the house when we played it.
[WOMAN SINGS OPERA]
I regret it is not too familiar.
Can you recall no melody of mine?
I was the most famous composer in Europe.
I wrote 40 operas alone.
What about this one?
Yes, I know that!
I’m sorry, I didn’t know you wrote that.
That was Mozart.
The man you accuse yourself of killing.
You’ve heard that?
Is it true?
For God’s sake, my son…
…if you have something to confess, do it now.
Give yourself some peace.
…was my idol.
l can’t think of a time when I didn’t know his name.
I was playing games…
…when he was playing music for kings and emperors.
Even the pope in Rome.
I admit, I was jealous…
…when I heard the tales they told about him.
Not of the brilliant little prodigy…
…but of his father, who had taught him everything.
My father, he did not care for music.
When I told him…
…how I wished I could be like Mozart…
…he would say, “Why? Do you want to be a trained monkey?
You’d like me to drag you around, doing tricks like a circus freak?”
How could I tell him…
…what music meant to me?
SALIERI: While my father prayed earnestly to God…
…to protect commerce…
…I would offer up…
…the proudest prayer a boy could think of.
Lord, make me a great composer.
Let me celebrate your glory through music…
…and be celebrated myself.
Make me famous through the world.
Make me immortal.
After I die…
…let people speak my name with love for what I wrote.
…I will give you my chastity…
…my deepest humility, every hour of my life.
And do you know what happened?
[SALIERI’S FATHER CHOKES]
My life changed forever.
I knew God had arranged it all. That was obvious.
One minute I was a frustrated boy…
…in an obscure little town. The next I was here…
…in Vienna, city of musicians…
…and Emperor Joseph, the musical king.
In a few years, I was his court composer. Isn’t that incredible?
Every night I sat with the emperor of Austria…
…playing duets with him…
…correcting the royal sight-reading.
Actually, the man had no ear at all.
But what did it matter?
He adored my music.
If you had been me…
…wouldn’t you have thought God had accepted your vow?
And believe me, I honored it.
I was a model of virtue.
I kept my hands off women.
I worked hours every day teaching students, many for free!
Sitting on endless committees to help poor musicians.
Work, that was all my life.
And it was wonderful.
Everybody liked me.
I liked myself.
Until he came.
He came to Vienna to play some of his music…
…at the residence of the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg.
Eagerly, I went there to seek him out.
…changed my life.
As I wandered through the salon…
…I played a little game with myself.
This man had written his first concerto at the age of 4…
…his first symphony at 7, a full-scale opera at 12!
Did it show?
Is talent like that…
…written on the face?
Which one of them…
…could he be?
Mozart is not here.
MAN: I am.
I am stopping it.
I am! I’m stopping it. Slowly.
There. You see? I’ve stopped.
Now we’re going back.
Yes! You don’t know where you are.
Here, everything goes backwards.
People walk and dance and sing and even talk backwards.
Why? People fart backwards.
Yes, you are. You are very sick.
No! Say it backwards, shitwit!
WOMAN: Ssik, kiss.
Ym, my. Ssa.
Kiss my ass.
I’m not playing!
Say it, it’s serious.
It’s very serious.
I’m not gonna marry you. You’re a fiend.
But I love you?
WOMAN: Tihs. Eat my shit.
You filthy fiend!
They’ve started without me.
That was Mozart!
That giggling, dirty creature I’d just seen crawling on the floor.
I think that went well, don’t you?
The Viennese know good music, don’t you think?
Why what, sir?
Why do I have to be humiliated in front of my guests…
…by one of my own servants?
The more license I allow you, the more you take.
If His Grace is not satisfied, he can dismiss me.
I wish you to return immediately to Salzburg.
Your father is waiting for you there.
No, Your Grace!
I would prefer you dismissed me. It’s obvious I don’t satisfy.
I have no intention of dismissing you. You will remain in my service…
…and learn your place.
SALIERI: On the page it looked….
The beginning simple, almost comic.
Just a pulse.
Bassoons, basset horns…
…like a rusty squeezebox.
And then, suddenly…
…high above it…
A single note, hanging there, unwavering.
…a clarinet took it over…
…sweetened it into a phrase of such delight.
This was no composition by a performing monkey.
This was a music I had never heard.
Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing.
It seemed to me I was hearing the voice of God.
MOZART: Excuse me.
SALIERI: But why?
Why would God choose an obscene child to be his instrument?
It was not to be believed.
This piece had to be an accident. It had to be.
It better be.
How good is he, this Mozart?
He’s remarkable, Majesty. I heard an extraordinary opera of his last month.
Idomeneo, King of Crete.
A tiresome piece. I heard it too.
A young man trying to impress beyond his abilities.
Too much spice.
Too many notes.
…it was the most promising work I’ve heard in years.
Then, we should make some effort to acquire him.
We could use a good German composer in Vienna, surely?
I’m sure he could be tempted with the right offer. Say…
…an opera in German for our National Theater.
But not German. I beg, Your Majesty.
Italian is the proper language for opera.
All educated people agree on that.
What do you think, chamberlain?
In my opinion, it’s time we had a piece in our own language.
Plain German for plain people.
…I must agree with Herr Direttore.
…too brute for singing.
…what do you think?
I think it’s an interesting notion to keep Mozart in Vienna.
It should infuriate the archbishop…
…if that is Your Majesty’s intention.
You are cattivo, court composer.
I want to meet this young man. Arrange a pleasant welcome for him.
Well, there it is!
This is a beautiful wig for you.
It looks so marvelous and I love it.
The other one.
Here is the other one. I think you will love it.
HAIRDRESSER: Here’s the third one. So? Here we go.
How do you like it?
They’re all so beautiful!
Why don’t I have three heads?
This is funny!
EMPEROR: Good morning.
ALL: Morning, Your Majesty.
What do you have for me today?
Your Majesty, Herr Mozart.
EMPEROR: Yes, what about him?
CHAMBERLAIN: He’s here.
