Park City Film Series goes Live with ‘Amadeus’
Screening starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday
April 21, 2017
Wolfgang Mozart is a gifted brat in Peter Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play "Amadeus."
The character lacks the formalities and poise one usually pictures in a musical prodigy, and when older, well-respected court composer Antonio Salieri meets Mozart, the battle begins, said Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director.
"Salieri hated Mozart," Wang told The Park Record. "It killed Salieri to know that he would never be as good as Mozart and that Mozart was this person who was like a clown and not the image of someone who was supposed to command respect as a musical genius.
"On the other hand, Salieri also loved Mozart, because he was the only one who could appreciate completely how fantastic a composer Mozart was."
Their relationship is the crux of "Amadeus," which was performed by the National Theatre Live earlier this year. The Park City Film Series will screen the production at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium.
"This is an unbelievable production," Wang said about the script that served as the basis for the 1984 Academy Award-winning film. "It's the story about the clash between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was this puerile genius, and court composer Antonio Salieri."
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Lucian Msamati — who plays the Salieri, to Adam Gillen's Mozart — is an up-and-coming actor who, Wang said, is "just brilliant."
"Many people know him from 'Game of Thrones' and he is also someone you wouldn't expect to perform as Salieri," she said.
One reason is Msamati was born in Tanzania, and it's unusual for a person of color to play the role, which is usually cast as a Caucasian.
"This is what I really like about National Theatre Live," Wang said. "They reimagine characters and that adds a new dynamic and lets viewers experience the stories in a different way."
Another interesting aspect is the use of a live symphony in the production.
"The score is performed live by the Southbank Sinfonia, a 20-piece orchestra and some opera singers," Wang said. "So, for example, while the characters talk about 'The Magic Flute,' the orchestra performs the piece at the same time."
In keeping with the live-music theme, a performance by the Utah Symphony Youth Guild will precede the screening. The musicians will play from 1:30-2 p.m.
"They will play in the Jim Santy Auditorium while the audience comes in," Wang said. "We thought that would be a nice addition to the screening."
Park City Library's Adult Services Librarian Kate Mapp was the one who contacted the Utah Symphony Youth Guild.
"To give these young musicians a platform to perform in front of an appreciative audience is, I think, a treat for them as well," Wang said.
The Park City Film Series is celebrating its second year showing National Theatre Live productions.
"We started working with the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah, who works with the Salt Lake Film Society, to kind of get us off the ground," Wang said. "They do a series in Salt Lake and we had a lot of our patrons ask us if we could bring something up here."
Park City Film Series originally formed as a partnership with the center and the Park City Library.
"At the end of 2016, we parted ways amicably, but they did tell us that we were doing great and could actually do this on our own," Wang said. "Now, our partnership is just the Film Series and the library. Since it's just the two of us now, we've tried to expand the program and link it into what the library is doing."
Having the respect from the Tanner Humanities Center is good because National Theatre Live is protective about the productions that it makes available to air.
"These are not available for download or available to buy on Blu-ray or DVD," Wang said. "They are seen in the theater in London and then shown through organizations like us who subscribe to the shows.
"The reason is because they want to make sure each is of the highest quality and seen in the best possible setting, rather than online and things like that. That way, the audiences can experience the performances in the way the directors and producers want it to be seen."
"Amadeus" is not rated, but appropriate for ages 12 and older.
"Keep in mind it is a three-hour presentation, but will include a 20-minute intermission," Wang said.
In addition, there will be beer and wine on sale for adults.
Wang thanked Keller Williams realtor Julie Hopkins for underwriting all of the Park City Film Series' National Theatre Live presentations to date.
"She is a lover of the arts and supports other arts organizations along with us. She's from Aspen and understands why it is important to cultivate the arts, especially in a small town."
Park City Film Series will present an airing of National Theatre Live's "Amadeus" at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. There will be a 20-minute intermission. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students and $17 for Park City Film Series and Friends of the Park City Library members. For information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com.