Mozart’s Lucio Silla

The teenage Mozart and the trinity
By Shirley Apthorp
Published: December 3 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 3 2004 02:00
The walls of the set model can be lifted out and swapped around, like a dolls’ house for the disoriented. Jossi Wieler, Sergio Morabito and Anna Viebrock are demonstrating the scene changes for Mozart’s Lucio Silla.
“At the beginning you see this,” explains Wieler. “Then this,” adds Viebrock, “and then this.” The three crouch excitedly over the model, rapidly describing the first act, their six arms moving and swapping walls with breathtaking co-ordination.
It is a tiny glimpse into the collaborative world of one of Germany’s leading opera teams. On paper, their functions are separate. Viebrock designs sets and costumes, Wieler directs, Morabito is the dramaturge. But in reality the different jobs blur and merge, with all three energetically engaged from the moment of conception.
Their career as a trinity began at the Stuttgart State Opera, with Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. The house Intendant, Klaus Zehelein, a founding father of the German discipline of dramaturgy, saw the group’s potential and made sure it was given room to grow. That was a decade ago. Since then they have become a byword for meticulous Regietheater in Germany. Their Ariadne auf Naxos was the hit of the 2001 Salzburg Festival, their Doktor Faust in San Francisco caused a stir and the Swiss took well to their Basel Macbeth, but the core of their work has remained in Stuttgart, where they have chalked up nine productions together.
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Cast information:
Lucio Silla — Jeffrey Francis
Giunia — Mary Dunleavy
Cecilio — Kristine Jepson
Luci Cinna — Cyndia Sieden
Celia — Henriette Bonde-Hansen
Aufidio — Johannes Chum
Adam Fischer, conducting
Synopsis of opera