Well, there it is. Good!
I hope you won’t find it improper, but I’ve written a march in his honor.
EMPEROR: What a charming idea, court composer. May I see?
Just a trifle, of course.
May I try it?
Let’s have some fun.
Delightful, court composer!
May I play it when he comes in?
You do me too much honor.
Bring in Herr Mozart.
EMPEROR: But slowly.
I need a minute to practice.
[EMPEROR PLAYS POORLY]
SALIERI: Good, continue.
Continue. Very good.
Very good, Majesty.
Lightly, then strongly! It’s a march, Majesty.
Gentlemen, please. A little less enthusiasm, I beg you.
No, please. It’s not a holy relic.
You know, we have met before. In this very room.
You don’t recall. You were only 6. He was giving a delightful concert!
As he got off the stool, he fell.
My sister Antoinette helped him up. Know what he did?
He jumped into her arms and said, “Will you marry me? Yes or no?”
You know all these gentlemen. The Baron Van Swieten.
I’m a great admirer of yours.
MOZART: My pleasure.
The Director of Opera, Count Orsini-Rosenberg.
Sir, yes. The honor is mine, absolutely!
Here is our illustrious court composer…
At last, such immense joy!
I know your work well.
You know, I composed some variations on a melody of yours.
Really? Which one?
“Mio Caro Adone.”
A funny tune, but it yielded good things.
EMPEROR: And now he has returned the compliment.
Herr Salieri composed this little march for you.
MOZART: Grazie, signore.
Well, there it is.
Down to business. We’re going to commission an opera from you.
What do you say?
Did we vote in the end for German or Italian?
Sire, if you remember, we did finally incline to Italian.
I don’t think it was really decided, Your Majesty.
German. Please let it be German.
Because I’ve already found the most wonderful libretto.
Have I seen it?
I don’t think you have, Herr Direktor. It’s quite new.
I’ll show it to you immediately.
I think you’d better.
…tell us about it. Tell us the story.
Well, it’s quite amusing, Majesty.
It’s set-The whole thing is set in a….
In a harem, Majesty. In a seraglio.
You mean in Turkey?
Then why especially does it have to be in German?
It doesn’t, especially. It could be in Turkish if you really want.
No, my dear fellow, the language is not finally the point.
Do you really think that subject is appropriate for a national theater?
Why not? It’s charming.
I mean, I won’t actually show concubines exposing their….
It’s not indecent. It’s highly moral, Majesty.
It’s full of proper German virtues.
Excuse me, Majesty, but what do you think these could be?
Being a foreigner, I’d love to learn.
Well, tell him, Mozart.
Name us a German virtue.
Of course, in Italy we know nothing about love.
No, I don’t think you do.
Watching Italian opera, all those male sopranos screeching…
…stupid, fat couples rolling their eyes about. That’s not love. It’s rubbish!
Majesty, you choose the language.
I’ll set it to the finest music ever offered a monarch.
Well, there it is. Let it be German.
This is yours.
Keep it. It’s already here in my head.
EMPEROR: What? On one hearing only?
I think so, sire. Yes.
[PLAYS MARCH PERFECTLY]
The rest is just the same, isn’t it?
That doesn’t really work, does it?
Did you try…?
Shouldn’t it be a bit more…?
Better? What do you think?
[SPEAKS IN ITALIAN]
SALIERI: All I ever wanted was to sing to God.
He gave me that longing…
…and then made me mute. Why?
Tell me that.
If he didn’t want me to praise him with music…
…why implant the desire…
…like a lust in my body?
And then deny me the talent?
Madame Cavalieri is here for her lesson, sir.
How do you like it?
My hairdresser said everything this year’s going to be Turkish.
What else did he tell you today?
Come, come! Give me some gossip.
Well, I heard you met Herr Mozart.
News travels fast in Vienna.
And he’s been commissioned to write an opera. Is it true?
Is there a part in it for me?
How do you know?
Do you know where it’s set, my dear?
In a harem.
What does he look like?
You might be disappointed.
Looks and talent don’t always go together, Katerina.
Looks don’t concern me, maestro.
Only talent interests a woman of taste.
Shall we continue?
There she was.
I don’t know where they met or how. There she stood!
On stage, for all to see.
Showing off like the greedy songbird she was.
Ten minutes of ghastly scales. Arpeggios!
Whizzing up and down like fireworks at a fairground.
Understand, I was in love with the girl.
Or at least in lust.
And I swear to you, I never laid a finger on her.
All the same, I couldn’t bear to think of anyone else touching her.
Least of all, “the creature.”
Brava, madame! You are an ornament to our stage.
Well, Herr Mozart. A good effort.
Well, decidedly that.
An excellent effort! You have shown us something…
…quite new tonight.
It is new.
It is, isn’t it, sire?
So then, you liked it? You really liked it, sire?
Well, of course I did! It’s very good!
Of course, now and then, just now and then…
…it seemed a touch….
What do you mean, sire?
Well, I mean, occasionally, it seems to have….
How shall one say…?
How shall one say, direktor ?
Too many notes, Majesty?
Exactly. Very well put.
Too many notes.
I don’t understand.
There are just as many notes as I required, neither more nor less.
My dear fellow, there are in fact…
…only so many notes the ear can hear in an evening.
I think I’m right in saying that, aren’t I, court composer?
Yes. On the whole, yes, Majesty.
This is absurd!
Young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious.
It’s quality work.
And there are simply too many notes. Just cut a few and it’ll be perfect.
Which few did you have in mind?
FRAU WEBER: Wolfgang!
Wolfgang, my dear!
Majesty, this is Frau Weber.
She’s my landlady.
Sire, such an honor!
This is my dear daughter, Constanze.
She’s the fiancée of Herr Mozart.
How charming. Please.
…when do you marry?
We haven’t exactly received my father’s consent yet.
Not entirely. Not altogether.
Excuse me, but how old are you?
My advice is for you to marry this charming young lady…
…and stay with us in Vienna.
