by Peter Shaffer.
Based on the play by Peter Shaffer.
1 INT. STAIRCASE OUTSIDE OLD SALIERI'S SALON - NIGHT - 1823 1
Total darkness. We hear an old man's voice, distinct and in distress. It is OLD
SALIERI. He uses a mixture of English and occasionally Italian.
Mozart! Mozart! Mozart. Forgive me! Forgive your assassin!
A faint light illuminates the screen. Flickeringly, we see an eighteenth century
balustrade and a flight of stone stairs. We are looking down into the wall of the
staircase from the point of view of the landing. Up the stair is coming a branched
candlestick held by Salieri's VALET. By his side is Salieri's COOK, bearing a
large dish of sugared cakes and biscuits. Both men are desperately worried: the
Valet is thin and middle-aged; the Cook, plump and Italian. It is very cold. They
wear shawls over their night-dresses and clogs on their feet. They wheeze as they
climb. The candles throw their shadows up onto the peeling walls of the house,
which is evidently an old one and in bad decay. A cat scuttles swiftly between
their bare legs, as they reach the salon door.
The Valet tries the handle. It is locked. Behind it the voice goes on, rising in
Show some mercy! I beg you. I beg you! Show mercy to a guilty
The Valet knocks gently on the door. The voice stops.
Open the door, Signore! Please! Be good now! We've brought
you something special. Something you're going to love.
Signore Salieri! Open the door. Come now. Be good!
The voice of Old Salieri continues again, further off now, and louder. We hear a
noise as if a window is being opened.
Mozart! Mozart! I confess it! Listen! I confess!
The two servants look at each other in alarm. Then the Valet hands the candlestick
to the Cook and takes a sugared cake from the dish, scrambling as quickly as he
can back down the stairs.
2 EXT. THE STREET OUTSIDE SALIERI ‘S HOUSE - VIENNA - NIGHT 2
The street is filled with people: ten cabs with drivers, five children, fifteen adults,
two doormen, fifteen dancing couples and a sled and three dogs. It is a windy
night. Snow is falling and whirling about. People are passing on foot, holding
their cloaks tightly around them. Some of them are revelers in fancy dress: they
wear masks on their faces or hanging around their necks, as if returning from par-
ties. Now they are glancing up at the facade of the old house. The window above
the street is open and Old Salieri stands there calling to the sky: a sharp-featured,
white-haired Italian over seventy years old, wearing a stained dressing gown.
Mozart! Mozart! I cannot bear it any longer! I confess! I confess
what I did! I'm guilty! I killed you! Sir I confess! I killed you!
The door of the house bursts open. The Valet hobbles out, holding the sugared
cake. The wind catches at his shawl.
Mozart, perdonami! Forgive your assassin! Pietą! Pietą! Forgive
your assassin! Forgive me! Forgive! Forgive!
(looking up to the window)
That's all right, Signore! He heard you! He forgave you! He
wants you to go inside now and shut the window!
Old Salieri stares down at him. Some of the passersby have now stopped and are
watching this spectacle.
Come on, Signore! Look what I have for you! I can't give it to
you from down here, can I?
Old Salieri looks at him in contempt. Then he turns away back into the room,
shutting the window with a bang. Through the glass, the old man stares down at
the group of onlookers in the street. They stare back at him in confusion.
Who is that?
No one, sir. He'll be all right. Poor man. He's a little unhappy,
He makes a sign indicating ‘crazy,' and goes back inside the house. The onlookers
3 INT. LANDING OUTSIDE OLD SALIERI ‘S SALON - NIGHT 3
The Cook is standing holding the candlestick in one hand, the dish of cakes in the
other. The Valet arrives, panting.
Did he open?
The Cook, scared, shakes his head: no. The Valet again knocks on the door.
Here I am, Signore. Now open the door.
He eats the sugared cake in his hand, elaborately and noisily.
Mmmm - this is good! This is the most delicious thing I ever
ate, believe me! Signore, you don't know what you're missing!
We hear a thump from inside the bedroom.
Now that's enough, Signore! Open!
We hear a terrible, throaty groaning.
If you don't open this door, we're going to eat everything.
There'll be nothing left for you. And I'm not going to bring you
He looks down. From under the door we see a trickle of blood flowing. In horror,
the two men stare at it. The dish of cakes falls from the Cook ‘s hand and shatters.
He sets the candlestick down on the floor. Both servants run at the door franti-
cally - once, twice, three times - and the frail lock gives. The door flies open.
Immediately, the stormy, frenzied opening of Mozart's Symphony No. 25 (the
“Little G Minor) begins. We see what the servants see.
4 INT. OLD SALIERI'S SALON - NIGHT 4
Old Salieri lies on the floor in a pool of blood, an open razor in his hand. He has
cut his throat but is still alive. He gestures at them. They run to him. Barely, we
glimpse the room - an old chair, old tables piled with books, a forte-piano, a
chamber-pot on the floor - as the Valet and the Cook struggle to lift their old
Master, and bind his bleeding throat with a napkin.
5 INT. BALLROOM - NIGHT 5
Twenty-five dancing couples, fifty guests, ten servants, full orchestra.
As the music slows a little, we see a Masquerade Ball in progress. A crowded room
of dancers is executing the slow portion of a dance fashionable in the early 1820's.
6 EXT. STREET OUTSIDE SALIERI'S HOUSE - NIGHT 6
As the fast music returns, we see Old Salieri being carried out of his house on a
stretcher by two attendants, and placed in a horse-drawn wagon under the supervi-
sion of a middle-aged doctor in a tall hat. This is DOCTOR GULDEN. He gets
in beside his patient. The driver whips up the horse, and the wagon dashes off
through the still-falling snow.
7- MONTAGE: 7-
EXT. FOUR STREETS OF VIENNA AND
11 INT. THE WAGON - NIGHT 11
The wagon is galloping through the snowy streets of the city. Inside the con-
veyance we see Old Salieri wrapped in blankets, half-conscious, being held by the
hospital attendants. Doctor Gulden stares at him grimly. The wagon arrives out-
side the General Hospital of Vienna.
12 INT. A HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - LATE AFTERNOON 12
A wide, white-washed corridor. Doctor Gulden is walking down it with a priest, a
man of about forty, concerned, but somewhat self-important. This is Father
VOGLER, Chaplain at the hospital. In the corridor as they walk, we note several
patients -- some of them visibly disturbed mentally. All patients wear white linen
smocks. Doctor Gulden wears a dark frock-coat; Vogler, a cassock.
He's going to live. It's much harder to cut your throat than most
They stop outside a door.
Here we are. Do you wish me to come in with you?
No, Doctor. Thank you.
Vogler nods and opens the door.
13 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON 13
A bare room - one of the best available in the General Hospital. It contains a bed,
a table with candles, chairs, a small forte-piano of the early nineteenth century. As
Vogler enters, Old Salieri is sitting in a wheel-chair, looking out the window. His
back is to us. The priest closes the door quietly behind him.
Old Salieri turns around to look at him. We see that his throat is bandaged ex-
pertly. He wears hospital garb, and over it the Civilian Medal and Chain with
which we will later see the EMPEROR invest him.
What do you want?
I am Father Vogler. I am a Chaplain here. I thought you might
like to talk to someone.
You tried to take your life. You do remember that, don't you?
In the sight of God that is a sin.
What do you want?
Do you understand that you have sinned? Gravely.
Leave me alone.
I cannot leave alone a soul in pain.
Do you know who I am? You never heard of me, did you?
That makes no difference. All men are equal in God's eyes.
Offer me your confession. I can offer you God's forgiveness.
I do not seek forgiveness.
My son, there is something dreadful on your soul. Unburden it
to me. I'm here only for you. Please talk to me.
How well are you trained in music?
I know a little. I studied it in my youth.
Here in Vienna.
Then you must know this.
He propels his wheelchair to the forte-piano, and plays an unrecognizable melody.
I can't say I do. What is it?
I'm surprised you don't know. It was a very popular tune in its
day. I wrote it. How about this?
He plays another tune.
This one brought down the house when we played it first.
He plays it with growing enthusiasm.
14 INT. THE STAGE OF AN OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 14
We see the pretty soprano KATHERINA CAVALIERI, now about twenty-four,
dressed in an elaborate mythological Persian costume, singing on stage. She's near
the end of a very florid aria by Salieri. The audience applauds wildly.
15 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON - 1823 15
(taking his hands off the keys)
I regret it is not too familiar.
Can you recall no melody of mine? I was the most famous com-
poser in Europe when you were still a boy. I wrote forty operas
alone. What about this little thing?
Slyly he plays the opening measure of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The priest
nods, smiling suddenly, and hums a little with the music.
Oh, I know that! That's charming! I didn't know you wrote that.
I didn't. That was Mozart. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You
know who that is?
Of course. The man you accuse yourself of killing.
Ah - you've heard that?
All Vienna has heard that.
And do they believe it?
Is it true?
Do you believe it?
A very long pause. Salieri stares above the priest, seemingly lost in his own private
For God's sake, my son, if you have anything to confess, do it
now! Give yourself some peace!
A further pause.
Do you hear me?
He was murdered, Father! Mozart! Cruelly murdered.
Yes? Did you! do it?
Suddenly Old Salieri turns to him, a look of extreme innocence.
He was my idol! I can't remember a time when I didn't know his
name! When I was only fourteen he was already famous. Even in
Legnago - the tiniest town in Italy - I knew of him.
16 EXT. A SMALL TOWN SQUARE IN LOMBARDY, ITALY - DAY - 1780's 16
There are twelve children and twenty adults in the square. We see the fourteen-
year-old Salieri blindfolded, playing a game of Blindman's Bluff with other Italian
children, running about in the bright sunshine and laughing.
I was still playing childish games when he was playing music for
kings and emperors. Even the Pope in Rome!
17 INT. A SALON IN THE VATICAN - DAY - 1780's 17
We see the six-year-old MOZART, also blindfolded, seated in a gilded chair on a
pile of books, playing the harpsichord for the POPE and a suite of CARDINALS
and other churchmen. Beside the little boy stands LEOPOLD, his father, smirk-
ing with pride.
I admit I was jealous when I heard the tales they told about him.
Not of the brilliant little prodigy himself, but of his father, who
had taught him everything.
The piece finishes. Leopold lowers the lid of the harpsichord and lifts up his little
son to stand on it. Mozart removes the blindfold to show a pale little face with
staring eyes. Both father and son bow. A Papal Chamberlain presents Leopold
with a gold snuff box whilst the cardinals decorously applaud. Over this scene Old
My father did not care for music. He wanted me only to be a
merchant, like himself. As anonymous as he was. When I told
how I wished I could be like Mozart, he would say, “Why? Do
you want to be a trained monkey? Would you like me to drag
you around Europe doing tricks like a circus freak? How could I
tell him what music meant to me?
18 EXT. A COUNTRY CHURCH IN NORTH ITALY - DAY - 1780's 18
Serene music of the Italian Baroque - Pergolesi's Stabat Mater - sung by a choir
of boys with organ accompaniment. We see the outside of the 17th-century church
sitting in the wide landscape of Lombardy: sunlit fields, a dusty, white road,
19 INT. THE CHURCH AT LEGNAGO - DAY - 1780's 19
The music continues and swells. We see the twelve-year-old Salieri seated between
his plump and placid parents in the congregation, listening in rapture. His father is
a heavy-looking, self-approving man, obviously indifferent to the music. A large
and austere Christ on the cross hangs over the altar. Candles burn below his image.
Even then a spray of sounded notes could make me dizzy, almost
The boy falls forward on his knees. So do his parents and the other members of
the congregation. He stares up at Christ who stares back at him.
Whilst my father prayed earnestly to God to protect commerce, I
would offer up secretly the proudest prayer a boy could think of.
“Lord, make me a great composer! Let me celebrate your glory
through music - and be celebrated myself! Make me famous
through the world, dear God! Make me immortal! After I die let
people speak my name forever with love for what I wrote! In re-
turn I vow I will give you my chastity - my industry, my deepest
humility, every hour of my life. And I will help my fellow man
all I can. Amen and amen!
The music swells to a crescendo. The candles flare. We see the Christ through the
flames looking at the boy benignly.
And do you know what happened? A miracle!
19A INT. DINING ROOM IN THE SALIERI HOUSE - DAY - 1780's 19A
CU, a large cooked fish on a thick china plate. Camera pulls back to show the
Salieri family at dinner. Father Salieri sits at the head of the table, a napkin tucked
into his chin. Mother Salieri is serving the fish into portions and handing them
round. Two maiden aunts are in attendance, wearing black, and of course the
young boy. Father Salieri receives his plate of fish and starts to eat greedily.
Suddenly there is a gasp - he starts to choke violently on a fish bone. All the
women get up and crowd around him, thumping and pummeling him, but it is in
vain. Father Salieri collapses.
20 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON - 1823 20
Suddenly he was dead. Just like that! And my life changed for-
ever. My mother said, “Go. Study music if you really want to.
Off with you! And off I went as quick as I could and never saw
Italy again. Of course, I knew God had arranged it all; that was
obvious. One moment I was a frustrated boy in an obscure little
town. The next I was here, in Vienna, city of musicians, sixteen
years old and studying under Gluck! Gluck, Father. Do you
know who he was? The greatest composer of his time. And he
loved me! That was the wonder. He taught me everything he
knew. And when I was ready, introduced me personally to the
Emperor! Emperor Joseph - the musical king! Within a few
years I was his court composer. Wasn't that incredible? Imperial
Composer to His Majesty! Actually the man had no ear at all,
but what did it matter? He adored my music, that was enough.
Night after night I sat right next to the Emperor of Austria,
playing duets with him, correcting the royal sight-reading. Tell
me, if you had been me, wouldn't you have thought God had ac-
cepted your vow? And believe me, I honoured it. I was a model
of virtue. I kept my hands off women, worked hours every day
teaching students, many of them for free, sitting on endless
committees to help poor musicians - work and work and work,
that was all my life. And it was wonderful! Everybody liked me.
I liked myself. I was the most successful musician in Vienna.
And the happiest. Till he came. Mozart.
21 INT. THE ARCHBISHOP OF SALZBURG'S RESIDENCE - 21
VIENNA - DAY - 1780's
A grand room crowded with guests. A small group of Gypsy musicians is playing
in the background. Thirteen members of the Archbishop's orchestra - all wind
players, complete with 18th-century wind instruments: elaborate-looking bassoons,
basset horns, etc. and wearing their employer's livery - are laying out music on
stands at one end of the room. At the other end is a large gilded chair, bearing the
arms of the ARCHBISHOP OF SALZBURG. A throng of people is standing,
talking, and preparing to sit upon the rows of waiting chairs to hear a concert.
One day he came to Vienna to play some of his music at the resi-
dence of his employer, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.
Eagerly I went there to seek him out. That night changed my life.
We see Salieri, age thirty-one, a neat, carefully turned-cut man in decent black
clothes and clean white linen, walking through the crowd of guests. We follow
As I went through the salon, I played a game with myself. This
man had written his first concerto at the age of four; his first
symphony at seven; a full-scale opera at twelve. Did it show? Is
talent like that written on the face?
We see shots of assorted young men staring back at Salieri as he moves through the
Which one of them could he be?
Some of the men recognize Salieri and bow respectfully. Then suddenly a servant
bearing a large tray of cakes and pastries stalks past. Instantly riveted by the sight
of such delights, Salieri follows him out of the Grand Salon.
