Mozart Salieri

 Mozart & Salieri - on period instruments!


Olga Cafiero (Italy) soprano
Genevieve Blanchard  classical flute
Gili Rinot  classical clarinet
Myrna Herzog  conductor, musical director

Ensemble PHOENIX on early instruments: Ya'akov Rubinstein & Lia Raikhlin (violins), Daniel Tanchelson (viola), Lucia D'Anna (cello), Ron Veprik (double bass), Genevieve Blanchard (classical flute), Gili Rinot (classical clarinets), Alexander Fine (classical bassoon), Evgeny Karasik (early tympani).

“Salieri is one of history’s all-time losers—a bystander run over by a Mack truck of malicious gossip. Shortly before he died, in 1825, a story that he had poisoned Mozart went around Vienna. In 1830, Alexander Pushkin used that rumor as the basis for his play “Mozart and Salieri,” casting the former as a doltish genius and the latter as a jealous schemer. Later in the nineteenth century, Rimsky-Korsakov turned Pushkin’s play into a witty short opera. In 1979, the British playwright Peter Shaffer wrote “Amadeus,” a sophisticated variation on Pushkin’s concept, which became a mainstay of the modern stage. Five years after that, Miloš Forman made a flamboyant film out of Shaffer’s material, with F. Murray Abraham playing Salieri as a suave, pursed-lipped malefactor.Alex Ross, “Antonio Salieri’s Revenge”, The New Yorker.

In other words, Antonio Salieri has been the victim of character assassination. This is a tragic fate for a composer that was immensely famous during his lifetime, one of the most important and sought-after teachers of his generation, having taught no less no more than Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Mozart’s own son, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart. Salieri's music was performed all over Europe, and he provided works for the opera houses in Vienna, Paris, Rome and Venice. He played an essential role in the development of late 18th-century opera and influenced decisively many of his contemporaries – including Mozart. 

Regarding Mozart, if there had been enmity between the two men, why would Mozart’s widow Constanze entrust the musical education of their son to Salieri? And upon his appointment as Kapellmeister in 1788, why did Salieri revive Figaro, instead of one of his operas? And why would he take three Mozart masses to the coronation festivities for Leopold II in 1790?


Salieri was a most cultivated and intelligent man . . . whom I loved and esteemed both out of gratitude and by inclination . . . more than a friend, a brother to me.” Lorenzo Da Ponte, the master librettist of “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Don Giovanni,” and “Così Fan Tutte”

Our program is a ping-pong between the two composers, heard in an array of different genres, sacred and profane, vocal an instrumental.
In charge of the brilliance and virtuosity of their vocal writing, we are happy to host outstanding Italian soprano Olga Cafiero, one of the shining stars of the new generation Italian singers, dialoguing with PHOENIX's "ensemble playing of genuine beauty and lushness".


mozart x Salieri


Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) 

Overture from the opera Les Danaides (1784) 

Aria "Misera abbandonata" (with  clarinet obbligato) from Palmira, Regina di Persia (1795) 

Aria Dopo pranzo addormentata from Il Rico d’un giorno (1784)

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart
(1756 -- 1791)

Overture from the opera Don Giovanni K 527 (1787) 

Aria Vedrai, carino from Don Giovanni Act II, No. 18 

Parto, ma tu ben mio (with  clarinet obbligato) from La clemenza di Tito KV 621/ Act 1 (1791)

Mozart & Salieri
- Cantata Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia (1785 – for Nancy Storace)

- Suite from Les Danaides  (Un poco adagio - Allegretto - Allegretto - Allegro brillante)

Sacred works:

Salieri – Aria Vorrei dirti il mio tormento from La passione di Gesù Cristo (1776)

Mozart - Aria Alleluja from motet Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165 (1773) 

Mozart - Andante in C for flute and orchestra  KV 315 (1778)

                 Marcia: Maestoso from Serenata notturna KV 239 (1776)

Mozart – Aria Voi che sapete from Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 2 - (1786)

Salieri – Aria Son qual lacera tartana (Renoppia, Atto II, Scena X) from La Secchia rapita (1772)

"The danger of the word “genius” is that it implies an almost biological category—an innately superior being, a superhero. It is probably no accident that the category of “genius,” an obsession of the nineteenth century, coincided with the emergence of the pseudoscience of race, which held that certain peoples were genetically fitter than others. At the same time, “genius” easily becomes a branding term used to streamline the selling of cultural goods. The perils of the term become clear when the authorship of a work is uncertain. In 1987, the musicologist John Spitzer published an amusing and edifying article about the Sinfonia Concertante for Winds, K. 297b, which was long thought to be by Mozart. In its heyday, the Sinfonia was said to be “truly Mozartean” and as “monumental as a palace courtyard.” Once uncertainty about the attribution set in, the piece was called “cheap and repetitive.” The notes themselves had not changed."  Alex Ross, “Antonio Salieri’s Revenge”, The New Yorker.

