Saturday 24 August 2019

Theatre: The symphony of talent that is Mozart and Callow

Simon Callow brings his unique flair for all things Wolfgang to Kilkenny

Actor and writer Simon Callow has described Mozart's life as a 'vast meditation on the relationship between genius and talent.' Photo: David Conachy
Actor and writer Simon Callow has described Mozart's life as a 'vast meditation on the relationship between genius and talent.' Photo: David Conachy

Anna Coogan

Simon Callow stole the show when he appeared in Four Weddings and a Funeral opposite Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, with the most memorable scene in the film being when he croaked from a heart attack. So the other acts appearing at the Kilkenny Arts Festival have been duly warned.

Especially given how Callow is well known for his great and unique flair for summoning up the spirit and personality of the composer Mozart. He played the composer in the original London stage production of Peter Shaffer's play, Amadeus, in 1979, which was subsequently turned into an Oscar-winning film in 1984.

British actor Callow is a special guest at this year's arts festival, where he will read specially chosen selections from letters written by composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and in what has been described as "Ireland's largest-ever celebration of the composer Mozart."

Callow's readings of Mozart's letters will be interspersed with the Austrian composer's greatest symphonies, which will be performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra - and conducted by the violinist Gábor Takács-Nagy, and by Jörg Widmann, the clarinettist and composer.

Callow is known for his undertaking of dynamic roles, with his many one-man shows, including The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Being Shakespeare, A Christmas Carol, Inside Wagner's Head, Juvenalia and, most recently, The Man Jesus.

Festival-goers are in for a treat, with Callow having described Mozart's life as a "a vast meditation on the relationship between genius and talent".

Mozart: The Late Symphonies I (Symphonies 38, 39 and Sinfonia Concertante) will be performed on Friday August 5 in St Canice's Cathedral at 8pm, with Simon Callow, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy

Mozart: The Late Symphonies II (Symphonies 40, 41 and Clarinet Concerto) will be performed on Sunday August 7 in St Canice's at 7.30pm, with Callow, the Chamber Orchestra, and conductor Jörg Widmann.

The Kilkenny Arts Festival runs from August 5 to 14, with more information on the upcoming artistic adventures in Ireland's medieval city available on kilkennyarts.ie.

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