22 INT. A PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY - 1780's 22
The servant marches along bearing his tray of pastries aloft. Salieri follows him.
The servant turns into:
23 INT. BUFFET ROOM IN THE PALACE - DAY - 1780's 23
Salieri's POV: several tables, dressed to the floor with cloths are loaded with many
plates of confectionery. It is, in fact, Salieri's idea of paradise! The servant puts his
tray down on one of the tables and withdraws from the room.
24 INT. A PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY - 1780's 24
Salieri turns away so as not to be noticed by the servant. As soon as the man disap-
pears, Salieri sneaks into the buffet room.
25 INT. BUFFET ROOM IN THE PALACE - DAY - 1780's 25
Salieri enters the room and looks about him cautiously. He is salivating with antic-
ipation as he stares at the feast of sweet things. His attention is attracted in
particular by a huge pile of dark chocolate balls arranged in the shape of a
pineapple. He reaches out a hand to steal one of the balls, but at the same moment
he hears giggling coming toward him. He ducks down behind the pastry table.
A girl - CONSTANZE - rushes into the room. She runs straight across it and
hides herself behind one of the tables.
After a beat of total silence, MOZART runs into the room, stops, and looks
around. He is age twenty-six, wearing a fine wig and a brilliant coat with the in-
signia of the Archbishop of Salzburg upon it. He is puzzled; Constanze has disap-
peared. Baffled, he turns and is about to leave the room, when Constanze sud-
denly squeaks from under the cloth like a tiny mouse. Instantly Mozart drops to
all fours and starts crawling across the floor, meowing and hissing like a naughty
cat. Watched by an astonished Salieri, Mozart disappears under the cloth and ob-
viously pounces upon Constanze. We hear a high-pitched giggle, which is going to
characterize Mozart throughout the film.
26 INT. PALACE GRAND SALON - DAY - 1780's 26
The throng is mostly seated. The musicians are in their places, holding their vari-
ous exotic-looking wind instruments; the candles are all lit. A Majordomo appears
and bangs his staff on the floor for attention. Immediately COLLOREDO,
Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg enters. He is a small self-important figure of fifty
in a wig, surmounted by a scarlet skullcap. He is followed by his Chamberlain, the
Count ARCO. Everyone stands. The Archbishop goes to his throne and sits. His
guests sit also. Arco gives the signal to start the music. Nothing happens. Instead,
a wind musician gets up, approaches the Chamberlain and whispers in his ear. Arco
in turn whispers to the Archbishop.
Mozart is not here.
Where is he?
They're looking for him, Your Grace.
27 INT. A PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY - 1780's 27
Three servants are opening doors and looking into rooms going off the corridor.
28 INT. PALACE GRAND SALON - DAY - 1780's 28
The guests are turning around and looking at the Archbishop. The musicians are
watching. There is puzzlement and a murmur of comment. The Archbishop
tightens his lip.
We'll start without him.
29 INT. PALACE BUFFET ROOM - DAY - 1780's 29
Mozart is on his knees before the tablecloth, which reaches to the floor. Under it is
Constanze. We hear her giggling as he talks.
Miaouw! Miaouw! Mouse-wouse? It's Puss-wuss, fangs-wangs.
He grabs her ankle. She screams. He pulls her out by her leg.
Stop it. Stop it!
They roll on the floor. He tickles her.
I am! I am! I'm stopping it - slowly. You see! Look, I've
stopped. Now we are going back.
He tries to drag her back under the table.
No! No! No!
Yes! Back! Back! Listen - don't you know where you are?
We are in the Residence of the Fartsbishop of Salzburg.
She laughs delightedly, then addresses an imaginary Archbishop.
Your Grace, I've got something to tell you. I want to complain
about this man.
Go ahead, tell him. Tell them all. They won't understand you
Because here everything goes backwards. People walk backwards,
dance backwards, sing backwards, and talk backwards.
Why? People fart backwards.
Do you think that's funny?
Yes, I think it's brilliant. You've been doing it for years.
He gives a high pitched giggle.
Oh, ha, ha, ha.
Sra-I'm-sick! Sra-I'm sick!
Yes, you are. You're very sick.
No, no. Say it backwards, shit-wit. “Sra-I'm-sick Say it
(working it out)
Sra-I'm-sick. Sick - “kiss I'm - “my “Kiss my! Sra-I'm-
sick - “Kiss my arse!
Em iram! Em iram!
No, I'm not playing this game.
No, this is serious. Say it backwards.
Just say it - you'll see. It's very serious. Em iram! Em iram!
Iram - “marry Em - “marry me! No, no! You're a fiend.
I'm not going to marry a fiend. A dirty fiend at that.
Tub - “but i-tub - “but I vol - “love “But I love ui -
“you. I love you!
The mood becomes suddenly softer. She kisses him. They embrace. Then he
Tish-I'm tee. What's that?
Eat my - ah!
Shocked, she strikes at him. At the same moment the music starts in the salon
next door. We hear the opening of the Serenade for Thirteen Wind Instruments, K.
My music! They've started! They've started without me!
He leaps up, disheveled and rumpled and runs out of the room. Salieri watches in
amazement and disgust.
30 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY - 1780's 30
The music is louder. Mozart hastens towards the Grand Salon away from the buf-
fet room, adjusting his dress as he goes.
31 INT. GRAND SALON - DAY - 1780's 31
The opening of the Serenade is being tentatively conducted by the leader of the
wind-musicians. Guests turn around as Mozart appears - bowing to the
Archbishop - and walks with an attempt at dignity to the dais where the wind
band is playing. The leader yields his place to the composer and Mozart smoothly
takes over conducting.
Constanze, deeply embarrassed, sneaks into the room and seats herself at the back.
32 INT. PALACE BUFFET ROOM - DAY - 1780's 32
The music fades down. Salieri stands shocked from his inadvertent eavesdropping.
After a second he moves almost in a trance toward the door; the music dissolves.
33 INT. GRAND SALON - DAY - 1780's 33
Mozart is conducting the Adagio from his Serenade (K. 361), guiding the thirteen
wind instrumentalists. The “squeezebox opening of the movement begins.
Salieri appears at the door at the back of the salon. He stares in disbelief at
So that was he! That giggling, dirty-minded creature I'd just seen
crawling on the floor. Mozart. The phenomenon whose legend
had haunted my youth. Impossible.
The music swells up and Salieri listens to it with eyes closed - amazed, trans-
ported - suddenly engulfed by the sound. Finally it fades down and away and
changes into applause. Salieri opens his eyes.
The audience is clearly delighted. Mozart bows to them, also delighted.
Colloredo rises abruptly, and without looking at Mozart or applauding and leaves
the Salon. Count Arco approaches the composer. Mozart turns to him, radiant.
Follow me, please. The Archbishop would like a word.
He follows Arco out of the room, through a throng of admirers.
34 INT. ANOTHER PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY - 1780's 34
Mozart and Arco walk side by side. They pass Salieri who is staring at Mozart in
fascination. As they disappear, he steals toward the music stands, unable to help
Well, I think that went off remarkably well, don't you?
These Viennese certainly know good music when they hear it.
His Grace is very angry with you.
What do you mean?
They arrive at the door of Colloredo's private apartment.
You are to come in here and ask his pardon.
Arco opens the door.
39 INT. ARCHBISHOP'S PRIVATE ROOM - DAY - 1780's 39
The Archbishop is sitting, chatting to quests. Among them are several ladies. Arco
approaches him obsequiously.
Ah, Mozart. Why?
Why what, sir?
Why do I have to be humiliated in front of my guests by one of
my own servants?
How much provocation am I to endure from you? The more li-
cense I allow you, the more you take.
The company watches this scene, deeply interested.
If His Grace is not satisfied with me, he can dismiss me.
I wish you to return immediately to Salzburg. Your father is
waiting for you there patiently. I will speak to you further when I
No, Your Grace! I mean with all humility, no. I would rather
you dismissed me. It's obvious I don't satisfy.
Then try harder, Mozart. I have no intention of dismissing you.
You will remain in my service and learn your place. Go now.
He extends his hand to be kissed. Mozart does it with a furious grace, then leaves
the room. As he opens the door we see:
40 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY - 1780's 40
A group of people who have attended the concert, among them Constanze, are
standing outside the private apartment. At sight of the composer they break into
sustained applause. Mozart is suddenly delighted. He throws the door wide open
so that the guests can see into the private apartment where the Archbishop sits -
and he can see them. Colloredo is clearly discomfited by this reception of his
employee. He smiles and bows uneasily, as they include him in the small ovation.
Mozart stands in the corridor, out of the Archbishop's line of sight, bowing and
giggling, and encouraging the applause for the Archbishop with conducting ges-
tures. Suddenly irritated, Colloredo signs to Arco, who steps forward and shuts
the door, ending the applause.
41 INT. PALACE GRAND SALON - DAY - 1780's 41
Salieri, in this vast room, is standing and looking at the full score of the Serenade.
He turns the pages back to the slow movement. Instantly, we again hear its lyrical
CU, Salieri, reading the score of the Adagio in helpless fascination. The music is
played against his description of it.
Extraordinary! On the page it looked nothing. The beginning
simple, almost comic. Just a pulse - bassoons and basset horns -
like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly - high above it - an
oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took
over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no
composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I'd never
heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had
me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing a voice of God.
Suddenly the music snaps off. Mozart stands before him as he lays down the
He takes the score, bows, and struts briskly out of the room. Salieri stares uncom-
prehendingly after the jaunty little figure.
41A INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 41A
Why? Would God choose an obscene child to be His instrument?
It was not to be believed! This piece had to be an accident. It
had to be!
42 INT. PALACE DINING ROOM - DAY - 1780's 42
At the table sits the EMPEROR JOSEPH II, eating his frugal dinner and sipping
goat's milk. He is an intelligent, dapper man of forty, wearing a military uniform.
Around him but standing, are his Chamberlain, JOHANN VON STRACK: stiff
and highly correct. COUNT ORSINI-ROSENBERG: a corpulent man of sixty,
highly conscious of his position as Director of the Opera. BARON VON
SWIETEN, the Imperial Librarian: a grave but kindly and educated man in his
mid-fifties. FIRST KAPELLMEISTER GIUSEPPE BONNO: very Italian,
cringing and time-serving, aged about seventy. And Salieri, wearing decorous
black, as usual.
At a side-table, two Imperial secretaries, using quill pens and inkstands, write down
everything of importance that is said.
How good is he, this Mozart?
He's remarkable, Majesty. I heard an extraordinary serious opera
of his last month. Idomeneo, King of Crete.
That? A most tiresome piece. I heard it, too.
A young man trying to impress beyond his abilities. Too much
spice. Too many notes.
Majesty, I thought it the most promising work I've heard in years.
Ah-ha. Well then, we should make some effort to acquire him.
We could use a good German composer in Vienna, surely?
I agree, Majesty, but I'm afraid it's not possible. The young man
is still in the pay of the Archbishop.
Very small pay, I imagine. I'm sure he could be tempted with the
right offer. Say, an opera in German for our National Theatre.
But not German, I beg your Majesty! Italian is the proper lan-
guage for opera. All educated people agree on that.
Ah-ha. What do you say, Chamberlain?
In my opinion, it is time we had a piece in our own language, sir.
Plain German. For plain people.
He looks defiantly at Orsini-Rosenberg.
Majesty, I must agree with Herr Dirretore. Opera is an Italian
art, solamente. German is - scusate - too bruta for singing, too
Ah-ha. Court Composer, what do you say?
I think it is an interesting notion to keep Mozart in Vienna,
Majesty. It should really infuriate the Archbishop beyond mea-
sure - if that is your Majesty's intention.
You are cattivo, Court Composer. (briskly, to Von Strack) I want
to meet this young man. Chamberlain, arrange a pleasant wel-
come for him.
Well. There it is.
43 INT. BEDROOM IN SALIERI'S APARTMENT - DAY - 1780's 43
A somber room which serves both as a bedroom and a study. We see a four-poster
bed. Also, a marble mantelpiece above which hangs a handsome cross in olive-
wood, bearing the figure of a severe Christ. Opposite this image sits Salieri at his
desk, on which stands a pile of music paper, quill pens and ink. On one side of
him is an open forte-piano on which he occasionally tries notes from the march he
is composing, with some difficulty. He scratches notes out with his quill, and ruf-
fles his hair - which we see without a powdered wig. There is a knock at the door.
A servant admits LORL, a young lower-class girl, who appears carrying a basket in
which is a box covered with a napkin. She has just come from the baker's shop.
Ah! Here she comes. Fraülein Lorl, good morning.
Good morning, sir.
What have you got for me today? Let me see.
Greedily he unwraps the napkin and lifts the lid on the box.
Ah-ha! Siena macaroons - my favourites. Give my best thanks
to the baker.
I will, sir.
He takes a biscuit and eats.
Thank you. Are you well today, Fraülein Lorl?
Yes, thank you, sir.
She gives a little curtsey, flattered and giggling and is shown out. Salieri turns back
to his work, chewing. He plays through a complete line of the march. He smiles,
pleased with the result.
He inclines his head to the Christ above the fireplace, and starts to play the whole
march, including the phrase which pleased him.
44 INT. A WIGMAKER'S SHOP - VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 44
The march continues on the forte-piano as we see Mozart, seated in front of a mir-
ror, wearing an extravagant wig. On either side of him stands a SALESMAN, one
of them holding another wig, equally extravagant. Mozart takes off the first wig,
to reveal his own blonde hair, of which he is extremely proud, and hands it back.
And the other one?
The Salesman puts the second wig on his head. Mozart pulls a face of doubt in the
And the other one?
He takes it off and the other Salesman replaces it with the first wig on his head.
Oh, they're both so beautiful, I can't decide. Why don't I have
He giggles. The music stops.
45 INT. GRAND SALON - THE ROYAL PALACE - DAY - 1780's 45
A door opens. We glimpse in the next room the Emperor Joseph bidding goodbye
to a group of military officers standing around a table.
Good, good, good.
He turns and comes into the salon, where another group awaits him. It consists of
Von Strack, Orsini-Rosenberg, Bonno, Von Swieten and Salieri. The room con-
tains several gilded chairs dotted about, and a forte-piano.
Good morning, gentlemen.
All bow and say, “Good morning, Your Majesty!
(to Von Strack)
Well, what do you have for me today?
Your Majesty, Herr Mozart -
Yes, what about him?
Ah-ha. Well. There it is. Good.
Majesty, I hope you won't think it improper, but I have written a
little March of Welcome in his honour.
He produces a paper.
What a charming idea. May I see?
(handing it over)
It's just a trifle, of course.
May I try it?
The Emperor goes to the instrument, sits and plays the first bars of it. Quite well.
Delightful, Court Composer. Would you permit me to play it as
he comes in?
You do me too much honour, Sire.
Let's have some fun. (to the waiting Majordomo) Bring in Herr
Mozart, please. But slowly, slowly. I need a minute to practice.
The Majordomo bows and goes. The Emperor addresses himself to the march.
He plays a wrong note.
46 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 46
Taking his instructions literally, the Majordomo is marching very slowly toward
the salon door. He is followed by a bewildered Mozart, dressed very stylishly and
wearing one of the wigs from the perruqier.
47 INT. ROYAL PALACE GRAND SALON - DAY - 1780's 47
Joseph finishes the march. The door opens.
