BPO revives 1898 drama ‘Mozart and Salieri’ – and casts new light on old rumors, Buffalo News

It is one of history’s most enduring questions, up there with the lost continent of Atlantis and the JFK assassination.

Was Mozart poisoned?

Specifically, was he poisoned by rival composer Antonio Salieri?

Old whispers resurfaced in the 1980s, with the success of Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” as a play and a movie about deadly envy. But Shaffer did not come up with the idea.

A century and a half earlier, only five years after Salieri died, the Russian poet Pushkin wrote a dramatic poem titled “Mozart and Salieri.” The poem was made into an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Rarely performed now, it premiered in Moscow in 1898.

Only 45 minutes long, the opera is a tight, intense psychological drama. It will be semi-staged in Kleinhans Music Hall on Friday and Saturday, along with Mozart’s haunting C Minor Piano Concerto, as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director JoAnn Falletta present an early celebration of Mozart’s birthday. Read More.