Mozart 22
Betulia Liberata
Distributor: C Major Entertainment / Unitel
Lenght: 130 min. 53 sec.
16:9 shot in Digital Video 25P / stereo & 5.1 surround sound
© 2006, a production of Unitel, and BFMI in co-production with Classica, in cooperation with the Salzburg Festival
Azione sac­ra in two parts K. 118 resp. 74c (1771)
Lib­retto: Pietro Meta­sta­s­io

Writ­ten in spring 1771, "Betulia Lib­erata" is an azione sac­ra, a sac­red play in the style of the Itali­an ora­tor­io. The lib­retto takes up the well-known bib­lic­al story of Ju­dith and Holofernes. The As­syr­i­an gen­er­al and dic­tat­or is lay­ing siege to the Jew­ish town of Betulia. He has the town sur­roun­ded and its wa­ter sup­plies cut off. While the Prince of Betulia, Ozi­as, and re­li­gious lead­ers dis­cuss what to do, the wid­ow Ju­dith de­cides to act: she boldly strides in­to the en­emy camp, where she wins Holofernes’ trust, arouses his senses and cuts off his head.
The work was com­mis­sioned by Don Gi­useppe Xi­menes, Prince of Ar­agon, a mem­ber of noble Span­ish fam­ily liv­ing in Padua."Betulia Lib­erata" owes much to the com­poser’s early ex­per­i­ences with op­era, es­pe­cially "Mitrid­ate", and con­tains some strik­ingly proph­et­ic fea­tures. One finds the con­ven­tion­al aria types of the op­era ser­ia such as the rage aria and the bravura aria; there are power­ful chor­uses and a re­mark- able C minor aria with chor­al in­ter­jec­tions. The work is pre­ceded by a stormy D minor over­ture that fore­shad­ows the Sturm und Drang at­mo­sphere of the "little" G minor Sym­phony K.182 of 1773. As be­fits an ora­tor­io, The Salzburg pro­duc­tion of "Betulia Lib­erata" is a semi-staged con­cert per­form­ance. The in­cis­ive play­ing of the Mu­nich Cham­ber Or­ches­tra un­der its early-mu­sic-in­spired con­duct­or Chris­toph Pop­pen provides the dy­nam­ic basis for the ho­mo­gen­eous cast.

Jeremy Ovenden, Ozia
Mar­i­jana Mi­jan­ovic, Gi­uditta
Ju­lia Kleit­er, Amit­al
Franz-Josef-Se­lig, Achi­or
Irena Be­spa­lovaite, Cabri
Jen­nifer John­ston, Car­mi
München­er Kam­mer­orchester
Konzer­tver­ein­i­gung Wien­er Staat­so­per­n­chor

Chris­toph Pop­pen, con­duct­or
Stefan Aglas­sing­er, video dir­ect­or

Re­cord­ing date: 18.08.2006
Ven­ue: Felsen­reit­schule