Mozart comes in eagerly. Immediately the march begins, played by His Majesty.
All the courtiers stand, listening with admiration. Joseph plays well, but applies
himself fiercely to the manuscript. Mozart, still bewildered, regards the scene, but
does not seem to pay attention to the music itself. It finishes and all clap obse-
Bravo, Your Majesty!
Well done, Sire!
The Emperor rises, pleased with himself. He snatches the manuscript off the stand
and holds it in his hand for the rest of the scene.
Gentlemen, gentlemen, a little less enthusiasm, I beg you. Ah,
He extends his hand. Mozart throws himself to his knees, and to Joseph's discom-
fort kisses the royal hand with fervour.
No, no, please! It is not a holy relic. (raising Mozart up) You know
we have met already? In this very room. Perhaps you won't re-
member it, you were only six years old. (to the others) He was
giving the most brilliant little concert here. As he got off the
stool, he slipped and fell. My sister Antoinette helped him up
herself, and do you know what he did? Jumped straight into her
arms and said, “Will you marry me, yes or no?
Embarrassed, Mozart bursts into a wild giggle. Joseph helps him out.
You know all these gentlemen, I'm sure.
Von Strack and Bonno nod.
The Baron Von Swieten.
I'm a great admirer of yours, young man. Welcome.
Oh, thank you.
The Director of our Opera. Count Orsini-Rosenberg.
Oh sir, yes! The honour is mine. Absolutely.
Orsini-Rosenberg nods without enthusiasm.
And here is our illustrious Court Composer, Herr Salieri.
(taking his hand)
Finally! Such an immense joy. Diletto straordinario!
I know your work well, Signore. Do you know I actually com-
posed some variations on a melody of yours?
Mio caro Adone.
A funny little tune, but it yielded some good things.
And now he has returned the compliment. Herr Salieri composed
that March of Welcome for you.
Really? Oh, grazie, Signore! Sono commosso! E un onore per mo
eccezionale. Compositore brilliante e famossissimo!
He bows elaborately. Salieri inclines himself, dryly.
Well, there it is. Now to business. Young man, we are going to
commission an opera from you. What do you say?
(to the courtiers)
Did we vote in the end for German or Italian?
Well, actually, Sire, if you remember, we did finally incline to
I don't think it was really decided, Director.
Oh, German! German! Please let it be German.
Because I've already found the most wonderful libretto!
Oh? Have I seen it?
I - I don't think you have, Herr Director. Not yet. I mean, it's
quite n - Of course,
I'll show it to you immediately.
I think you'd better.
Well, what is it about? Tell us the story.
It's actually quite amusing, Majesty. It's set - the whole thing is
set in a - in a -
He stops short with a little giggle.
In a! Pasha's Harem, Majesty. A Seraglio.
You mean in Turkey?
Then why especially does it have to be in German?
Well not especially. It can be in Turkish, if you really want. I
He giggles again. Orsini-Rosenberg looks at him sourly.
My dear fellow, the language is not finally the point. Do you
really think that subject is quite appropriate for a national theatre?
Why not? It's charming. I mean, I don't actually show concu-
bines exposing their! their! It's not indecent! (to Joseph) It's
highly moral, Majesty. It's full of proper German virtues. I swear
Well, I'm glad to hear that.
Excuse me, Sire, but what do you think these could be? Being a
foreigner, I would love to learn.
Cattivo again, Court Composer. Well, tell him, Mozart. Name
us a German virtue.
Ah, love! Well of course in Italy we know nothing about that.
The Italian faction - Orsini-Rosenberg and Bonno - laugh discreetly.
No, I don't think you do. I mean watching Italian opera, all those
male sopranos screeching. Stupid fat couples rolling their eyes
about! That's not love - it's just rubbish.
An embarrassed pause. Bonno giggles in nervous amusement.
Majesty, you choose the language. It will be my task to set it to
the finest music ever offered a monarch.
Pause. Joseph is clearly pleased.
Well, there it is. Let it be German.
He nods - he has wanted this result all the time. He turns and makes for the
door. All bow. Then he becomes aware of the manuscript in his hand.
Ah, this is yours.
Mozart does not take it.
Keep it, Sire, if you want to. It is already here in my head.
What? On one hearing only?
I think so, Sire, yes.
Mozart bows and hands the manuscript back to the Emperor. Then he goes to the
forte-piano and seats himself. The others, except for Salieri, gather around the
manuscript held by the King. Mozart plays the first half of the march with deadly
The rest is just the same, isn't it?
He plays the first half again but stops in the middle of a phrase, which he repeats
That really doesn't work, does it?
All the courtiers look at Salieri.
Did you try this? Wouldn't it be just a little more -?
He plays another phrase.
Or this - yes, this! Better.
He plays another phrase. Gradually, he alters the music so that it turns into the
celebrated march to be used later in The Marriage of Figaro, “Non Piu Andrai. He
plays it with increasing abandon and virtuosity. Salieri watches with a fixed smile
on his face. The court watches, astonished. He finishes in great glory, takes his
hands off the keys with a gesture of triumph - and grins.
48 INT. BEDROOM IN SALIERI'S APARTMENT - DAY - 1780's 48
We see the olivewood cross. Salieri is sitting at his desk, staring at it.
There is a knock at the door. He does not hear it, but sits on. Another knock,
Lorl comes in.
Madame Cavalieri is here for her lesson, sir.
He gets up and enters:
49 INT. MUSIC ROOM IN SALIERI'S APARTMENT - DAY - 1780's 49
KATHERINA CAVALIERI, a young, high-spirited soprano of twenty is waiting
for him, dressed in a fashionable dress and wearing on her head an exotic turban of
satin, with a feather. Lorl exits.
(curtseying to him)
(posing, in her turban)
Well? How do you like it? It's Turkish. My hairdresser tells me
everything's going to be Turkish this year!
Really? What else did he tell you today? Give me some gossip.
Well, I heard you met Herr Mozart.
Oh? News travels fast in Vienna.
And he's been commissioned to write an opera. Is it true?
Is there a part for me?
How do you know?
Well even if there is, I don't think you want to get involved with
Well, do you know where it's set, my dear?
In a harem.
A Turkish brothel.
Turkish? Oh, if it's Turkish, that's different. I want to be in it.
My dear, it will hardly enhance your reputation to be celebrated
throughout Vienna as a singing prostitute for a Turk.
He seats himself at the forte-piano.
Oh. Well perhaps you could introduce us anyway.
He plays a chord. She sings a scale, expertly. He strikes another chord. She starts
another scale, then breaks off.
What does he look like?
You might be disappointed.
Looks and talent don't always go together, Katherina.
Looks don't concern me, Maestro. Only talent interests a woman
He strikes the chord again, firmly. Cavalieri sings her next scale, then another one,
and another one, doing her exercises in earnest. As she hits a sustained high note
the orchestral accompaniment in the middle of “Martern Aller Arten from Il
Seraglio comes in underneath and the music changes from exercises to the exceed-
ingly florid aria. We DISSOLVE on the singer's face, and she is suddenly not
merely turbaned, but painted and dressed totally in a Turkish manner, and we are
50 INT. OPERA STAGE - VIENNA - 1780's 50
The heroine of the opera (Cavalieri) is in full cry addressing the Pasha with scorn
The house is full. Watching the performance - which is conducted by Mozart
from the clavier in the midst of the orchestra - we note Von Strack, Orsini-
Rosenberg, Bonno and Von Swieten, all grouped around the Emperor, in a box. In
another box we see an overdressed, middle-aged woman and three girls, one of
whom is Constanze. This is the formidable MADAME WEBER and her three
daughters, Constanze, JOSEFA and SOPHIE. All are enraptured by the spectacle
and Madame Weber is especially enraptured by being there at all. Not so, Salieri,
who sits in another box, coldly watching the stage.
Cavalieri is singing “Martern aller Arten from the line Doch du bist entschlossen.
“Since you are determined,
Since you are determined,
Calmly, with no ferment,
Welcome - every pain and woe.
Bind me then - compel me!
Bind me then - compel me!
Hurt me. Break me! Kill me!
At last I shall be freed by death!
After a few moments of this showy aria, with the composer and the singer staring
at each other - he conducting elaborately for her benefit, and she following his
beat with rapturous eyes - the music fades, and Salieri speaks over it.
There she was. I had no idea where they met - or how - yet
there she stood on stage for all to see. Showing off like the
greedy songbird she was. Ten minutes of ghastly scales and
arpeggios, whizzing up and down like fireworks at a fairground.
Music up again for the last 30 bars of the aria.
Be freed at last by death!
Be freed at last by death!
At last I shall be freed
BEFORE THE ORCHESTRAL CODA ENDS, CUT TO:
51 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 51
Through the window we see that night has fallen.
Understand, I was in love with the girl. Or at least in lust. I was-
n't a saint. It took me the most tremendous effort to be faithful
to my vow. I swear to you I never laid a finger on her. All the
same, I couldn't bear to think of anyone else touching her - least
of all the Creature.
CUT BACK TO:
52 INT. THE OPERA HOUSE - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 52
The brilliant Turkish finale of Seraglio bursts over us. All the cast is lined up on
stage. Mozart is conducting with happy excitement.
CAST OF SERAGLIO
Ever, ever, ever, ever!
Honour to his regal name!
Honour to his regal name!
May his noble brow emblazon
Glory, fortune, joy and fame!
Honour be to Pasha Selim
Honour to his regal name!
Honour to his regal name!
The curtains fall. Much applause. The Emperor claps vigorously and - following
his lead - so do the courtiers. The curtains part. Mozart applauds the singers who
applaud him back. He skips up onto the stage amongst them. The curtains fall
again as they all bow. In the auditorium, the chandeliers descend, filling it with
53 INT. OPERA HOUSE STAGE - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 53
The curtains are down, and an excited hubbub of singers in costume surround
Mozart and Cavalieri, all excited and chattering. Suddenly a hush. The Emperor
is seen approaching from the wings, lit by flunkies holding candles. Von Strack,
Orsini-Rosenberg and Von Swieten, amongst others, follow him. Also Salieri. The
singers line up. Joseph stops at Cavalieri who makes a deep curtsey.
Bravo, Madame. You are an ornament to our stage.
And to you, Court Composer. Your pupil has done you great
54 INT. BACKSTAGE CORRIDOR - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 54
Let us pass, please! Let us pass at once! We're with the Emperor.
I am sorry, Madame. It is not permitted.
Do you know who I am? (pointing to Constanze) This is my
daughter. I am Frau Weber. We are favoured guests!
I am sorry, Madame, but I have my orders.
Call Herr Mozart! You call Herr Mozart immediately! This is
Go ahead, Constanze. Just ignore this fellow. (pushing her) Go
(barring the way)
I am sorry, Madame, but no! I cannot let anyone pass.
Young man, I am no stranger to theatres. I'm no stranger to
CUT BACK TO:
55 INT. OPERA HOUSE STAGE - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 55
All are applauding Cavalieri. The Emperor turns to Mozart.
Well, Herr Mozart! A good effort. Decidedly that. An excellent
effort! You've shown us something quite new today.
Mozart bows frantically: he is over-excited.
It is new, it is, isn't it, Sire?
Oh, yes. Absolutely. German. Unquestionably!
So then you like it? You really like it, Your Majesty?
Of course I do. It's very good. Of course now and then - just
now and then - it gets a touch elaborate.
What do you mean, Sire?
Well, I mean occasionally it seems to have, how shall one say? (he
stops in difficulty; to Orsini-Rosenberg) How shall one say,
Too many notes, Your Majesty?
Exactly. Very well put. Too many notes.
I don't understand. There are just as many notes, Majesty, as are
required. Neither more nor less.
My dear fellow, there are in fact only so many notes the ear can
hear in the course of an evening. I think I'm right in saying that,
aren't I, Court Composer?
Yes! yes! er, on the whole, yes, Majesty.
But this is absurd!
My dear, young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is inge-
nious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes,
that's all. Cut a few and it will be perfect.
Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?
Pause. General embarrassment.
Well. There it is.
Into this uncomfortable scene bursts a sudden eruption of noise and Madame
Weber floods onto the stage, followed by her daughters. All turn to look at this
Wolfi! Wolfi, my dear!
She moves toward Mozart with arms outstretched in an absurd theatrical gesture,
then sees the Emperor. She stares at him, mesmerized, her mouth open, unable
even to curtsey.
Mozart moves forward quickly.
Majesty, this is Madame Weber. She is my landlady.
Oh, Sire! such an honour! And, and, and these are my dear
daughters. This is Constanze. She is the fiancee of Herr Mozart.
Constanze curtsies. CU, of Cavalieri, astonished at the news. CU, of Salieri,
watching her receive it.
Really? How delightful. May I ask when you marry?
Well - Well we haven't quite received my father's consent, Your
Majesty. Not entirely. Not altogether.
He giggles uncomfortably.
Excuse me, but how old are you?
Well, my advice is to marry this charming young lady and stay
with us in Vienna.
You see? You see? I've told him that, Your Majesty, but he won't
listen to me.
Cavalieri is glaring at Mozart. Mozart looks hastily away from her.
Oh, Your Majesty, you give such wonderful - such impeccable -
such royal advice. I - I - May I?
She attempts to kiss the royal hand, but faints instead. The Emperor contemplates
her prone body and steps back a pace.
Well. There it is. Strack.
He nods pleasantly to all and leaves the stage, with his Chamberlain. All bow.
Cavalieri turns with a savage look at Mozart and leaves the stage the opposite way,
to her dressing room, tossing her plumed head. Salieri watches. Mozart stays for a
second, indecisive whether to follow the soprano or help Madame Weber.
Get some water!
He hurries away. The daughters gather around Madame Weber.
56 INT. CAVALIERI'S DRESSING ROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 56
Katherina sits fuming at her mirror. A dresser is taking the pins out of her wig as
she stares straight ahead of her. Mozart sticks his head round the door.
Katherina! I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to write
another aria for you. Something even more amazing for the sec-
ond act. I have to get some water. Her mother is lying on the
I'll be right back.
He dashes off.
57 INT. OPERA HOUSE STAGE - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 57
Constanze and Mozart make their way quickly through a crowd of actors in tur-
bans and caftans, and stagehands carrying bits of the dismantled set of Seraglio.
We see all the turmoil of backstage after a performance. A fireman passes Mozart
carrying a small bucket of water. Mozart snatches it from him and pushes his way
through the crowd to Madame Weber, who still lies prone on the stage. Mozart
pushes through the crowd surrounding her and throws water on her face. She is in-
stantly revived by the shock. Constanze assists her to rise.
Are you all right?
Instead of being furious, Madame Weber smiles at them rapturously.
Ah, what an evening! What a wise man we have for an Emperor.
Oh, my children! (with sudden, hard briskness) Now I want you to
write your father exactly what His Majesty said.
The activity continues to swirl around them.
You should really go home now, Frau Weber. Your carriage must
But aren't you taking us?
I have to talk to the singers.
That's all right; we'll wait for you. Just don't take all night.
59 INT. CAVALIERI'S DRESSING ROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 59
Cavalieri, still in costume, is marching up and down, very agitated.
Did you know? Had you heard?
Well, what does it matter to you?
Nothing! He can marry who he pleases. I don't give a damn.
She catches him looking at her and tries to compose herself.
How was I? Tell me honestly.
You were sublime.
