You may do a short project that explores how music history and biography is treated in theater and film. Watch the classic film Amadeus, directed by Milos Forman from the play by Peter Shaffer. There are two composers featured in the film: Mozart and Antonio Salieri, a slightly older contemporary of Mozart’s who what one of the most successful composers of his time. In the film, however, he is jealous of Mozart’s genius, and it is implied that he may have killed Mozart because of this jealousy.
For this assignment, you should not only watch the film, but also do some research into Mozart’s and Salieri’s lives. You should look at the biographies of Mozart in our textbook and of Mozart and Salieri on Oxford Music Online through the CSUEB Library’s website (it’s in the database section). Then, consider the following points:
To what extent is the film actually true to historical facts? If so, how? If not, in what ways, and is this important?
Do you feel that Mozart’s and Salieri’s music is portrayed accurately in the film?
Mozart, in the film, is portrayed as childish but intuitively talented. How likely do you think it is that Mozart was like this?
Is it likely that a composer as successful as Salieri actually resented Mozart based on his superior ability?
Even if the film isn’t always factual, are there a greater artistic truth that are revealed? Your paper should be from 750-1000 words in length, and should include a bibliography of sources you consulted as well as your evaluation of the film.
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