On the Program

Ensemble PHOENIXphoto Yoel Levy"The music of this opera, as always with Salieri, is outstanding: its wealth of ideas and its perfection of declamation put it on the same level as Mozart’s". E.T.A. Hoffmann, 1795, upon hearing Axur Re d’Ormus.

There is astonishing richness and variety. And everything is handled with very refined taste.” Goethe on Salieri’s “La Scuola de’ Gelosi”

"Every one of his [Salieri] works, the largest as well as the smallest, bears the stamp of the philosophical composer, who was able to choose a fitting style for every poem, consider every situation in an opera to a nicety, sketch every character properly and express every feeling . . . as nature intended." lgnaz von Mosel


Very few people are nowadays acquainted with the works of the "philosophical composer", and many of his works have not been published modernly and lay dormant at the Austrian National Library. It is our aim to inspire you to keep on cherishing Mozart's music, adding to it a fondness for the music of his contemporary Salieri, and a context upon which to understand both outputs. For instance, we believe that after hearing Salieri's overture to Les Danaides (1784), one will appreciate differently Mozart's overture to Don Giovanni (1787). 

Salieri's music has of course a common ground with Mozart's, but quite a different personality and styles. Due to his cosmopolitanism, Salieri was a true camaleon: he is very deeply Italian, amazingly French (almost like a spiritual disciple of Rameau) and so Viennese that Empress Maria Theresa refers to him as one of "our composers" as opposed to the Italians.  His music has a drama, a brilliance, a pathos very typically Salieri's,  allied to a profound, heartbreaking lyricism.  "I shed tears ten times; it was too strong for me", wrote the poet Heinrich Von Gerstenberg, after hearing Salieri's opera Armida.

In the late 18th century, musical works were perceived dynamically by composers and public alike. Operas were periodically revised and could received alternative instrumentations, be cut, enlarged or altered more or less heavily according to public taste, the composer’s artistic development, available performing forces and market requests. The adaptation of operas and symphonies to chamber ensembles was also rather common, either performed by the composer himself or by a trusted party (as Haydn’s 12 symphonies entrusted to Salomon, who published them as flute quintets), or simply done by enterprising individuals in response to the demands of the market. Ensemble PHOENIX on period instruments performs this program in chamber setting, employing a string quintet, classical flute, classical clarinet, classical bassoon and natural timpani. Its recent performance of Storace's opera The Pirates in the same setting was recently described as “a carefully balanced ensemble playing of genuine beauty and lushness”.  


Ensemble PHOENIX on early instruments: Ya'akov Rubinstein & Lia Raikhlin (violins), Daniel Tanchelson (viola), Lucia D'Anna (cello), Ron Veprik (double bass), Genevieve Blanchard (classical flute), Gili Rinot (classical clarinets), Alexander Fine (classical bassoon), Evgeny Karasik (early tympani).

Olga Cafiero

Olga Cafiero photo Luca Petrucci


The Sorrentine soprano Olga Cafiero is one of the brightest stars of the new generation of Italian singers. 

She graduated from the Domenico Cimarosa Conservatory in Avellino under the guidance of Valeria Baiano with the highest marks and 
received with honors the Second Level Academic Diploma in Vocal Chamber Music and the Masters Degree in Ancient Music under the direction of Maestro Antonio Florio at the Conservatory San Pietro a Majella in Naples.

She also took part in singing technique seminars with Maria Grazia Schiavo, vocal physiology and the Voice Craft Method e.v.t.s. Estill voice system with Elisa Turlà and technique of dramaturgy with Roberto De Simone in the masterclass "Pergolesi Renaissance". 

Dedicated to the study and performance of baroque music with a special focus on the authors of the Neapolitan School, she took part on the project "ScarlattiLab" with Antonio Florio. She participated in the production "Museo delle Utopie" for the Napoliteatrofestival directed by Giuseppe Sollazzo; in the "Polish Baroque Music" with Andrzej Kosendiak and Clockbeats Baroque Ensemble; in the production of Henry Purcell's  "The Fairy Queen"  for the Ravello Festival with Cappella Neapolitana conducted by Antonio Florio and directed by Daniel Krief; in the 2016/2017 concert season of the Teatro San Carlo with Eduard Zilberkant;  in the XI Edition of the Roma Barocco Festival in 2018.

She works presently with Ensemble "Port de Voix" and performs intense concert activity in Italy and abroad.