What did you think of the music?
Meaning you didn't like it.
Mozart comes in unexpectedly.
Oh - excuse me!
Is her mother still lying on the floor?
No, she's fine.
I'm so relieved.
She seats herself at her mirror and removes her wig.
Dear Mozart, my sincere congratulations.
Did you like it, then?
How could I not?
It really is the best music one can hear in Vienna today. Don't
Is she a good fuck?
I assume she's the virtuoso in that department. There can't be any
other reason you'd marry someone like that.
Salieri looks astonished. There is a knock on the door.
The door opens. Constanze enters.
Excuse me, Wolfi. Mama is not feeling very well. Can we leave
No, no, no, no. You can't take him away now. This is his night.
Won't you introduce us, Wolfgang?
Excuse us, Fraülein. Good night, Signore.
Mozart hurries Constanze out of the door. Cavalieri looks after them as they go,
her voice breaking and rising out of control.
You really are full of surprises, aren't you? You are quite extraor-
dinary, you little shit!
She turns and collapses, crying with rage, into Salieri's arms. We focus on him.
At that moment I knew beyond any doubt. He'd had her. The
Creature had had my darling girl.
60 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1820's 60
The old man speaks passionately to the priest.
It was incomprehensible. What was God up to? Here I was
denying all my natural lust in order to deserve God's gift and
there was Mozart indulging his in all directions - even though
engaged to be married! - and no rebuke at all! Was it possible I
was being tested? Was God expecting me to offer forgiveness in
the face of every offense, no matter how painful? That was very
possible. All the same, why him? Why use Mozart to teach me
lessons in humility? My heart was filling up with such hatred for
that little man. For the first time in my life I began to know re-
ally violent thoughts. I couldn't stop them.
Did you try?
Every day. Sometimes for hours I would pray!
61 INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAY - 1780's 61
The young Salieri is kneeling in desperation before the Cross.
Please! Please! Send him away, back to Salzburg. For his sake as
well as mine.
CU, Christ staring from the Cross.
CUT BACK TO:
62 INT. AUDIENCE HALL - ARCHBISHOP'S PALACE - SALZBURG - 62
DAY - 1780's
We see Leopold kneeling now not to the Cross but to Archbishop Colloredo, sit-
ting impassively on his throne. Count Arco stands beside him. Leopold is a des-
perate, once-handsome man of sixty, now far too much the subservient courtier.
No! I won't have him back.
But he needs to be here in Salzburg, Your Grace. He needs me
and he needs you. Your protection, your understanding.
Oh sir, yes! He's about to make the worst mistake of his life.
Some little Viennese slut is trying to trick him into marriage. I
know my son. He is too simple to see the trap - and there is no
one there who really cares for him.
I'm not surprised. Money seems to be more important to him
than loyalty or friendship. He has sold himself to Vienna. Let
Vienna look out for him.
Your son is an unprincipled, spoiled, conceited brat.
Yes, sir, that's the truth. But don't blame him. The fault is mine.
I was too indulgent with him. But not again. Never again, I
promise! I implore you - let me bring him back here. I'll make
him give his word to serve you faithfully.
And how will you make him keep it?
Oh, sir, he's never disobeyed me in anything. Please, Your Grace,
give him one more chance.
You have leave to try.
Oh, Your Grace - I thank Your Grace! I thank you!
In deepest gratitude he kisses the Archbishop's hand. He motions Leopold to rise.
We hear the first dark fortissimo chord which begins the Overture to Don
Giovanni: the theme associated with the character of the Commendatore.
My dear son.
The second fortissimo chord sounds.
63 INT. A BAROQUE CHURCH - DAY - 1780's 63
We see a huge CU, of Mozart's head, looking front and down, as if reading his fa-
ther's letter. We hear Leopold's voice over this image, no longer whining and
anxious, but impressive.
I write to you with urgent news. I am coming to Vienna. Take
no further steps toward marriage until we meet. You are too
gullible to see your own danger. As you honour the father who
has devoted his entire life to yours, do as I bid, and await my
The camera pulls back to see that he is in fact kneeling beside Constanze. A
PRIEST faces them. Behind them are Madame Weber, Josefa and Sophie Weber,
and a very few others. Among them, a merry looking lady in bright clothes: the
And will you, Constanze Weber, take this man, Wolfgang to be
your lawful husband?
I now pronounce you man and wife.
The opening kyrie of the great Mass in C Minor is heard. Mozart and Constanze
kiss. They are in tears. Madame Weber and her daughters look on approvingly.
The music swells and continues under the following:
64 INT. A ROOM IN LEOPOLD'S HOUSE - SALZBURG - NIGHT - 1780's 64
There is a view of a castle in background. Leopold sits alone in his room. He is
reading a letter from Wolfgang. At his feet are his trunks, half-packed for the
journey he will not now take. We hear Mozart's voice reading the following letter
and we see, as the camera roves around the room, mementos of the young prodi-
gy's early life: the little forte-piano made for him; the little violin made for him; an
Order presented to him. We see a little starling in a wicker cage. And we see por-
traits of the boy on the walls, concluding with the familiar family portrait of
Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl seated at the keyboard with Leopold standing,
and the picture of their mother on the wall behind them.
Most beloved father, it is done. Do not blame me that I did not
wait to see your dear face. I knew you would have tried to dis-
suade me from my truest happiness and I could not have borne it.
Your every word is precious to me. Remember how you have al-
ways told me Vienna is the City of Musicians. To conquer here is
to conquer Europe! With my wife I can do it. I vow I will be-
come regular in my habits and productive as never before. She is
wonderful, Papa, and I know that you will love her. And one day
soon when I am a wealthy man, you will come and live with us,
and we will be so happy. I long for that day, best of Papas, and
kiss your hand a hundred thousand times.
The music of the Mass fades as Leopold crumples the letter in his hand.
65 EXT. THE IMPERIAL GARDENS - VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 65
Salieri stands waiting, hat in hand. Beside him stands a royal servant. Behind him,
gardeners are glimpsed tending the shrubs and bushes along a grassy ride. Down
this ride are seen cantering two people on horseback: the Emperor Joseph and his
niece, the PRINCESS ELIZABETH. They are mounted on glossy horses. The
Princess rides side-saddle. Running beside her is a panting groom. The Emperor
rides elegantly; his niece, a dumpy little Hapsburg girl of sixteen, like a sack of
potatoes. As they draw level with Salieri they stop, and the groom holds the head
of the Princess' horse. Salieri bows respectfully.
Good morning, Court Composer. This is my niece, the Princess
Out of breath, the Princess nods nervously.
She has asked me to advise her on a suitable musical instructor. I
think I've come up with an excellent idea.
He smiles at Salieri.
Oh, Your Majesty, it would be such a tremendous honour!
I'm thinking about Herr Mozart. What is your view?
Salieri's face falls, almost imperceptibly.
An interesting idea, Majesty. But -
You already commissioned an opera from Mozart.
And the result satisfies.
Yes, of course. My concern is to protect you from any suspicion
Ah-ha. Favouritism. But I so want Mozart.
I'm sure there is a way, Majesty. Some kind of a little contest. I
could perhaps put together a small Committee, and I could see to
it naturally that it will select according to Your Majesty's wishes.
You please me, Court Composer. A very clever idea.
Well. There it is.
He rides on. The groom releases her horse's head, and runs on after the Princess.
66 INT. CHAMBERLAIN VON STRACK'S STUDY - DAY - 1780's 66
Von Strack sits stiffly behind his gilded desk. Mozart stands before him, trem-
bling with anger.
What is this, Herr Chamberlain?
What is what?
Why do I have to submit samples of my work to some stupid
committee? Just to teach a sixteen-year-old girl.
Because His Majesty wishes it.
Is the Emperor angry with me?
On the contrary.
Then why doesn't he simply appoint me to the post?
Mozart, you are not the only composer in Vienna.
No, but I'm the best.
A little modesty would suit you better.
Who is on this committee?
Kapellmeister Bonno, Count Orsini-Rosenberg and Court
Naturally, the Italians! Of course! Always the Italians!
They hate my music. It terrifies them. The only sound Italians
understand is banality. Tonic and dominant, tonic and domi-
nant, from here to Resurrection! (singing angrily) Ba-ba! Ba-ba!
Ba-ba! Ba-ba! Anything else is morbid.
Show them one interesting modulation and they faint. “Ohime!
Morbidezza! Morbidezza! Italians are musical idiots and you
want them to judge my music!
Look, young man, the issue is simple. If you want this post, you
must submit your stuff in the same way as all your colleagues.
Must I? Well, I won't! I tell you straight: I will not!
67 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 67
The room is very small and untidy. Constanze is marching up and down it, upset.
Mozart is lying on the bed.
I think you're mad! You're really mad!
Oh, leave me alone.
One royal pupil and the whole of Vienna will come flocking.
We'd be set up for life!
They'll come anyway. They love me here.
No, they will not. I know how things work in this city.
Oh yes? You always know everything.
Well, I'm not borrowing any more money from my mother, and
You borrowed money from your mother?
Well, don't do that again!
How are we going to live, Wolfi? Do you want me to go into the
streets and beg?
Don't be stupid.
All they want to see is your work. What's wrong with that?
Shut up! Just shut up! I don't need them.
This isn't pride. It's sheer stupidity!
She glares at him, almost in tears.
67A INT. SALIERI'S MUSIC ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON - 1780's 67A
Salieri is giving a lesson to a girl student, who is singing the Italian art song, Caro
There is a knock on the door.
A SERVANT enters.
Excuse me, sir, there is a lady who insists on talking to you.
Who is she?
She didn't say. But she says it's urgent.
(to the pupil)
Excuse me, my dear.
Salieri goes into the salon.
68 INT. THE SALON - LATE AFTERNOON - 1780's 68
Constanze stands, closely veiled, holding a portfolio stuffed with manuscripts.
The singing lesson ends, with two chords on the instrument. Salieri enters the sa-
lon. Constanze drops him a shy curtsey.
Madame. How can I help you?
Shyly, she unveils.
That's right, Your Excellency. I've come on behalf of my hus-
band. I'm - I'm bringing some samples of his work so he can be
considered for the royal appointment.
How charming. But why did he not come himself?
He's terribly busy, sir.
He takes the portfolio and puts it on a table.
I will look at them, of course, the moment I can. It will be an
honour. Please give him my warmest.
Would it be too much trouble, sir, to ask you to look at them
now? While I wait.
I'm afraid I'm not at leisure this very moment. Just leave them
with me. I assure you they will be quite safe.
I - I really cannot do that, Your Excellency. You see, he doesn't
know I'm here.
My husband is a proud man, sir. He would be furious if he knew
Then he didn't send you?
No, sir. This is my own idea.
Sir, we really need this job. We're desperate. My husband spends
far more than he can ever earn. I don't mean he's lazy - he's not
at all - he works all day long. It's just! he's not practical.
Money simply slips through his fingers, it's really ridiculous, Your
Excellency. I know you help musicians. You're famous for it.
Give him just this one post. We'd be forever indebted!
A short pause.
Let me offer you some refreshment. Do you know what these
He indicates a dish piled high with glazed chestnuts.
Cappezzoli di Venere. Nipples of Venus. Roman chestnuts in
brandied sugar. Won't you try one? They're quite surprising.
He offers her the dish. She takes one and puts it in her mouth. He watches
Oh! They're wonderful.
He takes one himself. We notice on his finger a heavy gold signet-ring.
Thank you very much, Your Excellency.
Don't keep calling me that. It puts me at such a distance. I was
not born a Court Composer, you know. I'm from a small town,
just like your husband.
He smiles at her. She takes another chestnut.
Are you sure you can't leave that music, and come back again? I
have other things you might like.
That's very tempting, but it's impossible, I'm afraid. Wolfi
would be frantic if he found those were missing. You see, they're
A pause. He puts out his hand and takes up the portfolio from the table. He
opens it. He looks at the music. He is puzzled.
These are originals?
Yes, sir. He doesn't make copies.
69 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 69
The old man faces the Priest.
Astounding! It was actually beyond belief. These were first and
only drafts of music yet they showed no corrections of any kind.
Not one. Do you realize what that meant?
Vogler stares at him.
He'd simply put down music already finished in his head. Page
after page of it, as if he was just taking dictation. And music fin-
ished as no music is ever finished.
70 INT. SALIERI'S SALON - LATE AFTERNOON - 1780's 70
CU, The manuscript in Mozart's handwriting. The music begins to sound under
Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace
one phrase, and the structure would fall. It was clear to me. That
sound I had heard in the Archbishop's palace had been no acci-
dent. Here again was the very voice of God! I was staring
through the cage of those meticulous ink-strokes at an absolute,
The music swells. What we now hear is an amazing collage of great passages from
Mozart's music, ravishing to Salieri and to us. The Court Composer, oblivious to
Constanze, who sits happily chewing chestnuts, her mouth covered in sugar, walks
around and around his salon, reading the pages and dropping them on the floor
when he is done with them. We see his agonized and wondering face: he shudders
as if in a rough and tumbling sea; he experiences the point where beauty and great
pain coalesce. More pages fall than he can read, scattering across the floor in a
white cascade, as he circles the room.
Finally, we hear the tremendous “Qui Tollis from the Mass in C Minor. It seems
to break over him like a wave and, unable to bear any more of it, he slams the port-
folio shut. Instantly, the music breaks off, reverberating in his head. He stands
shaking, staring wildly. Constanze gets up, perplexed.
Is it no good?
It is miraculous.
Oh yes. He's really proud of his work.
So, will you help him?
Salieri tries to recover himself.
Tomorrow night I dine with the Emperor. One word from me
and the post is his.
Oh, thank you, sir!
Overjoyed, she stops and kisses his hand. He raises her - and then clasps her to
him clumsily. She pushes herself away.
Come back tonight.
Some service deserves service in return. No?
What do you mean?
Isn't it obvious?
They stare at one another: Constanze in total disbelief.
It's a post all Vienna seeks. If you want it for your husband, come
But! I'm a married woman!
Then don't. It's up to you. Not to be vague, that is the price.
He glares at her.
He rings a silver bell for a servant and abruptly leaves the roam. Constanze stares
after him, horrified.
The servant enters. Shocked and stunned, Constanze goes down an her knees and
starts picking up the music from the floor.
71 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 71
CU, Father Vogler, horrified.
Yes, Father. Yes! So much for my vow of chastity. What did it
matter? Good, patient, hard-working, chaste - what did it mat-
ter? Had goodness made me a good composer? I realized it ab-
solutely then - that moment: goodness is nothing in the furnace
of art. And I was nothing to God.
You cannot say that!
No? Was Mozart a good man?
God's ways are not yours. And you are not here to question Him.
Offer him the salt of penitence. He will give you back the bread
of eternal life. He is all merciful. That is all you need to know.
All I ever wanted was to sing to Him. That's His doing, isn't it?
He gave me that longing - then made me mute. Why? Tell me
that. If He didn't want me to serve Him with music, why im-
plant the desire, like a lust in my body, then deny me the talent?
Go on, tell me! Speak for Him!
My son, no one can speak for God.
Oh? I thought you did so every day. So speak now. Answer me!
I do not claim to unravel the mysteries. I treasure them. As you
Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Always the same stale answers!
(intimately to the priest) There is no God of Mercy, Father. Just a
God of torture.
72 INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 72
Salieri sits at his desk, staring up at the cross.