I told him that, but he won’t listen to me.
Your Majesty, you give such wonderful…
…such royal advice. May I…?
Well, there it is.
CONSTANZE: Wolfie, will you get some water?
Will you get some water, please?
Wolfie, get some water!
Excuse me. Excuse me.
KATERINA: Did you know?
What does it matter to you?
Nothing. He can marry who he pleases, I don’t give a damn.
How was I?
You were sublime.
And what did you think of the music?
Is that woman still lying on the floor?
No, she’s fine.
Oh, I’m so relieved.
Dear Mozart, my sincere congratulations.
Did you like it then?
How could I not?
It’s the best music in Vienna today, don’t you agree?
She must be dazzling in bed.
I assume she’s the virtuoso in that department.
No other reason why you’d marry someone like that.
Excuse me. Wolfie, Mom isn’t feeling very well.
Can we go home?
No, no, no. You can’t take him away now.
This is his night.
Won’t you introduce us, Wolfgang?
Excuse us, Fräulein. Good night, signore.
SALIERI: At that moment I knew, beyond any doubt…
…he’d had her.
The creature had had my darling girl.
It was incomprehensible!
What was God up to?
Was it possible I was being tested?
Was God expecting me to offer forgiveness…
…in the face of every offense?
No matter how painful?
It’s very possible.
But why him?
Why choose Mozart to teach me lessons in humility?
My heart was filling up…
…with such hatred for that little man.
For the first time in my life, I began to know…
Every day, sometimes for hours, I would pray.
…send him away…
…back to Salzburg.
For his sake…
…as well as mine.
No! I won’t have him back.
But, Your Grace–
Your son is an unprincipled, spoiled, conceited brat!
…that is the truth.
But don’t blame him. The fault is mine, entirely.
I was too indulgent with him.
Please, Your Grace?
Give him one more chance?
You have leave to try.
God bless, Your Grace! I thank Your Grace.
I thank you!
LEOPOLD: I write to you with urgent news. I’m coming to Vienna.
Take no further steps towards marriage until we meet.
As you honor the father who has devoted his life to yours…
…do as I bid, and await my coming.
PRIEST: I now join you in the holy bonds of matrimony.
Those whom God hath joined together…
…let no man put asunder.
[PRIEST SPEAKS IN LATIN]
MOZART: Beloved father:
You say Vienna is the musicians’ city. To conquer here is to conquer Europe.
With my wife, I can do it. One day, when I’m wealthy…
…you’ll live with us, and we’ll be so happy.
EMPEROR: Good morning. This is my niece, Princess Elizabeth.
SALIERI: Your Highness.
She’s asked me to recommend a music instructor.
I’ve come up with an excellent idea.
It would be such a tremendous honor!
I was thinking of Herr Mozart. What is your view?
It’s an interesting idea, Majesty, but….
My concern is to protect you…
…from any hint of favoritism.
What is this?
What is what?
Why must I submit samples of my work to a committee to teach a girl?
Because His Majesty wishes it.
Is the emperor angry with me?
Quite the contrary.
Then why not appoint me to the post?
You are not the only composer in Vienna.
No. But I’m the best.
A little modesty might suit you better.
Who is on this committee?
Kapellmeister Bonno, Count Orsini-Rosenberg and Salieri.
Naturally, the Italians! Of course, always the Italians!
They’re all musical idiots!
And you want them to judge my music?
…the issue is quite simple. If you want this position…
…you must submit your stuff, along with all your colleagues.
Well, I won’t.
How are we supposed to live?
Do you want me to beg on the streets?
Don’t be stupid.
All they want to see is your work.
What’s wrong with that?
Shut up! Just shut up.
One royal pupil, and all of Vienna will come flocking.
They’ll come anyway.
No, they won’t.
They love me here.
I know how things work in this city.
You know everything, don’t you?
[SINGS OPERA IN ITALIAN]
Excuse me, sir.
A lady insists on talking to you.
She didn’t say, but she says it’s urgent.
Excuse me, my dear.
How can I help you?
Frau Mozart ?
I’ve come on behalf of my husband.
I brought samples of his work so he can be considered for the appointment.
How charming, but why did he not come himself?
Well, he’s terribly busy, sir.
I will look at them the moment I can.
It will be an honor. Please give him my warmest regards.
Would it be too much trouble to ask you to look at them now?
While I wait.
I’m afraid I’m not at leisure…
…this precise moment.
Leave them with me. I assure you, they will be safe.
I really cannot do that, sir.
You see, he doesn’t know I’m here.
Then he didn’t send you?
No, sir. This was my own idea.
Sir, we’re desperate.
We really need this job.
My husband spends far more than he can ever earn.
I don’t mean that he’s lazy, because he works all day long.
It’s just that he’s not practical.
Money simply slips through his fingers. It’s ridiculous.
Let me offer you some refreshment.
Do you know what these are?
Capezzoli di Venere! Nipples of Venus.
They’re Roman chestnuts in brandied sugar. Try one. Go on!
They’re quite surprising.
Thank you very much, Your Excellency.
Don’t keep calling me that.
Keeps me at such a distance.
I wasn’t born a court composer, you know.
I’m from a small town.
Just like your husband.
Are you sure you can’t…
…leave this and come back again?
It’s very tempting, sir.
But it’s impossible, I’m afraid.
He’d be frantic if he knew they were missing.
You see, they’re all originals.
Yes, sir. He doesn’t make copies.
It was actually-It was beyond belief.
These were first and only…
…drafts of music.
But they showed no corrections of any kind. Not one.
He had simply written down music…
…already finished in his head.
Page after page of it. As if he were just taking dictation.
…finished as no music is ever finished.
Displace one note…
…and there would be diminishment.
Displace one phrase, and the structure would fall.
It was clear to me…
…that sound I had heard in the archbishop’s palace…
…had been no accident.
Here again was the very voice of God.
