In January 2006, the world celebrated Mozart's 250th Birthday. To correspond with the festivities, Ninth Wave presented Peter Shaffer's take on the legendary composer at St. Nicholas Church in Galway, Ireland.
The work looks at Mozart's time in Vienna (i.e. the last ten years of his life) but does so through the lens of his rival and purported murderer, Antonio Salieri. An enduring myth implicates Salieri in Mozart's early death and Shaffer plays with the evolution of these kinds of rumours. He also examines ideas about religious piety, envy, facades, and the inscrutability of destiny. All of this while creating fascinating portraits of the composer and his would-be nemesis.
Most people are undoubtedly more familiar with the film adaptation of the play, which garnered numerous Oscar and Golden Globe awards when it was released in 1984. The stage production is equally as laurelled with the Broadway production earning Tonys including Best Play for Shaffer and Best Actor for Ian McKellan who played Salieri. Though stage and screen version share characters and basic plot details, the theatrical original centers much more on the idea of Mozart (whose middle name means 'beloved of God') as God's voice on Earth and the blend of admiration and ire this causes in Salieri. This religious undercurrent made St. Nicholas an ideal venue for the play as the church's holy atmosphere augmented those themes quite palpably.
The cast for the Galway production included actors from a range of theatrical organizations in the city, including An Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, NUIG's MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, NUIG DramSoc and Galway Youth Theatre. In the principle roles were Patrick Curley as Antonio Salieri, Morgan Cooke as his bane and the title character, and Helen Gregg as the composer's devoted wife Constanze.
Antonio Salieri - Patrick Curley
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Morgan Cooke
Constanze Weber - Helen Gregg
Emperor Joseph II - Ronan McMahon
Count Von Strack - Matt Kelly
Count Orsini-Rosenberg - Shane McDermott
Baron Van Swieten - Martin Sullivan
Salieri's Venticelli - Aileen Bradley and Lisa Daly