Evening came to that room. I sat there not knowing whether the
girl would return or not. I prayed as I'd never prayed before.
Dear God, enter me now. Fill me with one piece of true music.
One piece with your breath in it, so I know that you love me.
Please. Just one. Show me one sign of your favour, and I will
show mine to Mozart and his wife. I will get him the royal posi-
tion, and if she comes, I'll receive her with all respect and send her
home in joy. Enter me! Enter me! Please! Te imploro.
A long, long silence. Salieri stares at the cross. Christ stares back at him impas-
sively. Finally in this silence we hear a faint knocking at the door. Salieri stirs him-
self. A servant appears.
That lady is back, sir.
Show her in. Then go to bed.
The Servant bows and leaves. We follow him through:
73 INT. MUSIC ROOM IN SALIERI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT - 1780's 73
The Servant crosses it and enters:
74 INT. SALON IN SALIERI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT - 1780's 74
Constanze is sitting on an upright chair, veiled as before, the portfolio of music on
her lap. Through the far door leading from the hall, another servant is peering at
her. The first servant joins him and shuts the door on the girl, leaving her alone.
We stay with her. The clock ticks on the mantelpiece. We hear an old carriage
pass in the street below. Nervously she lifts her veil and looks about her.
Suddenly Salieri appears from the music room. He is pale and very tight. They
regard each other. She smiles and rises to greet him, affecting a relaxed and warm
manner, as if to put him at his ease.
Well, I'm here. My husband has gone to a concert. He didn't
think I would enjoy it.
I do apologize for this afternoon. I behaved like a silly girl.
Where shall we go?
Should we stay here? It's a charming room. I love these candle-
sticks. Were they here earlier? I didn't notice them I suppose I
was too nervous.
As she talks, she extinguishes the candles in a pair of Venetian candelabra and sub-
sequently other candles around the room.
Wolfgang was given some candlesticks by King George in
England, but they were only wood. Oh, excuse me. Let's not
talk about him. What do you think of this? It's real lace.
She turns and takes off her shawl.
Well, it's much too good for every day. I keep saying to Wolfi,
“don't be so extravagant. Presents are lovely, but we can't afford
them. It doesn't do any good. The more I tell him, the more he
spends. Oh, excuse me! There I go again.
She picks up the portfolio.
Do you still want to look at this? Or don't we need to bother
anymore? I imagine we don't, really.
She looks at him inquiringly, and drops the portfolio on the floor; pages of music
pour out of it. Instantly we hear a massive chord, and the great “Qui Tollis from
the Mass in C Minor fills the room. To its grand and weighty sound, Constanze
starts to undress, watched by the horrified Salieri. Between him and her, music is
an active presence, hurting and baffling him. He opens his mouth in distress. The
music pounds in his head. The candle flickers over her as she removes her clothes
and prepares for his embrace. Suddenly he cries out.
Go! Go! Go!
He snatches up the bell and shakes it frantically, not stopping until the two servants
we saw earlier appear at the door. The music stops abruptly. They stare at the ap-
palled and frightened Constanze, who is desperately trying to cover her nakedness.
Show this woman out!
Constanze hurls herself at him.
You shit! You shit! You rotten shit!
He seizes her wrists and thrusts her back. Then he leaves the room quickly, slam-
ming the door behind him. Constanze turns and sees the two servants goggling at
her in the room.
What are you staring at?
Wildly, she picks up the candelabrum and throws it at them. It shatters on the
75 INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 75
CU, Salieri standing, his eyes shut, shaking in distress. He opens them and sees
Christ across the room, staring at him from the wall.
From now on, we are enemies, You and I!
76 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 76
The old man is reliving the experience. Vogler looks at him, horrified.
Because You will not enter me, with all my need for you; because
You scorn my attempts at virtue; because You choose for Your in-
strument a boastful, lustful, smutty infantile boy and give me for
reward only the ability to recognize the Incarnation; because You
are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You! I swear it! I will hin-
der and harm Your creature on earth as far as I am able. I will
ruin Your Incarnation.
CUT BACK TO:
76A INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 76A
CU, the fireplace. In it lies the olive wood Christ on the cross, burning.
What use after all is Man, if not to teach God His lessons?
The cross flames up and disintegrates. Salieri stares at it.
77 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 77
The front door bursts open. Mozart stumbles in, followed by EMMANUEL
SCHIKANEDER, three young actresses, and another man, all fairly drunk.
Schikaneder (who appears everywhere accompanied by young girls) is a large,
fleshy, extravagant man of about thirty-five.
Stanzi! Stanzi! Stanzi-Manzi!
The others laugh.
Sssh! Stay here.
He walks unsteadily to the bedroom door and opens it.
(to the girls, very tipsy)
Sssh! You're dishgrashful!
78 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 78
Constanze lies in bed, her back turned to her husband, who comes into the room
and shuts the door.
Stanzi? How's my mouse? Mouse-wouse? I'm back - puss-wuss
She turns around abruptly. She looks dreadful; her eyes red with weeping. Mozart
He approaches the bed and sits on it. Immediately she starts crying again,
What's the matter? What is it? Stanzi!
He holds her and she clings to him in a fierce embrace, crying a flood of tears.
Stop it now. Stop it. I've brought some friends to meet you.
They're next door waiting. Do we have anything to eat? They're
Tell them to go away. I don't want to see anybody.
What's the matter with you?
Tell them to go!
Sssh. What is it? Tell me.
I love you! I love you!
She starts crying again, throwing her arms around his neck.
I love you. Please stay with me. I'm frightened.
81 INT. THE ROYAL PALACE - DINING ROOM - DAY - 1780's 81
Joseph sits eating. A butler serves him goat's milk to drink. Joseph is holding a
memorandum from Salieri in his hand. Salieri stands before him.
I don't think you understand me, Court Composer.
Majesty, I did. Believe me, it was a most agonizing. decision.
But finally, I simply could not recommend Herr Mozart.
Well, Sire, I made some inquiries in a routine way. I was curious
to know why he had so few pupils. It is rather alarming.
With a gesture Joseph dismisses the butler, who bows and leaves the room.
Majesty, I don't like to talk against a fellow musician.
Of course not.
I have to tell you, Mozart is not entirely to be trusted alone with
As a matter of fact, one of my own pupils - a very young
singer - told me she was - er - well!
Molested, Majesty. Twice, in the course of the same lesson.
Ah-ha. Well. There it is.
81A INT. SALIERI'S HOUSE - STAIRCASE - VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 81A
Salieri has just returned from the palace and is coming up the staircase. He is met
by his servant.
Sir, there is a Herr Mozart waiting for you in the salon.
Salieri is plainly alarmed.
What does he want?
He didn't say, sir. I told him I didn't know when you would be
back, but he insisted on waiting.
Come with me. And stay in the room.
He mounts the stairs.
82 INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - SALON - DAY - 1780's 82
Mozart is waiting for Salieri, holding a portfolio. Salieri approaches him nervously.
Mozart stands not belligerently, but humbly.
Herr Mozart, what brings you here?
Your Excellency, you requested some specimens of my work.
Here they are. I don't have to tell you how much I need your
help. I truly appreciate your looking at these. I have pressures on
me - financial pressures. As you know, I'm a married man now.
So you are. How is your pretty wife?
She is well. She is - well, actually, I'm about to become a father!
She only told me last night. You are the first to know.
I'm flattered. And congratulations to you, of course.
So you see, this post is very important to me right now.
Salieri looks at him in distress.
Why didn't you come to me yesterday, Mozart? This is a most
painful situation. Yesterday I could have helped you. Today, I
Why? Here is the music. It's here. I am submitting it humbly.
Isn't that what you wanted?
I have just come from the palace. The post has been filled.
Filled? That's impossible! They haven't even seen my work. I
need this post. Please, can't you help me? Please!
My dear Mozart, there is no one in the world I would rather help,
but now it is too late.
Whom did they choose?
Sommer? Herr Sommer? But the man's a fool! He's a total
No, no, no: he has yet to achieve mediocrity.
But I can't lose this post, I simply can't! Excellency, please. Let's
go to the palace, and you can explain to the Emperor that Herr
Sommer is an awful choice. He could actually do musical harm
to the Princess!
An implausible idea. Between you and me, no one in the world
could do musical harm to the Princess Elizabeth.
Mozart chuckles delightedly. Salieri offers him a glass of white dessert and a
spoon. Mozart takes it absently and goes on talking.
Look, I must have pupils. Without pupils I can't manage.
You don't mean to tell me you are living in poverty?
No, but I'm broke. I'm always broke. I don't know why.
It has been said, my friend, that you are inclined to live somewhat
above your means.
How can anyone say that? We have no cock, no maid. We have
no footman. Nothing at all!
How is that possible? You give concerts, don't you? I hear they
are quite successful.
They're stupendously successful. You can't get a seat. The only
problem is none will hire me. They all want to hear me play, but
they won't let me teach their daughters. As if I was some kind of
fiend. I'm not a fiend!
Of course not.
Do you have a daughter?
I'm afraid not.
Well, could you lend me some money till you have one? Then I'll
teach her for free. That's a promise. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm being
silly. Papa's right - I should put a padlock on my mouth.
Seriously, is there any chance you could manage a loan? Only for
six months, eight at most. After that I'll be the richest man in
Vienna. I'll pay you back double. Anything. Name your terms.
I'm not joking. I'm working on something that's going to ex-
plode like a bomb all over Europe!
Ah, how exciting! Tell me more.
I'd better not. It's a bit of a secret.
Come, come, Mozart; I'm interested. Truly.
Actually, it's a big secret. Oh, this is delicious! What is it?
Cream cheese mixed with granulated sugar and suffused with
rum. Crema al Mascarpone.
Forgive me. We all have patriotic feelings of some kind.
Two thousand, two hundred florins is all I need A hundred?
What exactly are you working on?
I can't say. Really
I don't think you should become known in Vienna as a debtor,
Mozart. However, I know a very distinguished gentleman I could
recommend to you. And he has a daughter. Will that do?
84 INT. MICHAEL SCHLUMBERG'S HOUSE - MORNING - 1780's 84
Hysterical barking and howling. The hall is full of dogs, at least five, all jumping
up and dashing about and making a terrific racket. Mozart, dandified in a new
coat and a plumed hat for the occasion, has arrived to teach at the house of a pros-
perous merchant, MICHAEL SCHLUMBERG. Bluff, friendly and coarse-look-
ing, he stands in his hall amidst the leaping and barking animals, greeting Mozart.
Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Down there, damn you. (to Mozart)
Welcome to you. Pay no attention, they're impossible. Stop it,
you willful things! Come this way. Just ignore them. They're
perfectly harmless, just willful. I treat them just like my own
And which one of them do you want me to teach?
What? Ha-ha! That's funny - I like it. Which one, eh? You're a
funny fellow. (shouting) Hannah! Come this way.
He leads Mozart through the throng of dogs into a salon furnished with comfort-
able middle-class taste.
FRAU SCHLUMBERG appears: an anxious woman in middle life.
You won't be teaching this one either. She's my wife.
This is Herr Mozart, my dear. The young man Herr Salieri rec-
ommended to teach our Gertrude. Where is she?
You can't be Herr Mozart!
I'm afraid I am.
Of course, it's him. Who do you think it is?
I've heard about you for ages! I thought you must be an old man.
It's such an honour for us to have you here, Herr Mozart. And for
People who know say the girl's got talent. You must judge for
yourself. If you think she stinks, say so.
Michael, please! I'm sure you will find her most willing, Herr
Mozart. She's really very excited. She's been preparing all
Ah, now! Here she comes.
GERTRUDE SCHLUMBERG appears in the doorway: an awkward girl of fifteen
in her best dress, her hair primped and curled. She is exceedingly nervous.
Good morning, Fraülein Schlumberg.
Strudel, this is Herr Mozart. Say good morning.
Gertrude giggles instead.
Perhaps a little refreshment first? A little coffee, or a little choco-
I'd like a little wine, if you have it.
Quite right. He's going to need it. (calling and clapping his hands)
Klaus! A bottle of wine. Prestissimo! Now let's go to it. I've been
waiting all day for this.
He leads the way into:
85 INT. MUSIC ROOM - DAY - 1780's 85
A forte-piano is open and waiting. All the dogs follow him. After them come
Mozart Frau and Fraülein Schlumberg. To Mozart's dismay, husband and wife
seat themselves quite formally on a little narrow sofa, side by side.
(to the dogs)
Now sit down all of you and behave. Zeman, Mandi, absolutely
quiet! (to a young beagle) Especially you, Dudelsachs - not one
sound from you.
The dogs settle at their feet. Husband and wife smile encouragingly at each other.
Come on, then. Up and at it!
Mozart gestures to the music bench. Reluctantly, the girl sits at the instrument.
Mozart sits beside her.
Now, please play me something. Just to give me an idea.
Anything will do.
I don't want you to stay.
That's all right, dear. Just go ahead, as if we weren't here.
But you are here.
Never mind, Strudel. It's part of music, getting used to an audi-
ence. Aren't I right, Herr Mozart?
Well, yes! on the whole. I suppose. (to Gertrude) How long
have you been playing, Fraülein?
Just one year.
Who was your teacher?
I was. But she quite outgrew the little I could show her.
Thank you, Madame. (to Gertrude) Come on now - courage.
Play me something you know.
In response the wretched girl just stares down at the keyboard without playing a
note. An awkward pause.
Perhaps it would be better if we were left alone. I think we're
both a little shy.
Husband and wife look at each other.
Nonsense. Strudel's not shy. She's just willful! You give into her
now, you'll be sorry later. Strudel - play.
Silence. The girl sits unmoving. Schlumberg bellows:
I said play!
Perhaps if I were to play a little first, it might encourage the
Fraülein. (to the girl) Why don't you let me try the instrument?
Suddenly the girl rises. Mozart smiles at the parents. They smile nervously back.
Mozart slides along the bench, raises his hands and preludes over the keys.
Instantly a dog howls loudly. Startled, Mozart stops. Schlumberg leaps to his feet
and goes over to the beagle.
Stop that, Dudelsachs! Stop it at once! (to Mozart) Don't let him
disturb you. He'll be all right. He's just a little willful too.
Please, please - play. I beg you.
Mozart resumes playing. This time it is a lively piece, perhaps the Presto Finale
from the K. 450. The dog howls immediately.
Stop it! STOP!
No, not you. I was talking to the dog. You keep playing. It's
most important. He always howls when he hears music. We've
got to break them of the habit. Play, please. Please!
Amazed, Mozart starts to play the Rondo again. The dog howls louder.
That's it. Now keep going, just keep going. (to the beagle) Now
you stop that noise, Dudelsachs, you stop it this instant! This in-
stant, do you hear me? Keep going, Herr Mozart, that's it. Go
on, go on!
Mozart plays on. Suddenly the dog falls silent. Schlumberg smiles broadly.
Good, good, good! Very good dog! Very, very good
Dudelsachs. (to his wife, snapping his fingers) Quick, quick, dear,
bring his biscuit.
The wife scurries to get a jar of biscuits. A servant brings in an open bottle of wine
and a full glass on a tray. He puts it down beside Mozart as Schlumberg addresses
the silent dog with deepest affection.
Now guess who's going to get a nice reward? Clever, clever Dudi.
He gives the biscuit to the dog who swallows it greedily. Mozart stops playing and
It's a miracle, Herr Mozart!