I was staring through the cage…
…of those meticulous ink strokes…
…at an absolute beauty.
Is it not good?
It is miraculous.
Yes, he’s very proud of his work.
So you will help us?
I dine with the emperor tomorrow evening.
One word from me and the post is his.
Thank you, Your Excellency! Thank you!
Come back tonight.
Some service deserves service in return.
What do you mean?
Isn’t it obvious?
It’s a post all Vienna seeks.
If you wish it for your husband, come tonight.
I’m a married woman, sir.
It’s up to you.
And not to be vague, that is the price.
SALIERI: There is no God of mercy, Father.
Just a God of torture.
I sat there, not knowing whether she would return or not.
I prayed as I had never prayed before.
…enter me now.
Fill me with one piece of true music.
One piece with your breath in it, so I know that you love me.
Show me one sign of your favor, and I will show mine to Mozart.
I will get him the royal position.
That lady is back, sir.
Show her in.
My husband has gone to a concert.
He didn’t think I would enjoy it.
Well, where shall we go?
Should we stay here?
Do you still want to look at these?
Or don’t we need to bother anymore?
Suppose we don’t, really.
Show this woman out.
What is it?
What’s the matter? Tell me.
I love you.
From now on, we are enemies.
You and I.
Because you choose for your instrument…
…a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy…
…and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation.
Because you are unjust…
…I will block you.
I swear it.
I will hinder and harm your creature on earth…
…as far as I am able.
I don’t like to talk against a fellow musician.
Of course not.
I have to tell you.
Mozart is not entirely to be trusted alone with young ladies.
One of my own pupils, a very young singer…
…Maria Theresa Paradis…
…told me she was….
Twice, in the course of the same lesson.
There is a Herr Mozart waiting for you in the salon.
Whom did they choose?
Herr Zummer ?
But the man’s a fool! He’s a total mediocrity.
No, no. He has yet to achieve mediocrity.
MOZART: I can’t lose this post. I simply can’t.
Let’s go to the palace. You can talk to the emperor…
…and tell him that Herr Zummer is an awful choice.
He could do musical harm to the princess.
Between us, no one in the world could do musical harm to the princess.
…I must have pupils.
Without pupils, I can’t manage.
You don’t mean you’re living in poverty?
No, but I’m broke.
Well, how is this possible?
I hear your concerts are quite successful.
They’re stupendously successful.
You can’t get a seat. But no one will hire me.
They want to hear me play…
…but they won’t let me teach their daughters, as if I was a fiend.
…is there any chance you could manage a loan?
Only for six months. Eight, at the most.
You expect your fortunes to change in six or eight months?
As a matter of fact, I do.
I am working on something that will explode like a bomb all over Europe.
I’ll be the richest man in Vienna. I’ll pay you back double. Anything.
You name the terms.
Well, how exciting.
Tell me more.
It’s a bit of a secret.
Come, come. I’m interested.
This is delicious. What is it?
It’s cream cheese mixed with sugar…
…suffused with rum. Crema Mascarpone Speciale.
Forgive me. We all have patriotic feelings of some kind.
Two hundred florins. That’s all I need.
What exactly are you working on?
Really, I can’t say.
I don’t think you should become known in Vienna as a debtor, Mozart.
…I know a distinguished gentleman I can recommend, and…
…he has a daughter.
Welcome. Pay no attention, they’re impossible.
I treat them just like my own children.
Which of them do you wish me to teach?
You’re a funny fellow.
This is the instrument. I hope it’s to your satisfaction.
MICHAEL: Of course it’ll be to his satisfaction.
Come, we’re going to listen to some music. Come!
Please play me something, just to give me an idea.
Anything will do.
Just go ahead.
Just as if we weren’t here.
Part of music, getting used to an audience. Right, Herr Mozart?
Perhaps it would be better if we were left alone.
We’re both a little shy.
I said play!
Perhaps if I play first, it might encourage the Fräulein.
Why don’t you let me try?
Stop it! Stop! He always howls when he hears music.
We’ve got to break him of that habit.
We’ve got to break them of their habit!
Herr Mozart, play. Please, I beg you.
That’s it. That’s it.
Keep playing! That’s it!
Mozart, that’s wonderful! Wonderful!
Next time you wish me to instruct another of your dogs, let me know.
Goodbye, Fräulein. Goodbye, madam. Goodbye, sir.
Why are you here?
Am I not welcome?
Of course, welcome. Papa, welcome! Welcome!
[TRIPS ON BOTTLE]
You’re very thin. Doesn’t your wife feed you?
Of course she feeds me. She stuffs me like a goose all day!
LEOPOLD: Is she not here?
MOZART: No, she had to help her mother.
MOZART: She’s like that.
Her mother’s a very sweet woman, you’ll–
I didn’t know you were home.
Stanzi, this is my father.
We’ll wait. We’ll wait.
Why don’t you get up now, my darling?
She’s very tired, poor creature. You know me. I’m such a pig.
It’s not easy cleaning up after me.
Don’t you have a maid?
Oh. No. We could if we wanted…
…but Stanzi insists on doing everything herself.
How is your…
Couldn’t be better.
That’s not what I hear.
What do you mean? It’s wonderful.
Really, it’s marvelous! People love me here.
They say you have debts.
Who says that?
That’s a malicious lie!
Do you have pupils?
I don’t want pupils!
They get in the way.
I have to have time for composition.
Composition doesn’t pay. You know that.
That one will.
It’s a secret.
Secret? You don’t have secrets from me.
No! Please! I don’t want you to see it. I don’t want anyone to see it.
You’ll be so proud of me.
It’ll be the best thing I’ve ever done. The best thing anyone–
There she is!
Look at her! Isn’t she beautiful? Now, Papa, confess it.
Could you want a prettier daughter?
Stop it, Wolfie!
I look dreadful.
Yes, I am.
Isn’t it marvelous? We’re delighted.
May I offer you some tea?
Who wants tea? Let’s go out!
