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Amadeus at Manoel Theatre to celebrate Masquerade's 20th anniversary

Manuel Cauchi returning to stage after four years

Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus is  being staged by Masquerade once again after 16 years. Photos: Mark Zammit Cordina

Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus is being staged by Masquerade once again after 16 years. Photos: Mark Zammit Cordina

Sixteen years after it first graced the Manoel Theatre’s stage, Peter Shaffer’s award-winning drama Amadeus returns as part of celebrations marking Masquerade’s 20th anniversary.

The play, which tells a highly-fictionalised account of the lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, originally premiered at the Royal National Theatre in London in 1979, before moving on to the West End followed by a run on Broadway. It was first staged at the Manoel by Masquerade in 2002.

“The Manoel Theatre lends itself beautifully to the staging of Amadeus,” said director Stephen Oliver. “This, combined with a fabulous set designed by Romualdo Moretti that features a mirrored floor, state-of-the-art projections, and spectacular costumes and wigs, will transport the audience back to the 18th century.”

Veteran actor Manuel Cauchi is marking his return to theatre after a four-year hiatus with his role as Salieri. Thomas Camilleri landed the role of Mozart, while Monique Dimech Genuis is playing Costanze, Mozart’s wife.

“The cast includes a mixture of seasoned professionals and some who are fairly new to the stage,” said Mr Oliver.

“It always helps when a cast ‘buys into’ a production from the start and I was overwhelmed by the number of actors who auditioned for Amadeus a few months ago.

“The actors truly love the play and this helps in rehearsal. The great Manuel Cauchi arrived at the first rehearsal knowing the script completely by heart – even though he is on stage for the whole thing! He is regarded as one of Malta’s finest actors for a reason and I am thrilled he took on the role.

“I have no doubt that audiences will be overwhelmed by his performance, as well as by those of Thomas Camilleri and Monique Dimech Genuis, together with a hugely talented supporting cast.”

Mr Oliver, who has lived in Malta for five years, did not see Masquerade’s original production in 2002, but had watched the original play at the National Theatre in the UK, starring Paul Schofield and Simon Callow, in the 1980s. Even then, he was struck by both the staging and by the way Shaffer had utilised his skills as a storyteller to turn the story of Mozart into an incredible play without it being a pure biopic.

“There has been conjecture for so long as to what was the cause of Mozart’s early death – including Masonic involvement and poisoning by a rival, namely Salieri, a court composer of Mozart’s time,” he remarked.

“Shaffer explores this storyline and the play is seen through Salieri’s eyes, while featuring both his and Mozart’s demise. So, while taking all of that into consideration, it is no wonder that Amadeus is considered to be one of the top 100 plays of all time. I am honoured to be directing it.”

Opening on Friday, Amadeus by Peter Shaffer is a Masquerade Theatre Company production and will also be performed at Manoel Theatre, Valletta, on Saturday and on Sunday, and from October 26 to 28. Tickets are be available online at www.teatrumanoel.com.mt.

Manuel Cauchi returns to the Manoel Theatre stage as Salieri.Manuel Cauchi returns to the Manoel Theatre stage as Salieri.

Monique Dimech Genuis as Costanze, Mozart’s wife.Monique Dimech Genuis as Costanze, Mozart’s wife.

Thomas Camilleri landed the role of Mozart.Thomas Camilleri landed the role of Mozart.

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