(barely controlling himself)
Well, I'm a good teacher. The next time you wish me to instruct
another of your dogs, please let me know. Goodbye, Fraülein,
goodbye, Madame! goodbye, Sir!
He bows to them and leaves the room. They look after him in puzzled
What a strange young man.
Yes. He is a little strange.
86 EXT. A BUSY STREET IN VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 86
A cheerful scene. We see Mozart strutting and beaming, making his way through
the crowd of porters, carriers and hawkers, sellers of sausages and pastries, vendors
of hats and ribbons. Horses and carriage clatter past him. His mood is best ex-
pressed by a bubbling version of Non piu Andrai played on the forte-piano.
Still in the same mood, he enters the door of his own house.
87 INT. MOZART'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY - 1780's 87
Suddenly, he stops. He looks up the stairs. The grim opening chords from the
Overture to Don Giovanni cut across the march from Figaro. What he sees, looking
up the stairs, is a menacing figure in a long, grey cape and dark grey hat, standing
on the landing. The light comes from behind the figure so that we see only its sil-
houette as it unfolds its arms towards Mozart in an alarming gesture of possession.
It takes a beat in which the air of sinister mystery is held before Mozart realizes
who it is. Then, as the music continues, he hastily sets down the bottle of wine and
rushes joyfully up the stairs and hurls himself into the figure's arms.
Both men embrace. The music slowly fades.
88 INT. MOZART'S LIVING ROOM - DAY - 1780's 88
A cramped, low-ceilinged little room which nobody has tidied for ages. We see
music lying everywhere. Also there are many empty wine bottles; musical instru-
ments - among them a mandolin, a viola, a forte-piano with the black and white
keys reversed - books and abandoned plates of food. Mozart clasps his father's
arms. Leopold is now seen as an aging, travel-stained man in clothes that need re-
pair. His face is lined, and he is obviously not in perfect health.
Why are you here?
Am I not welcome?
Of course, welcome! Welcome ten thousand times. Papa! my
He kisses his hands.
You're very thin. Does she not feed you, this wife of yours?
Mozart ducks away and fetches his father's bags from the landing.
Feed? Well, of course she feeds me. She stuffs me like a goose all
day long. She's the best cook in the world. I mean, since Mama.
Just wait, you'll see.
Is she not here?
I don't know. Stanzi? Stanzi!
Leopold looks about him at the mess in the room.
Do you always live like this?
Oh, yes. Oh, I mean no - not exactly like this. I mean today -
just today, Stanzi - I remember now. She had to go - yes! She
had to help her mother. Yes, she's like that. Her mother's a very
sweet woman, you'll see.
He carries the bag across the room and opens the door of the bedroom. Constanze
lies in bed. She sits up, startled.
Oh! I didn't know you were home. Stanzi, this is my father.
Constanze, who looks ill and tired, stares at Leopold. Leopold stares back from
We'll wait, we'll wait. Why don't you get up now, darling?
He closes the door again.
She's very tired, poor creature. You know me: I'm a real pig. It's
not so easy cleaning up after me.
Don't you have a maid?
Oh we could, if we wanted to, but Stanzi won't hear of it. She
wants to do everything herself.
How is your financial situation?
It couldn't be better.
That's not what I hear.
What do you mean? It's wonderful. Really, it's - it's marvelous!
People love me here.
They say you're in debt.
Who? Who says that? Now that's a malicious lie!
How many pupils do you have?
I don't know. It's not important. I mean, I don't want pupils.
They get in the way. I've got to have time for composition.
Composition doesn't pay. You know that.
This one will.
He picks up some pages of manuscript.
Oh, let's not talk about it.
It's a secret.
You don't have secrets from me.
It's too dangerous, Papa. But they're going to love it. Ah, there
Constanze comes into the room. She is wearing a dressing gown and has made a
perfunctory attempt to tidy her hair. We see that she is clearly pregnant.
My Stanzi - look at her! Isn't she beautiful? Come on now, con-
fess, Papa. Could you want a prettier girl for a daughter?
Stop it, Wolfi. I look dreadful. Welcome to our house, Herr
He's not Herr Mozart. Call him Papa.
I see that you're expecting.
When, may I ask?
In three months! Papa.
Isn't that marvelous? We're delighted.
Why didn't you mention it in your letters?
Didn't I? I thought I did. I'm sure I did.
He gives a little giggle of embarrassment.
May I offer you some tea, Herr Mozart?
Tea? Who wants tea? Let's go out! This calls for a feast. You
don't want tea, Papa. Let's go dancing. Papa loves parties, don't
What? How can you be so boring? Tea!
Wolfi, I think your father's tired. I'll cook us something here.
Thank you. That'll be fine. Don't spend any money on me.
Why not? Oh, come, Papa! What better way could I spend it
than on you? My kissable, missable, suddenly visible Papa!
The jaunty tune of Ich Mochte Wohl Der Kaiser sein (K.539) sounds through all the
following. This is an alternate song from Il Seraglio: a very extroverted tune for
baritone and orchestra and a prominent part for bass drum. The vocal part should
be arranged for trumpet.
89 EXT. STREET IN VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 89
Mozart and Constanze with Leopold between them. We see couples shopping.
90 INT. A COSTUME SHOP - VIENNA - DAY - 1780's 90
This is a shop where one can buy costumes for masquerades. It is filled with ex-
travagant costumes of various kinds. Wolfgang is wearing a costume, a mask
pushed up on his forehead; Constanze is wearing a little white velvet mask. Amidst
the merriment, Leopold is helped by two assistants to put on a dark grey cloak and
a dark grey tricorne hat, to which is attached a full mask of dark grey. Its mouth is
cut into a fixed upward smile.
He turns and looks at his son through this mask.
CUT STRAIGHT TO:
91 INT. A LARGE PARTY ROOM - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 91
We are in the full whirl of a Masquerade Ball. Couples are dancing around dressed
in fantastic costumes. The music of Ich Mochte Wohl Der Kaiser sein increases in
volume and persists. We see the musicians thumping it out on a balustrade above
the dancers. A steer is being roasted. Through the bobbing crowd we see a group,
headed by the figure of Bacchus: this is Schikaneder in a Greek costume, wearing
vine leaves in his hair. He is accompanied by his usual trio of actresses and three
other men. Constanze as Columbine and Mozart as Harlequin are pulling Leopold
by the hand of his dark cloak and smiling mask. This whole group threads its way
across the crowded room and disappears through a door. As they go, they are
watched by Salieri, standing alone in a corner, wearing ordinary evening clothes.
He turns away hastily to avoid being seen by them.
As soon as they disappear into the far room, Salieri goes quickly to a lady in the
corner who is giving guests domino masks off a tray. He quickly takes a small
black mask and puts it on.
92 INT. A GROTTO ROOM NEXT DOOR - NIGHT - 1780's 92
A fantastic room designed as a rocky grotto, lit by candles. A forte-piano to one
side is being played by Schikaneder: the music of Ich Mochte Wohl Der Kaiser sein
cross-fades to another tune. This is Vivat Bacchus from Il Seraglio which
Schikaneder, dressed as Bacchus, is humming as he plays. The music is actually ac-
companying a game of Forfeits, which has begun. Five couples (the group we have
just seen) are dancing in the middle of a ring made by nine chairs. When the mu-
sic stops they will each have to find a chair, and the one who fails must pay a
Constanze is dancing with Leopold; Mozart is dancing with one of the actresses;
the two other actresses are dancing with two other gentlemen; and two children
dance together - a little boy and a little girl. The scene is watched by a circle of
bystanders; among them - from the doorway - is Salieri.
Schikaneder stops playing. Immediately the couples scramble for the chairs.
Leopold and Constanze meet on the same chair, bumping and pushing at each
other to get sole possession of it. To the amusement of the people around, the
chair over-balances and they both end up on the floor. Constanze immediately
gets up again, sets the chair on its feet, and tries to pretend she was sitting in it all
the time. But Schikaneder calls out from the forte-piano.
No, no! You both lost. You both lost. You both have to forfeit.
And the penalty is! you must exchange your wigs.
People are delighted by the idea of this penalty. The children jump up and down
with excitement. The three actresses immediately surround Leopold, reaching for
his hat and mask and wig, whilst he tries to hold on to them. Mozart takes off
Constanze's wig - an absurd affair with side-curls. Constanze laughingly surren-
No, please! This is ridiculous! No, please!
Despite his protests an actress takes off his hat, to which the smiling mask is at-
tached, to reveal his outraged face showing a very different expression underneath.
Another actress snatches off his wig to reveal very sparse hair on the old man's
head. The third actress takes Constanze's wig from Mozart and attempts to put it
on his father's head.
(calling to him)
This is just a game, Papa.
Constanze echoes him with a touch of malice in her voice.
“This is just a game, Papa!
Laughingly, the bystanders take it up, especially the children.
“This is just a game, Papa!
As Leopold glares furiously about him, the actress succeeds in getting Constanze's
wig firmly onto his head. Everybody bursts into applause. Delightedly,
Constanze puts on Leopold's wig, hat and mask: from the waist up she now looks
like a weird parody of Leopold in the smiling grey mask, and he looks like a weird
parody of her in the silly feminine wig. Schikaneder starts to play again, and the
couples start to dance. Leopold angrily takes off Constanze's wig and leaves the
circle; his partner, Constanze, is left alone. Seeing this, Mozart leaves his partner
and catches his father entreatingly by the arm.
Oh no, Papa, please! Don't spoil the fun. Come on. Here, take
He takes off his own wig and puts it on Leopold's uncovered head. The effect, if
not as ridiculous, is still somewhat bizarre, since Wolfgang favours fairly elaborate
wigs. He takes Constanze's wig from his father. As this happens, the music stops
again. Mozart gently pushes his father down onto a nearby chair; the others
scramble for the other chairs; and he is left as the Odd Man Out. He giggles.
Schikaneder calls out to Leopold from the keyboard.
Herr Mozart, why don't you name your son's penalty?
Yes, Papa, name it. Name it. I'll do anything you say!
I want you to come back with me to Salzburg, my son.
What did he say? What did he say?
Papa, the rule is you can only give penalties that can be performed
in the room.
I'm tired of this game. Please play without me.
But my penalty. I've got to have a penalty.
All the bystanders are watching.
I've got a good one. I've got the perfect one for you. Come over
Mozart runs over to the forte-piano, and Schikaneder surrenders his place at it.
Now, I want you to play our tune - sitting backwards.
Oh, that's really too easy. Any child can do that.
Amused sounds of disbelief.
And a fugue in the manner of Sebastian Bach.
Renewed applause at this wicked extra penalty. Mozart smiles at Schikaneder - it
is the sort of challenge he loves. He defiantly puts on Constanze's wig and seats
himself with his back to the keyboard. Before the astonished eyes of the company
he proceeds to execute this absurdly difficult task. His right hand plays the bass
part, his left hand the treble, and with this added difficulty he improvises a bril-
liant fugue on the subject of the tune to which they have been dancing. Attracted
by this astonishing feat, the players draw nearer to the instrument. So does Salieri,
cautiously, with some of the bystanders. Constanze watches him approach. Only
Leopold sits by himself, sulking.
The fugue ends amidst terrific clapping. The guests call out to Mozart.
Another! Do another! Someone else.
Give me a name. Who shall I do? Give me a name.
Gluck! Haydn! Frederic Handel!
Salieri! Do Salieri!
SMASH CUT: Salieri's masked face whips around and looks at her.
Now that's hard. That's very hard. For Salieri one has to face the
right way around.
Giggling, he turns around and sits at the keyboard. Then, watched by a highly
amused group, he begins a wicked parody.
He furrows his brow in mock concentration and closes his eyes. Then he begins to
play the tune to which they danced, in the most obvious way imaginable, relying
heavily on a totally and offensively unimaginative bass of tonic and dominant,
endlessly repeated. The music is the very essence of banality. The bystanders rock
with laughter. Mozart starts to giggle wildly. Through this excruciating scene,
Salieri stares at Constanze, who suddenly turns her head and looks challengingly
back at him.
Mozart's parody reaches its coarse climax with him adding a fart noise instead of
notes to end cadences. He builds this up, urged on in his clowning by everyone
else, until suddenly he stops and cries out. The laughter cuts off. Mozart stands
up, clutching his behind as if he has made a mess in his breeches. The momentary
hush of alarm is followed by a howl of laughter.
CU, Salieri staring in pain.
93 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 93
CU, The old man is shaking at the very recollection of his humiliation.
Go on. Mock me. Laugh, laugh!
CUT BACK TO:
94 INT. GROTTO - NIGHT - 1780's 94
A repetition of the shot of Mozart at the forte-piano, wearing Constanze's wig and
emitting a shrill giggle.
95 INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 95
Salieri sits at his desk. He holds in his hand the small black party mask and stares
in hatred at the place on the wall where the crucifix used to hang. Faintly we see
the mark of the cross.
That was not Mozart laughing, Father. That was God. That was
God! God laughing at me through that obscene giggle. Go on,
Signore. Laugh. Rub my nose in it. Show my mediocrity for all
to see. You wait! I will laugh at You! Before I leave this earth, I
will laugh at You! Amen!
97 INT. MOZART'S WORKROOM - DAY - 1780's 97
It is littered with manuscripts. In the middle stands a billiard table. The beautiful
closing ensemble from Act IV of Figaro: Ah, Tutti contenti! Saremo cosi plays in the
background. Standing at the billiard table, Mozart is dreamily hearing the music
and playing shots on the table. From time to time he drifts over to a piece of
manuscript paper and jots down notes. He is very much in his own world of com-
position and the billiard balls are an aid to creation. Presently, however, we hear a
knocking at the door.
(outside the door)
The music breaks off.
What is it?
He opens the door.
There's a young girl to see you.
What does she want?
I don't know.
Well, ask her!
She won't talk to me. She says she has to speak to you.
99 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY - 1780's 99
Mozart comes out. Framed in the doorway from outside stands Lorl, the maid we
noticed in Salieri's house. From his bedroom Leopold peeps out to watch. Mozart
goes to the girl. Constanze follows.
Are you Herr Mozart?
My name is Lorl, sir. I'm a maidservant. I was asked to come
here and offer my services to you.
They'll be paid for by a great admirer or yours who wishes to re-
main anon - anonymous.
What do you mean? What admirer?
I can't tell you that, ma'am.
Are you saying that someone is paying you to be our maid and
doesn't want us to know who he is?
Yes. I can live in or out just as you wish.
Mozart turns to his father.
Papa, is this your idea?
The old man emerges from his bedroom. His son looks at him delightedly.
Are you playing a trick on me?
I never saw this girl in my life. (to Lorl) Is this a kind of joke?
Not at all, sir. And I was told to wait for an answer.
Young woman, this won't do at all. My son can't possibly accept
such an offer, no matter how generous, unless he knows who is
But I really can't tell you, sir.
Oh, this is ridiculous.
What is ridiculous? Wolfi has many admirers in Vienna. They
love him here. People send us gifts all the time.
But you can't take her without reference. It's unheard of!
Well, this is none of your business. (to Lorl) Whoever sent you is
going to pay, no?
That's right, ma'am.
So now we are going to let a perfect stranger into the house?
Constanze looks furiously at him, then at Lorl.
Who is “we? Who is letting who? (to Lorl) Could you please
Lorl goes outside and closes the door. Constanze turns on Leopold.