This calls for a feast. You don’t want tea, do you, Papa?
I know! Let’s go dancing. Papa loves parties, don’t you?
How can you be so boring? Tea!
Come on, Papa. Hurry!
Here we go. Good day.
I name the penalty! I name the penalty!
And the penalty is….
Give her a good one!
Show us your legs!
Come on, come on!
It’s just a game, Papa.
Herr Mozart, why don’t you name your son’s penalty?!
Yes, Papa. Name it.
Name it. I’ll do anything you say. Anything.
I want you to come back to Salzburg with me.
The penalty must be performed in the room.
LEOPOLD: I’m tired of this game.
But my penalty! I’ve got to have a penalty!
I name a penalty!
The penalty is…
…you shall play our tune…
…in the manner of Johann Sebastian Bach!
Turn him over!
Now you play it backwards!
Another one! Another one!
Play it like Gluck!
I don’t like him! Another one!
Now, that is a challenge! That is a challenge.
Go on. Mock me. Laugh!
That was not Mozart laughing, Father.
That was God.
That was God laughing at me through that obscene giggle.
Go on, signore. Laugh.
Show my mediocrity for all to see.
One day I will laugh at you.
Before I leave this earth…
…I will laugh at you.
There’s a young girl here to see you.
What does she want?
She won’t talk to me. She says she has to speak to you.
Are you Herr Mozart ?
My name is Lorl, sir. I’m a maidservant.
I was asked to come here and offer my services to you.
They’ll be paid for by an admirer of yours who wishes to remain…
Is this your idea, Papa?
Are you playing a trick on me?
I’ve never seen this girl.
Is this some kind of joke?
Not at all, sir.
Young woman, this won’t do.
My son can’t accept such an offer, no matter how generous…
…unless he knows who’s behind it.
I can’t tell you that, sir.
LEOPOLD: This is ridiculous!
What is ridiculous?
Wolfie has many admirers in Vienna.
People send us gifts all the time.
You cannot accept her without references.
Well, this is none of your business.
Whoever sent you is going to pay?
Splendid! Now we’re going to let a stranger into our house.
Who is we? Who is letting who–?
Could you please wait outside?
CONSTANZE: Look, old man!
We spend a fortune on you, and all you can do is criticize.
No! It’s right that he should hear! I’m sick to death of it.
We can’t do anything right for you, can we?
You won’t have to do anything for me ever again.
LEOPOLD: I won’t stay and be a burden.
MOZART: No one calls you that.
She does. She says I sleep all day.
And so you do!
The only time you come out is to eat.
LEOPOLD: Well, what do you expect?
Do you expect anyone to walk out into a mess like this every day?
CONSTANZE: Now I’m a bad housekeeper!
LEOPOLD: So you are. It’s a pigsty.
When can you start?
Right away, ma’am.
LORL: They’re out every night, sir.
Thank you, sir.
Do any pupils come to the house?
Not that I’ve seen.
Then how does he pay for all this?
Does he work at all?
Yes, sir. All day long. He never leaves the house till evening.
He just sits there, writing and writing.
What is it he’s writing?
I wouldn’t know that, sir.
Of course not.
You’re a good girl.
You’re very kind to do this.
The next time you’re sure they’ll be out of the house, let me know.
Thank you, sir.
I think I found out about the money, sir.
He kept seven snuffboxes in here. I could swear they were all gold.
And now look.
There’s only one left.
Where does he work?
In there, sir.
Gentlemen, I’ve just heard some news… that may interest you.
Mozart is writing a new opera. An Italian opera.
That’s not all. He has chosen for his subject, Figaro.
The Marriage of Figaro.
He’s setting that play to music?
What is this Marriage of Figaro?
It’s a French play, Kapellmeister.
It has been banned by the emperor.
You’re absolutely sure?
Gentlemen, sit down.
Are you aware that I have declared the French play Figaro…
…unsuitable for our theater?
Yet we hear you’re making an opera from it. Is this true?
Who told you this, Majesty?
It is not your place to ask questions. Is it true?
Yes, I…. I admit it is.
Would you tell me why?
Majesty, it is only a comedy.
ROSENBERG: What you think is scarcely the point.
It’s what His Majesty thinks that counts.
But, Your Majesty–
…I am a tolerant man.
I do not censor things lightly. When I do, I have good reason.
Figaro is a bad play.
It stirs up hatred between classes.
In France, it has caused only bitterness.
My sister Antoinette is beginning to be frightened of her own people.
I swear, there’s nothing like that in the piece.
I’ve taken out everything that could give offense. I hate politics.
I’m afraid you’re rather innocent.
In these dangerous times I cannot afford to provoke our people…
…simply over a theater piece.
Majesty, this is just a frolic. A piece about love.
MOZART: And it’s new!
It’s entirely new. The people will go mad for it.
I have scenes….
The end of Act II, for example.
It starts as a duet. A husband and wife quarreling.
Suddenly, the scheming maid comes in. It’s a very funny situation.
Duet turns into trio.
Then the husband’s valet comes in.
Trio turns into quartet.
Then a gardener. Quartet becomes quintet.
And so on, on and on.
Sextet, septet, octet.
How long do you think I can sustain that?
I have no idea.
Guess, Your Majesty.
Imagine the longest time it could be sustained, then double it.
Twenty, sire. Twenty minutes!
Twenty minutes of continuous music. No recitatives!
Sire, only opera can do this.
In a play, if more than one person speaks at once…
…it’s just noise.
But with opera, with music…
…you can have 20 individuals all talking at the same time.
It’s not noise. It’s a perfect harmony!
VAN SWIETEN: Mozart, music is not the issue here.
No one doubts your talent. It’s your literary judgment that’s in question.
Even without the politics, it would remain a vulgar farce.
Why waste your spirit on such rubbish?
Surely you can choose more elevated themes.
Elevated! What does that mean, elevated?
I am fed to the teeth with these…
…elevated things. Old dead legends.
Why must we go on forever writing of gods and legends?
