Written when Mozart was just fourteen, Mitridate is a suspenseful psychological drama
of fractured familial relationships, jealousy, aging, betrayal, and erotic desire.
Based on Jean Racine's play Mithridate, the opera explores
the search for truth amid illusion and misrepresentation.
Against the backdrop of raging war with Rome, Mitridates, the King of Pontus, stages his own death to test the loyalty of his sons. Meanwhile, the two brothers, Farnace and Sifare, vie for the love of their father's young fiancée, Aspasia. On the king's unexpected return, the princes' rivalry continues, as they disguise their feelings and struggle to regain their father's trust and earn his approval. Mitridate grows increasingly erratic and brutal in his jealous rage, suspicion, and paranoia, as he faces his own inevitable eclipse and growing irrelevance.
Mozart's music bristles with visceral drama, prefiguring the young composer's later works dealing with the fraught relationships between father-figures and sons, particularly Idomeneo and Don Giovanni.
Performed at UC San Diego's new Park & Market Media and Arts Center, Opera Neo's production is conducted and directed by Peter Kozma.