Look, old man, you stay out of this. We spend a fortune on you,
more than we can possibly afford, and all you do is criticize,
morning to night. And then you think you can -
No, it's right he should hear. I'm sick to death of it. We can't do
anything right for you, can we?
Never mind. You won't have to do anything for me ever again.
Don't worry, I'm not staying here to be a burden.
No one calls you that.
She does. She says I sleep all day.
And so you do! The only time you come out is to eat.
And what do you expect? Who wants to walk out into a mess like
this every day?
Oh, now I'm a bad housekeeper!
So you are! The place is a pigsty all the time.
Do you hear him? Do you?
Explosively she opens the door.
When can you start?
Right away, ma'am.
Good! Come in. You'll start with that room there. (indicating
Leopold's room) It's filthy!
She leads the maid into Leopold's room. Mozart steals back into his workroom
and gently closes the door. Leopold is left alone.
Sorry, sorry! I'm sorry I spoke! I'm just a provincial from
Salzburg. What do I know about smart Vienna? Parties all night,
every night. Dancing and drinking like idiot children!
101 INT. MOZART'S WORKROOM - DAY - 1780's 101
Mozart stands trying to blot out the noise of his father's shouting from the next
Dinner at eight! Dinner at ten! Dinner when anyone feels like
it! if anyone feels like it!
The ensemble of Ah, Tutti contenti! Saremo cosi from Act IV of Figaro resumes,
coming to his aid and rising to greet the listener with its serene harmonies.
Relieved, Mozart languidly picks up his cue and plays a shot on the billiard table:
he is sucked back into his own world of sound.
102 INT. SALIERI'S SALON - NIGHT - 1780's 102
The music fades. We see Lorl, dressed in a walking cloak, sitting before a desk,
talking to someone confidentially.
They're out every night, sir. Till all hours.
A hand comes into frame offering a plate of sugared biscuits. On its finger we see
the gold signet ring belonging to Salieri.
Oh, thank you, sir.
Do any pupils come to the house?
Not that I've seen.
Then how does he pay for all this? Does he work at all?
Oh, yes, sir, all day long. He never leaves the house until evening.
He just sits there, writing and writing. He doesn't even eat.
Really? What is it he's writing?
Oh, I wouldn't know that, sir.
Of course not. You're a good girl. You're very kind to do this.
Next time you're sure they'll be out of the house, let me know,
Confused, the girl hesitates. He hands her a pile of coins.
Oh, thank you, sir!
She accepts them, delighted.
103 EXT. MOZART'S HOUSE - VIENNA STREET - AFTERNOON - 1780's 103
The final movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat (K. 482) begins. To its
lively music, the door of the house bursts open and a grand forte-piano augmented
with a pedal is carried out of it by six men, who run off with it down the street.
Following them immediately appear Wolfgang, Constanze and Leopold, all three
dressed for an occasion. They climb into a waiting carriage which drives off after
the forte-piano. As soon as it goes, Lorl appears in the doorway, peering slyly
around to see that they are out of sight. Then she shuts the door and hurries off in
the opposite direction.
104 EXT. AN ORNAMENTAL GARDEN - VIENNA - AFTERNOON - 1780's 104
An outdoor concert is being given. Mozart is actually playing the final movement
of his E-flat concerto with an orchestra. Listening to him is a sizable audience, in-
cluding the Emperor, flanked by Strack and Von Swieten. The crowd is in a
happy and appreciative mood: it is a delightful open-air scene. We hear the gayest
and most complex passage. Leopold and Constanze listen to Mozart, who plays
his own work brilliantly. We stay with this scene for a little while and then
105 EXT. VIENNA STREET - AFTERNOON - 1780's 105
A carriage clopping through the streets. Lorl is sitting up on the box beside the
driver. Inside the vehicle, we glimpse the figure of Salieri.
106 EXT. AN ORNAMENTAL GARDEN - VIENNA - 1780's 106
We hear more of the concerto. Perhaps the slow interlude in the last movement of
K. 482. Mozart is conducting and playing in a reflective mood. Abruptly we
107 EXT. MOZART' S APARTMENT - AFTERNOON - 1780's 107
Lorl is opening the door admitting Salieri. They go in. The door shuts.
108 INT. MOZART'S LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON - 1780's 108
The room is considerably tidier as a result of Lorl's ministrations. Salieri stands
looking about him with tremendous curiosity.
I think I've found out about the money, sir.
She opens a drawer in a sideboard. Inside we see one gold snuff box: it is the one
we saw Mozart being presented with as a child in the Vatican.
He kept seven snuff boxes in here. I could swear they were all
gold. And now look there's only one left. And inside, sir, look -
I counted them - tickets from the pawnshop. Six of them.
Salieri turns to look around him.
Where does he work?
In there, sir.
She points across the room to the workroom. Salieri crosses and goes in alone.
109 INT. MOZART'S WORKROOM - AFTERNOON - 1780's 109
Salieri enters the private quarters of Amadeus. He is immensely excited. He
moves slowly into the ‘holy of holies' picking up objects with great reverence - a
billiard ball; a discarded wig; a sock; a buckle - then objects more important to
him. Standing at Mozart's desk, strewn with manuscripts, he picks up Mozart's
pen and strokes the feather. He touches the inkstand. He lays a finger on the
candlestick with its half-expired candle. He touches each object as if it were the
memento of a beloved. He is in awe. Finally his eye falls on the sheets of music
themselves. Stealthily he picks them up.
CU, The pages.
We see words set to music. Against each line of notes is the name of a character:
“Contessa, “Susanna, “Cherubino. Then another page - the title page - writ-
ten in Mozart's hand.
Le Nozze di Figaro
Comedia per musica tratta dal Francese in quattro atti
CU, The word “Figaro.
CU, Salieri. He stares amazed.
110 EXT. ORNAMENTAL GARDEN - VIENNA - AFTERNOON - 1780's 110
Mozart is playing the cadenza and coda of Piano Concerto (K. 482). He completes
the work with a flourish. There is loud applause. The Emperor rises and all follow
suit. Mozart comes down to be greeted by him.
Bravo, Mozart. Most charming. Yes, indeed. Clever man.
Thank you, Sire!
Well done, Mozart. Really quite fine.
He sees his wife and father standing by in the crowd. Leopold is signaling
Majesty, may I ask you to do me the greatest favour?
What is it?
May I introduce my father? He is on a short visit here and return-
ing very soon to Salzburg. He would so much like to kiss your
hand. It would make his whole stay so memorable for him.
Ah! By all means.
Leopold comes forward eagerly and fawningly kisses the royal hand.
Good evening. (to Leopold) We have met before, Herr Mozart.
That's right, Your Majesty. Twenty years ago. No, twenty-
two! twenty-three! And I remember word for word what you
said to me. You said - you said --
He searches his memory.
No! Yes, ‘bravo,' of course ‘bravo'! Everybody always says
‘bravo' when Wolfi plays. Like the King of England. When we
played for the King of England, he got up at the end and said,
“Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! three times. Three bravo's. And the
Pope four! Four bravo's from the Holy Father, and one
All the courtiers around are looking at him.
Hush! I'm talking to His Majesty. Your Majesty, I wish to ex-
press only one thing - that you who are the Father of us all,
could teach our children the gratitude they owe to fathers. It is
not for nothing that the Fifth Commandment tells us: ‘Honour
your Father and Mother, that your days may be long upon the
Ah-ha. Well. There it is.
111 INT. ORSINI-ROSENBERG'S STUDY - DAY - 1780's 111
The Director sits at his table with Salieri and Bonno.
I've just learned something that might be of interest to you, Herr
Mozart is writing a new opera. An Italian opera.
And that's not all. He has chosen for his subject, Figaro. The
Marriage of Figaro.
You mean! that play?
He's setting that play to music?
You must be mad.
What is this Marriage of Figaro?
It's a French play, Kapellmeister. It has been banned by the
He crosses himself, wide-eyed with alarm.
Are you absolutely sure?
I've seen the manuscript.
112 INT. CHAMBERLAIN VON STRACK'S STUDY - DAY - 1780's 112
I know we banned this play, but frankly I can't remember why.
Can you refresh my memory, Herr Director?
For the same reason, Herr Chamberlain, that it was banned in
Oh yes, yes. And that was?
Well, the play makes a hero out of a valet. He outwits his noble
master and exposes him as a lecher. Do you see the implications?
This would be, in a grander situation, as if a Chamberlain were to
expose an Emperor.
113 INT. THE EMPEROR'S STUDY - DAY - 1780's 113
The Emperor stands in the middle of the room in close conversation with Von
Strack, Orsini-Rosenberg, Von Swieten, and Bonno. Salieri is not present. A door
opens and a lackey announces:
They all turn. Mozart approaches, rather apprehensively, and kisses Joseph's hand.
Sit down, gentlemen, please.
They all sit, save Mozart. The room suddenly looks like a tribunal. Joseph is in a
Mozart, are you aware I have declared the French play of Figaro
unsuitable for our theatre?
Yet we hear you are making an opera from it. Is this true?
Who told you this, Majesty?
It is not your place to ask questions. Is it true?
Well, yes, I admit it is.
Would you tell me why?
Well, Majesty, it is only a comedy.
What you think, Mozart, is scarcely the point. It is what His
Majesty thinks that counts.
But, Your Majesty -
(motioning him to be silent)
Mozart, I am a tolerant man. I do not censor things lightly.
When I do, I have good reason. Figaro is a bad play. It stirs up
hatred between the classes. In France it has caused nothing but
bitterness. My own dear sister Antoinette writes me that she is
beginning to be frightened of her own people. I do not wish to
see the same fears starting here.
Sire, I swear to Your Majesty, there's nothing like that in the
story. I have taken out everything that could give offense. I hate
I think you are rather innocent, my friend. In these dangerous
times I cannot afford to provoke our nobles or our people simply
over a theatre piece.
The others look at their king solemnly, all save Mozart.
But, Majesty, this is just a frolic. It's a piece about love.
Ah, love again.
But it's new, it's entirely new. It's so new, people will go mad for
it. For example, I have a scene in the second act - it starts as a
duet, just a man and wife quarreling. Suddenly the wife's
scheming little maid comes in unexpectedly - a very funny situ-
ation. Duet turns into trio. Then the husband's equally scream-
ing valet comes in. Trio turns into quartet. Then a stupid old
gardener - quartet becomes quintet, and so on. On and on, sex-
tet, septet, octet! How long do you think I can sustain that?
I have no idea.
Guess! Guess, Majesty. Imagine the longest time such a thing
could last, then double it.
Well, six or seven minutes! maybe eight!
Twenty, sire! How about twenty? Twenty minutes of continuous
music. No recitatives.
Sire, only opera can do this. In a play, if more than one person
speaks at the same time, it's just noise. No one can understand a
word. But with music, with music you can have twenty individu-
als all talking at once, and it's not noise - it's a perfect harmony.
Isn't that marvelous?
Mozart, music is not the issue here. No one doubts your talent.
It is your judgment of literature that's in question. Even with the
politics taken out, this thing would still remain a vulgar farce.
Why waste your spirit on such rubbish? Surely you can choose
more elevated themes?
Elevated? What does that mean? Elevated! The only thing a
man should elevate is - oh, excuse me. I'm sorry. I'm stupid.
But I am fed up to the teeth with elevated things! Old dead leg-
ends! How can we go on forever writing about gods and legends?
Because they do. They go on forever - at least what they repre-
sent. The eternal in us, not the ephemeral. Opera is here to en-
noble us. You and me, just as much as His Majesty.
Bello! Bello, Barone. Veramente.
Oh, bello, bello, bello! Come on now, be honest. Wouldn't you
all rather listen to your hairdressers than Hercules? Or Horatius?
Or Orpheus? All those old bores! people so lofty they sound as
if they shit marble!
Govern your tongue, sir! How dare you?
Beat. All look at the Emperor.
Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my
music is not.
You are passionate, Mozart! but you do not persuade.
Sire, the whole opera is finished. Do you know how much work
went into it?
His Majesty has been more than patient, Signore.
How can I persuade you if you won't let me show it?
That will do, Herr Mozart!
Just let me tell you how it begins.
Herr Mozart -
May I just do that, Majesty? Show you how it begins? Just that?
A slight pause. Then Joseph nods.
Mozart falls on his knees.
Look! There's a servant, down on his knees. Do you know why?
Not from any oppression. No, he's simply measuring a space.
Do you know what for? His bed. His wedding bed to see if it
114 INT. OPERA HOUSE - DAY - 1780's 114
Mozart sits on stage at a harpsichord rehearsing the singers taking the parts of
Figaro and Susanna in the opening bars of the first act of The Marriage of Figaro.
We watch Figaro measuring the space for his bed on the floor, singing and Susanna
looking on, trying on the Countess' hat.
115 INT. SALIERI'S SALON - DAY - 1780's 115
Orsini-Rosenberg and Bonno are sitting with Salieri.
Well, Mozart is already rehearsing.
The Emperor has given him permission.
Si, si! Veramente.
Well, gentlemen, so be it. In that case I think we should help
Mozart all we can and do our best to protect him against the
About the ballet.
Ballet? What ballet?
Excuse me - didn't His Majesty specifically forbid ballet in his
Yes, absolutely. Is there a ballet in Figaro?
Yes, in the third act.
116 INT. THE OPERA HOUSE - DAY - 1780's 116
It is a full orchestral rehearsal. Mozart is conducting from the harpsichord with his
hands; he does not use a baton. The singers are all in practice clothes, not cos-
tumes. We are in the Act III and we hear the recitativo exchange just before the
march begins. Orsini-Rosenberg and Bonno sit watching chairs. Suddenly the
march starts. Peasants and friends start to dance in and at the same moment,
Orsini-Rosenberg gets up and comes down to Mozart. He is accompanied by an
Mozart! Herr Mozart, may I have a word with you please. Right
Certainly, Herr Director.
He signals to the cast to break off.
Five minutes, please!
The company disperses, curious. The musicians look at Orsini-Rosenberg.
Did you not know that His Majesty has expressly forbidden bal-
let in his operas?
Yes, but this is not a ballet. This is a dance at Figaro's wedding.
Exactly. A dance.
But surely the Emperor didn't mean to prohibit dancing when it's
part of the story.
It is dangerous for you to interpret His Majesty's edicts. Give me
your score, please.
Mozart hands him the score from which he is conducting.
He rips out a page. Bonno watches in terror.
What are you doing?
He rips out three more.
What are you doing, Herr Director?
Taking out what you should never have put in.
He goes on tearing the pages determinedly.
117 INT. SALIERI'S SALON - DAY - 1780's 117
A servant opens the door to announce.
Mozart brushes past him straight towards Salieri, who rises to greet him. The little
man is near hysterics.
Please! Please. I've no one else to turn to. Please!
He grabs Salieri.
Wolfgang, what is it? Sta calmo, per favore. What's the matter?
It's unbelievable! The Director has actually ripped out a huge
section of my music. Pages of it.
I don't know. They say I've got to re-write the opera, but it's per-
fect as it is. I can't rewrite what's perfect. Can't you talk to him?
Why bother with Orsini-Rosenberg? He's obviously no friend of
Oh, I could kill him! I mean really kill him. I actually threw the
entire opera on the fire, he made me so angry!
You burned the score?
Oh no! My wife took it out in time.
It's not fair that a man like that has power over our work.
But there are those who have power over him. I think I'll take this
up with the Emperor.