Because they do.
They go on forever.
At least what they represent: the eternal in us.
Opera is here to ennoble us, Mozart.
You and me, just the same as His Majesty.
“Bello, bello, bello.” Come on now, be honest!
You’d rather listen to your hairdresser than Hercules, Horatius or Orpheus.
People so lofty, they sound as if they shit marble!
Govern your tongue, Mozart! How dare you!
Forgive me, Majesty.
I’m a vulgar man…
…but I assure you, my music is not.
You are passionate, Mozart…
…but you do not persuade.
Sire, the whole opera is finished.
Do you know how much work went into it?
His Majesty has been more than patient, signore.
How can I persuade if I can’t show it?
That will do, Herr Mozart.
Just let me tell you how it begins.
May I just do that, Majesty? Show you how it begins? Just that?
There’s a servant on his knees. Do you know why?
Not from oppression. He’s measuring a space.
Do you know what for?
His bed. His wedding bed.
To see if it will fit!
On the beat.
[SINGS IN ITALIAN]
ROSENBERG: Well, Mozart is already rehearsing.
SALIERI: In that case, gentlemen, I think…. I think we should help Mozart all we can.
And protect him against the emperor’s anger.
About the ballet.
…but didn’t His Majesty specifically forbid the ballet in his opera?
[MAN & WOMAN SINGING]
Herr Mozart !
A word with you.
MOZART: Certainly, Herr Direktor.
Now, Herr Mozart !
MOZART: Five minutes, please.
Do you not know that His Majesty has expressly forbidden ballet in operas?
It’s not a ballet, it’s a dance.
Exactly. A dance.
Surely, His Majesty didn’t mean no dancing when it’s in the story.
It’s dangerous to interpret his edicts. Give me your score, please.
What are you doing, Herr Direktor ?
Taking out what you should never have put in.
I have no one else to turn to.
What is it?
The direktor has torn up a huge section of my music.
They say I have to rewrite the opera.
But it’s perfect as it is.
…rewrite what’s perfect.
Can’t you talk to him?
Why bother? He’s no friend of yours.
I could kill him! I mean, really! Kill him!
I threw the entire score into the fire, he made me so angry.
You burned the score?
No, my wife took it out in time.
It’s unfair that a man like that should have power over our work!
But there are those who have power over him.
I think I’ll take this up with the emperor.
With all my heart, Mozart.
Please, Herr Mozart. “Please, it’s not a holy relic.”
I don’t need to tell you I said nothing, whatever, to the emperor.
I went to the theater to tell Mozart something, anything…
…when suddenly, in the middle of the third act…
…to my astonishment, the emperor…
…who never attended rehearsals, suddenly appeared.
What is this?
I don’t understand.
Is it modern?
…the Herr Direktor…
…he has removed un balletto…
…that would have occurred at this place.
It is your regulation, sire.
No ballet in your opera.
Do you like this?
It’s not a question of liking, Majesty.
Your own law decrees it, I’m afraid.
Well, look at them!
No! This is nonsense!
Let me see the scene with the music.
Can we see the scene with the music, please?
Certainly! Certainly, Herr Direktor !
Bring the palace set back in, please.
The restored third act…
…was bold, brilliant.
[MAN SINGS IN ITALIAN]
SALIERI: I saw a woman…
…disguised in her maid’s clothes hear her husband speak the first…
…tender words he has offered her in years.
Simply because he thinks she is someone else.
I heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theater…
…conferring on all who sat there, perfect absolution.
God was singing through this little man…
…to all the world.
Making my defeat more bitter with every passing bar.
And then, do you know what happened?
With that yawn…
…I saw my defeat turn into a victory.
Mozart was lucky the emperor yawned only once.
…and the opera would fail the same night.
Two yawns, within a week at most.
With one yawn, the composer could still get….
Nine performances! Nine! That’s all it’s had! Withdrawn!
I know, I know.
Still, if the public doesn’t like one’s work…
…one has to accept the fact gracefully.
But what is it that they don’t like?
I can speak for the emperor.
You make too many demands on the royal ear.
The poor man can’t concentrate for more than an hour. You gave him four.
What did you think of it yourself?
Did you like it at all?
I thought it was marvelous.
Of course. It’s the best opera yet written.
I know it!
Why didn’t they come?
I think you overestimate our dear Viennese, friend.
You didn’t give them a bang at the end of songs…
…to let them know when to clap.
I know, I know.
Maybe you should give me some lessons in that.
I wouldn’t presume.
Nevertheless, at the risk of imposing…
…I’d like you to see my new piece.
It would be an honor for me.
No, the honor would be all mine.
Grazie a lei, Signor Antonio.
…it is the best opera yet written, my friends.
You are the brightest star in the musical firmament.
You do honor to Vienna and to me.
Herr Mozart !
It was good of you to come.
How could I not?
MUSICIAN: Bravo, maestro.
Did my work please you?
I never knew that music like that was possible.
You flatter me.
One hears such sounds…
…and what can one say but: Salieri!
Everybody’s here, and we’ve got guests. Bravo! I’ve got some more.
You remember my good friend Schikaneder. Come in.
Don’t be shy.
This is a very nice girl, and this–
Yes, my love?
These gentlemen are from Salzburg.
We were just talking about Salzburg.
Your father is dead.
[MAN SINGS IN ITALIAN]
So rose the dreadful ghost…
…from his next and blackest opera.
SALIERI: There on the stage, stood the figure of a dead commander.
…only I understood…
…that the horrifying apparition was Leopold…
…raised from the dead!
Wolfgang had actually summoned up his own father…
…to accuse his son before all the world!
…terrifying and wonderful to watch.
…the madness began in me.
The madness of a man splitting in half.
Through my influence, I saw to it…
…Don Giovanni was played only five times in Vienna.
But, in secret, I went to every one of those five.
Worshiping sound I alone seemed to hear.
