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December 2003 - Nr. 12


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Who was Mozart?
Dick reports...
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"Wheel of Time"
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Art Cologne 2003
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MOMA Film Fest

Wer war Mozart?

by Herwig Wandschneider

Herwig Wandschneider

The Laurier German Drama Group presented "Who was Mozart" Nov 21 and 22 at the Theatre Auditorium of Wilfrid Laurier University, sponsored by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Conceived, arranged, and directed by Dr. Alexandra Zimmermann of WLU’s Department of Languages and Literature, the play was loosely based on correspondence and analysis that depicts Mozart through the eyes of Salieri as dramatic, as a Joker (through his own correspondence) and as a Romantic as depicted by romantic writer Eduard Mörike. In the end the audience has to decide for themselves individually, which personality most depicts Mozart’s personality.

WLU German and music students perform "Wer war Mozart?"  [photo: Herwig Wandschneider]

The show incorporates a medley of musical and dramatic elements. Highlights of the show included the performance of arias from his famous operas The Magic Flute, Cosi fan tutte and Don Giovanni. There’s also a danced interpretation of the minuet from Don Giovanni.

The task to present Mozart with his various personalities in one play is, as a minimum, very challenging. Dr. Zimmermann made a courageous attempt and was ably supported by superb costumes (obtained from Stratford), acting and singing talent. What is a problem with most foreign language plays with amateur actors is that the German Language is often difficult to understand, which detracts from the quality of the presentation otherwise. While many actors were excellent, the pronunciation of the foreign language was difficult to handle for some. Not terribly surprising, but it would be helpful to elevate the voices in some fashion to ensure that the largely German audience will understand the spoken word.

The concept, the acting and singing (Thomas Leslie, Tenor; Andrea Naccarato, Soprano), the costumes (Helen Basson), all were impressive, the stage changes very appropriate, sometimes amusing. Not necessarily matching the extravagance of the costumes, but quite good enough to illustrate the scene. The audience appreciated the effort that went into the play wholeheartedly. The timeframe to develop the play was short – 7 months from concept to performance, and for some actors just a few weeks to memorize and practice.

The effort was impressive overall and the result was successful. What makes it a success is the obvious enthusiasm of the participants and the satisfaction of the audience that they have spent a pleasant evening on a stimulating and thought-provoking play.


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