Peter Shaffer:

Peter Shaffer - Amadeus

BBC Radio 3: The Sunday Play

Broadcast: Sunday 23rd January 1983 @ 7:30 p.m.

The title "Amadeus" means 'Loved by God', in reference to Mozart and his middle name. Peter Shaffer's play is quite different in many respects from the movie. Like many plays, there is a much more personal feel to "Amadeus", the play. We get to know Salieri better than we ever do in the screen adaption. In fact, Salieri is the principle character in "Amadeus". Even Mozart is a secondary character in comparison.

Set amidst the opulence and splendour of the 18th century Vienna, Peter Shaffer's thrilling, and often wickedly funny play, pits blazing human ambition against heavenly genius, in what becomes a battle of life and death. Antonio Salieri is exalted as the most famous composer in a city of musicians - that is, until the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrives.

Now brutually confronted with the limitations of his own talent and believing God to have abandoned him, Salieri embarks on a desperate course of action.

"Amadeus" was written in 1977 by Peter Shaffer and was first performed at the National Theatre, London, on 2nd November 1979.

With Paul Scofield [Antonio Salieri], Simon Callow [Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart], Felicity Kendal [Constanze Mozart], John Normington [Emperor Joseph II], Nicholas Selby [Gottried, Baron van Sweiten], Willoughby Goddard [Count Franz Orsini Rosenberg], Basil Henson [Johann Kilian von Strack], Donald Gee and Dermont Crawley [The Venticelli], and Nigel Bellairs, Susan Gilmore, Peggy Marshall, Robin Meredith, Anne Sedgwick, William Sleigh, Glenn Williams [Citizens of Vienna].

Music direction by Kevin Leeman (with music specially recorded for the play).

A National Theatre production, directed by Peter Hall.

Produced by David Spenser.

130 min.


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