And as I stood there, understanding how…
…that bitter old man was still possessing his poor son…
…even from beyond the grave…
…I began to see a way…
…a terrible way…
…I could finally triumph…
SALIERI: Herr Mozart ?
I have come to commission work from you.
A Mass for the dead.
Who is dead?
A man who deserved a Requiem Mass and never got one.
Who are you?
I am only a messenger.
Do you accept?
You will be well paid.
Do you accept?
And be sure tell no one what you do.
You will see me again soon.
My plan was so simple…
…that it terrified me.
First, I must get the death Mass, and then…
…I must achieve his death.
The cathedral, all Vienna sitting there.
His coffin. Mozart’s little coffin in the middle.
…in that silence…
A divine music…
…bursts out over them all.
A great Mass of death.
Requiem Mass for Wolfgang Mozart.
Composed by his devoted friend…
What passion in the music!
Salieri has been touched by God at last…
…and God forced to listen!
Powerless to stop it!
I, for once, in the end, laughing at him!
The only thing that worried me was the actual killing.
How does one do that?
How does one kill a man?
It’s one thing…
…to dream about it.
Very different when you….
When you have to do it…
…with your own hands.
SINGS: Don Giovanni
I’ve come to dinner
SCHIKANEDER: Dinner! Are you mad? I’m a nobleman!
I only ever dine with people of my own height!
WOMEN SING: Be careful Be careful
MAN SINGS: I’m a famous…
MEN SING: And we’re a famous horsy
Give me a hoof, my darling
And I’ll give you my heart
Take me to your stable
And nevermore we’ll part
WOMAN SINGS: Kill me Kill me
We’re going to make a soprano stew
And when you make a soprano stew
I’m sick to death of that tune!
Give me some hay, my darling
And I’ll give you my heart
Leporello! Some hay!
And love our dove of peace
…our dove of peace
What did you think?
It was wonderful!
He liked the little people.
It’s all in good fun.
MOZART: I liked the horse.
I tell you, if you played Don Giovanni here…
…you would’ve had a wonderful success.
You belong here.
Not at the snobby court. You could do anything you like.
The more fantastic, the better. That’s what people want: fantasy.
You write a proper part for me…
…a couple of catchy songs…
…I guarantee you a triumph deluxe!
What do you say?
How much will you pay him?
Well! I see you brought your manager with you.
…how about half the receipts?
Half the receipts!
I’m talking about now.
How much will you pay him now? Down payment.
Who do you think I am, the emperor?
Whoops. I have to go.
Stay here, you’ll enjoy this next one.
You won’t do this.
Why not? Half the house!
We need money now! He pays you now, or you don’t do it.
I don’t trust that man.
I don’t like what he did with your opera. It was common.
You liked it. Monkey, punky, flunky!
Half the house.
You’ll never see a penny. I want it here in my hand.
I’ll put it here in your hand.
You won’t put a thing in my hand until I see some money!
It’s embarrassing. Can’t you think of anyone who can do something for him?
I’m afraid Mozart is a lost cause, baron.
He has succeeded in alienating practically the whole of Vienna.
He never pays his debts.
SALIERI: I can’t think of anyone to whom I’d dare recommend him.
Herr Mozart. What a surprise!
What can I do for you?
Is my pupil still interested in learning the art of music?
Your pupil is married and living in Mannheim, young man.
Perhaps your dear wife might care to profit from my instruction.
What is it, Mozart?
What’s the matter with you?
…since it appears no one is eager to hire my services…
…could you favor me with a little money instead?
If a man cannot earn, he must borrow.
That’s hardly the way to go about it.
You are right, sir. You are right.
But you see, I am endowed with talent, and you with money.
If I offer mine… you should offer yours.
I’m sorry, no.
My answer is no, Mozart.
Don’t answer it.
Tell him I’m not here.
Tell him…. Tell him I’m working on it.
Come back later.
SCHIKANEDER: Am I interrupting?
SCHIKANEDER: Good. Where’s our friend?
CONSTANZE: He’s not here.
But he’s working on it, he told me to tell you.
SCHIKANEDER: Is that it?
Is he happy with it?
What’s this? A Requiem Mass?
You think I’m in the funeral business?
Leave that alone!
Put it down! It’s not for you!
What have you got for me?
The vaudeville, what do you think?
Can I see it?
Because there’s nothing to see.
…I asked you if we could start rehearsals next week and you said yes.
Well, we can.
So let me see it. Where is it?
It’s all right here in my noodle. The rest is just scribbling.
Scribbling and bibbling. Bibbling and scribbling.
Like a drink?
Look, you little clown!
Do you know how many people I’ve hired?
Leave him alone!
I’m paying them!
He’s doing his best.
Paying them to wait. It’s ridiculous!
You know what’s ridiculous? Your libretto!
Only an idiot would ask him to work on that!
Twelve-foot snakes, magic flutes?
What’s so intelligent about a Requiem?
SCHIKANEDER: You’re mad.
Wolfie, write it down.
Just write it down.
It’s no use to anybody in your head.
To hell with your death Mass!
Calm yourself. What’s the matter with you?
I won’t work there anymore.
You don’t know what it’s like.
Herr Mozart frightens me.
He drinks all day…
…then takes all that medicine and it makes him worse.
Is he working?
Oh, I am frightened, sir, really!
When he speaks, he makes no sense.
Is he working?
I suppose so.
He sits there all the time, doing some silly opera.
Don’t ask me to go back again.
I’m frightened. I’m very, very frightened!
Are you sure it’s an opera?
I don’t have it yet.
SALIERI: Are you neglecting my request?
No. No, I….
I promise you…
…I’ll give you a wonderful piece, the best I ever–
This is my wife, Stanzi.
I’ve been sick, but I’m all right now, aren’t I?
Yes, sir. He’s all right.
And he’s working on it very hard.
Give me two more weeks. Please.
The sooner you finish, the greater your reward.
I think you really are going mad.
You slave for that idiot actor who won’t give you a penny!
And here, this is not a ghost!
This is a real man, who puts down real money.
Why on earth won’t you finish it?
Can you give me one reason I can understand?
It’s killing me.
You’re drunk, aren’t you?
Be honest, tell me. You’ve been drinking.
It’s not fair. I worry about you all the time.
I do everything I can to help you.
And all you do is drink and talk nonsense and frighten me.
Go back to bed!
Let me…. Let me sit here.
Let me stay here with you.
I did it. And I was proud to do it.
“Leave!” I said. “Right away. Take the child with you!
Go to the spa and get your health back.” I was shocked.
Shocked to my foundation when I saw her.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, poor little thing.
You monster! No one exists but you, do they?
You and your music. I warned her.
“Choose a man, not a baby,” I said.
“You marry him, you won’t have a pot to piss in.” You selfish thing!
Selfish, that’s what you are. Simply selfish! Do you hear me?
A sweetheart or a pretty little wife
Is Papageno’s wish
A willing, filling, lovey-dovey
Will be my most tasty little dish
Be my most tasty little dish
Then that would be eating and drinking
I’d live like a prince without thinking
The wisdom of all would be mine
A woman’s much better than wine
Then that would be eating
The wisdom of all would be mine
A woman’s much better than wine
Much better than wine Much better than wine
Pick him up.
Pick him up!
Be careful. Come with me.
You, follow me.
Is it over?
Yes, it’s over. It’s over.
Pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa
Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, Papagena
Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, Papageno
Please will you be mine forever?
Yes, I will be yours forever
Can’t you be my little dove?
Go, go. go.
SALIERI: Where is your wife?
Where is your wife?
She’s not well either. She went to the spa.
You are so good to me.
Truly. Thank you.
No, I mean to come to my opera.
You. You are the only colleague of mine who came.
I would never miss anything you had written.
It’s just a vaudeville.
It’s a sublime piece.
The grandest operone!
I tell you…
…you are the greatest composer known to me.
Do you mean it?
Tell him to go away.
Tell him I’m still working on it. Don’t let him in.
No, no. Wait!
Ask him if he would give me some money now.
Tell him if he would, it will help me to finish it.
Can we come in?
Better not. He’s sleeping.
He’s all right, though?
Yes, he’s just exhausted.
He became dizzy, that’s all.
Well, tell him we came by, won’t you?
Give him this. That’s his share.
That should cheer him up.
And now, good night to you all. It was…
GIRL: Thank you.
MOZART: What happened?
He said to give you this.
And if you finish by tomorrow night…
…he will pay you another hundred ducats.
That’s too soon. Tomorrow night….
Did he say a hundred?
It’s too soon.
Could I help you?
Actually, you could.
I want to go.
I want to go back to Vienna.
I feel wrong.
I feel wrong being here.
Where did I stop?
The end of the Recordare.
So now Confutatis….
[SPEAKS IN LATIN]
How would you translate that?
“Consigned to flames of woe.”
Do you believe in it?
A fire which never dies, burning you forever.
Come, let’s begin.
We ended in F major.
So, now, A minor.
Confutatis. A minor.
Start with the voices.
Basses first. Second beat of the-
Common time. Second beat of the first measure.
Second measure, second beat.
Second beat of the third measure, on E.
Do you have me? Show me.
Now the tenors.
Fourth beat of the first measure, on C.
Second measure, fourth beat. D.
Second beat of the fourth measure, on F.
Now the orchestra. Second bassoon, bass trombones, basses.
Identical notes and rhythm.
First bassoon, tenor trombones, with the tenors.
You go too fast.
Do you have it?
Bassoon to trombone what?
With the tenors.
The instruments doubling the voices.
Trumpets and timpani. Trumpets in D. Listen.
I don’t understand!
Trumpets in D, tonic and dominant, first and third beats.
It goes with the harmony!
Yes. Yes, yes!
I understand. And that’s all?
No, now for the real fire. Strings in unison.
Ostinato, on A. Like this:
Next measure is rising.
Do you have it? Show me.
Yes, yes. Go on.
Write that down!
“Call me among the blessed.”
Sopranos and altos in thirds. Altos on C, sopranos above.
Sopranos up to F on the second voca?
And on dictus. And underneath, just violins. Arpeggios.
Scale in eighth notes, then back to ostinato.
Do you have it?
You go too fast.
Do you have it?
One moment, please!
Good. Show me the whole thing from the beginning.
Do you want to rest a bit?
No, I’m not tired at all.
We’ll stop for a moment.
Then we’ll finish the Lacrimosa.
I can keep going. I assure you.
Will you stay with me while I sleep a little?
I’m not leaving you.
I’m so ashamed.
I was foolish.
I thought you did not care for my work, or me.
What are you doing here?
Your husband took sick.
I brought him home.
Because, madame, I was at hand.
Well, thank you very much. You can go now.
He needs me, ma’am.
No, he doesn’t.
And I don’t want you here. Just go, please.
He asked me to stay.
And I’m ask-
I missed you so much.
If you’d just…
…show me that you need me.
And I’ll try to do better too.
What is this?
No, Wolfie, not this. Not this.
You’re not to work on this ever again.
This is not his handwriting.
I was assisting him.
He’s not to work on this anymore.
It’s making him ill.
I regret we have no servants to show you out, Herr Salieri.
Please respect my wish and go.
…I will respect his.
[SPEAKS IN LATIN]
Your merciful God.
He destroyed his own beloved, rather than let a mediocrity…
…share in the smallest part of his glory.
He killed Mozart.
And kept me alive to torture.
Thirty-two years of torture.
Thirty-two years of slowly watching myself become extinct.
All the time fainter…
…till no one plays it at all.
Good morning, professor. Time for the water closet.
Then we have your favorite breakfast. Sugar rolls. He loves those.
Fresh sugar rolls.
I will speak for you, Father.
I speak for all mediocrities in the world.
I am their champion.
I am their patron saint.
…I absolve you.
I absolve you.
I absolve you all.