Oh, Excellency, would you?
With all my heart, Mozart.
Thank you! Oh, thank you.
He kisses Salieri's hand.
(withdrawing it; imitating the Emperor)
No, no, no, Herr Mozart, please. It's not a holy relic.
Mozart giggles with relief and gratitude.
118 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 118
I'm sure I don't need to tell you I said nothing whatever to the
Emperor. I went to the theatre ready to tell Mozart that His
Majesty had flown into a rage when I mentioned the ballet, when
suddenly, to my astonishment, in the middle of the third act, the
Emperor - who never attended rehearsals - suddenly appeared.
119 INT. OPERA HOUSE - DAY - 1780's 119
In the background the same recitativo before the March. The Emperor steals in sur-
reptitiously with Von Strack, his finger to his lips. He motions everyone not to
rise, and slips into a chair behind Salieri, Orsini-Rosenberg and Bonno.
The three conspirators look at each other wide-eyed.
The recitativo summons up the march, but instead there is silence. Mozart lays
down his baton. The musicians lay down their instruments. The celebrants of
Figaro's wedding come in with a few pitiful dance steps, in procession, only to
come presently to a halt, lacking their music. The singers try to go on singing, but
they have no cues from their conductor or from the accompaniment. Everyone on
stage looks lost, though they attempt to go on with the story for a while.
Consternation grows on the faces of the conspirators. Mozart glances back at the
group seated in the theatre. Finally, the Emperor speaks, in a whisper.
What is this? I don't understand. Is it modern?
Majesty, the Herr Director, he has removed a balleto that would
have occurred at this place.
It is your regulation, Sire. No ballet in your opera.
Mozart strains to hear what they are saying but cannot.
Do you like this, Salieri?
It is not a question of liking, Your Majesty. Your own law decrees
it, I'm afraid.
Well, look at them.
We do look at them. The spectacle on stage has now ground to a complete halt.
No, no, no! This is nonsense. Let me hear the scene with the
But, Sire -
Orsini-Rosenberg acknowledges his defeat.
Orsini-Rosenberg rises and goes down to where Mozart sits anxiously with the
musicians, watching his approach.
Can we see the scene with the music back, please?
Oh yes, certainly. Certainly, Herr Director!
He looks back deliriously at Salieri, trying to indicate his gratitude. Salieri ac-
knowledges with a slight and subtle nod.
Orsini-Rosenberg returns to his king.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're going from where we stopped. The
Count: Anches so. Right away, please!
The singers scatter offstage to begin the scene again.
What I hoped by that edict, Director, was simply to prevent
hours of dancing like in French opera. There it is endless, as you
Quite so, Majesty.
CUT BACK TO Mozart at the forte-piano, raising his hands. The musicians raise
their bows. With a flourish the happy composer begins a reprise of the scene which
had been cut out. The music of the march begins faintly; the celebrants of Figaro's
wedding start to enter as the Count and the Countess sit in their chairs.
In the theatre we see increasing pleasure on the Emperor's face, sullenness and de-
feat on the courtiers'. Then, suddenly, without interruption, on a crescendo repeat
of the march, we
120 INT. OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 120
The theatre is brilliantly lit for the first public performance of Figaro. Everybody
is there: the Emperor, Von Strack, Bonno Orsini-Rosenberg, Von Swieten, even
Madame Weber and her daughters in a box. The musicians all wear imperial liv-
ery; the actors on stage are now in costume. Mozart, conducting, wears his Order
of the Golden Spur. The company wheels in and around to the music of the re-
stored march, which reaches a triumphant climax.
121 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 121
So Figaro was produced in spite of me. And in spite of me, a
wonder was revealed. One of the true wonders of art. The re-
stored third act was bold and brilliant. The fourth was a miracle.
The descending scale of strings in the final ensemble (Ah, Tutti contenti. Saremo
cosi) fades in.
122 INT. OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 122
We see the tableau on stage with the Count kneeling to the Countess. All are
I saw a woman disguised in her maid's clothes hear her husband
speak the first tender words he has offered her in years, only be-
cause he thinks she is someone else. I heard the music of true
forgiveness filling the theatre, conferring on all who sat there a
perfect absolution. God was singing through this little man to all
the world - unstoppable - making my defeat more bitter with
each passing bar.
CU, Salieri in his box, tears on his cheeks. He watches the ensemble and we listen
to it for a long moment. Finally it fades, but continues underneath the following:
123 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 123
And then suddenly - a miracle!
CUT BACK TO:
124 INT. OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 124
The ensemble reaches its climax, and fades away to the very quiet, slow chords
immediately preceding the boisterous final chord. Salieri becomes aware that
some of the audience are asleep and many mare are apathetic. In the near silence
we see the Emperor yawn behind his hand. Those nearby look at him. Orsini-
CUT BACK TO:
125 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 125
Father, did you know what that meant? With that yawn I saw
my defeat turn into a victory. And Mozart was lucky the
Emperor only yawned once. Three yawns and the opera would
fail the same night; two yawns, within a week at most. With one
yawn the composer could still get -
126 INT. SALIERI'S SALON - DAY - 1780's 126
Mozart is pacing up and down. Salieri is listening sympathetically.
Nine performances! Nine! That's all it's had - and withdrawn.
I know; it's outrageous. Still, if the public doesn't like one's work
one has to accept the fact gracefully.
But what is it they don't like?
Well, I can speak for the Emperor. You made too many demands
on the royal ear. The poor man can't concentrate for more than
an hour and you gave him four.
What did you think of it yourself? Did you like it at all?
I think it's marvelous. Truly.
It's the best opera yet written. I know it! Why didn't they come?
I think you overestimate our dear Viennese, my friend. Do you
know you didn't even give them a good bang at the end of songs
so they knew when to clap?
I know, I know. Perhaps you should give me some lessons in that.
I wouldn't presume. All the same, if it wouldn't be imposing, I
would like you to see my new piece. It would be a tremendous
honour for me.
Oh no, the honour would be all mine.
Grazie, mio caro, Wolfgang!
Grazie, a lei, Signor Antonio!
He bows too, giggling.
127 INT. OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 127
A performance of Salieri's grand opera, Axur: King of Ormus. Deafening ap-
plause from a crowded house. We see the reception of the aria which we saw
Cavalieri singing on the stage near the start of the film. Cavalieri, in a mythologi-
cal Persian costume, is bowing to the rapturous throng; below her is Salieri. We see
the Emperor, Von Strack, Orsini-Rosenberg, Bonno and Von Swieten, all applaud-
ing. We hear great cries of “Salieri! Salieri! and “Bravo! and “Brava!
CU, Salieri looking at the crowd with immense pleasure. Then suddenly at:
CU, Mozart standing in a box and clapping wildly. Behind him, seated, are
Schikaneder and the three girls we saw before in Mozart's apartment.
CU, Salieri staring fixedly at Mozart, then Mozart still clapping, apparently with
What was this? I never saw him excited before by any music but
his own. Could he mean it?
128 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 128
Would he actually tell me my music had moved him? Was I re-
ally going to hear that from his own lips? I found myself actually
hurrying the tempo of the finale.
CUT BACK TO:
129 INT. OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 129
Salieri conducting the last scene from Axur: King of Ormus. On stage we see a big
scene of acclamation: the hero and heroine of the opera accepting the crown
amidst the rejoicing of the people. The decor and costumes are mythological
Persian. The music is utterly conventional and totally uninventive.
CU, Mozart watching this in his box, with Schikaneder and the three actresses. He
passes an open bottle of wine to them. He is evidently a little drunk, but keeps a
The act comes to an end. Great applause in which Mozart joins in, standing and
shouting “Bravo! Bravo! Then he leaves the box with Schikaneder and the girls.
130 INT. CORRIDOR OF THE OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 130
Sublime! Utterly sublime!
That kind of music should be punishable by death.
131 INT. STAGE OF THE OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 131
A crowd of people rings Salieri at a respectful distance. The Emperor is holding
out the Civilian Medal and Chain.
I believe that is the best opera yet written, my friends. Salieri, you
are the brightest star in the musical firmament. You do honour to
Vienna and to me.
Salieri bows his head. Joseph places the chain around his neck. The crowd claps.
Salieri makes to kiss his hand, but Joseph restrains him, and passes on. Cavalieri,
smiling adoringly, gives him a deep curtsey, and he raises her up.
The crowd all flock to Salieri with cries and words of approval. All want to shake
his hand. They tug and pat him. But he has eyes for only one man - he looks
about him, searching for him and then finds him. Mozart stands there. Eagerly
Salieri moves to him.
Mozart. It was good of you to come.
How could I not?
Did my work please you?
How could it not, Excellency?
I never knew that music like that was possible.
You flatter me.
Oh no! One hears such sounds and what can one say, but -
132 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1780's 132
Explosive laughter as Mozart and Schikaneder enter the apartment, very pleased
with themselves and accompanied by the three actresses. The front door opens,
very gingerly. Mozart, still rather drunk, sticks his head into the room, anxious not
to make a noise. He sees the strangers and breaks into a smile.
Oh. Everybody's here! We've got guests. Good. I've brought
He opens the door wide to admit Schikaneder and the girls.
We'll have a little party. Come in. Come in. You know Herr
Schikaneder? (to a girl) This is! a very nice girl.
Yes, my love?
These gentlemen are from Salzburg.
Salzburg. We were just talking about Salzburg. (to the two men,
jubilantly) If you've come from my friend the Fartsbishop, you've
arrived at just the right moment. Because I've got good news for
him. I'm done with Vienna. It's over, finished, done with! Done
with! Done with!
Wolfi! Your father is dead.
Your father is dead.
The first loud chord of the Statue scene from Don Giovanni sounds. Mozart
133 INT. AN OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 133
The second chord sounds. On stage we see the huge figure of the Commendatore
in robes and helmet, extending his arms and pointing in accusation.
133A INT. AN OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 133A
The second chord sounds.
On stage we see a huge nailed fist crash through the wall of a painted dining room
set. The giant armoured statue of the COMMENDATORE enters pointing his
finger in accusation at Don Giovanni who sits at the supper table, staring - his ser-
vant Leporello quaking with fear under the table.
The figure advances on the libertine. We see Mozart conducting, pale and deeply
involved. Music fades down a little.
So rose the dreadful ghost in his next and blackest opera. There
on the stage stood the figure of a dead commander calling out
The music swells. We see Salieri standing alone in the back of a box, unseen, in
semi-darkness. We also see that the theatre is only half full. Music fades down.
And I knew - only I understood - that the horrifying apparition
was Leopold, raised from the dead. Wolfgang had actually
summoned up his own father to accuse his son before all the
world. It was terrifying and wonderful to watch.
Music swells up again. We watch the scene on stage as the Commendatore ad-
dresses Giovanni. Then back to Salieri in the box. Music down again.
134 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 134
Now a madness began in me. The madness of a man splitting in
half. Through my influence I saw to it Don Giovanni was played
only five times in Vienna. But in secret I went to every one of
those five - all alone - unable to help myself, worshipping sound
I alone seemed to hear.
135 INT. AN OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT - 1780's 135
And hour after hour, as I stood there, understanding even more
clearly how that bitter old man was still possessing his poor son
from beyond the grave, I began to see a way - a terrible way - I
could finally triumph over God, my torturer.
Music swells. On stage Don Giovanni is seized and gripped by the Statue's icy
hand. Flames burst from obviously artificial rocks. Demons appear and drag the
libertine down to Hell. The scene ends.
CU, Salieri, staring wide-eyed.
135A EXT. SCHIKANEDER'S THEATRE - VIENNA - NIGHT - 1780's 135A
We see huge and attractive posters and billboards advertising Schikaneder's troupe.
The camera concentrates on the one which reads as follows:
Impresario de luxe
SCHIKANEDER TROUPE OF PLAYERS
An Evening of
Music! Mirth! Magic!
ALL SONGS AND SPEECHES WRITTEN
who personally will appear in every scene!
136 INT. SCHIKANEDER'S THEATRE - NIGHT - 1780's 136
Noise; smoke; the audience is sitting at tables for an evening of vaudeville. Mozart,
Constanze and their son Karl, now about two years old, and sitting on his mother's
lap, are watching a parody scene by Schikaneder's troupe. They are rowdy, bawdy
and silly, incorporating motifs, situations and tunes from Mozart's operas which we
have seen and heard. Before them on the table are bottles of wine and beer, plates
of sausages, etc.
On stage we see a set which parodies the dining room in Don Giovanni's palace,
Schikaneder as Don Giovanni is dancing with the three actresses to the minuet
from Don Giovanni (end of Act I), played by a quartet of tipsy musicians.
Leporello is handing around wine on a tray.
Suddenly there is a tremendous knocking from outside. The music slithers to a
stop. All look at each other in panic. Leporello drops his tray with a crash. All go
quiet. One more knock is heard. Then all musicians, actresses, Don Giovanni and
Leporello make a dash to hide under the table which is far too small to accommo-
date them all. The table rocks. Schikaneder is pushed out. He is terrified. He
shakes elaborately. Three more knocks are heard; louder.
Who is it?
One more knock.
In the pit a chromatic scale from the Overture to Don Giovanni turns into a antici-
patory vamp. This grows more and more menacing until the whole flat represent-
ing the wall at the back falls down. An absurd pantomime horse gallops in. It has
a ridiculous expression, and is manned by four men inside. Standing precariously
on its back is a dwarf, wearing a miniature version of the armour and helmet worn
by the Commendatore. He sings in a high, nasal voice:
He tries to keep his balance as he trots in, but fails. He falls off onto the stage. He
beats at the horse, trying to get back on.
Bewildered, the horse looks about him, but cannot see his small rider who is below
his level of sight.
I'm here! I'm here!
The horse, amidst laughter from the audience, fails to locate him. Exasperated,
the dwarf signals to someone in the wings. A tall man strides out carrying a see-
saw; on his shoulders stands another man. The dwarf stands on the lowered end of
the see-saw. There is a drum roll and the man above jumps down onto the raised
end and the Commendatore is abruptly catapulted back onto the horse, only
backwards so that he is facing away from Don Giovanni. The two men bow to the
applauding audience, and retire off-stage. The Commendatore tries to extend his
arms in the proper menacing attitude, and at the same time turn around to face
Don Giovanni. This he finds difficult.
Who the devil are you? What do you want?
I've come to dinnnnnner!
Dinner? How dare you? I am a nobleman. I only dine with
people of my own height.
Are you drunk? You invited me. And my horse. Here he is.
The horse takes a bow. The dwarf almost falls off again.
Whoa! Whoa! Stop it!
The three girls rush to his aid and reach him just in time. They sing in the manner
of the Tree Ladies later to be put into The Magic Flute.
(running and singing)
(running and singing)
(running and singing)
ALL THREE TOGETHER
Hold tight now!
They grab him.
Leave me alone! Stop it! I'm a famous horseman.
And I'm a famous horse!
He gives the ladies a radiant smile. The three ladies sing, as before, in close
An orchestral chord. The three ladies turn to Ottavio and sing to him.
Give me your hoof, my darling,
And I'll give you my heart!
Take me to your stable,
And never more we'll part!
(singing: four male voices)
I'm shy and very bashful. I don't know what to say.
Don't hesitate a second. Just answer yes and neigh.
Ottavio neighs loudly, and runs at the girls.
Stop it. What are you doing? Remember who you are! You're a
horse and they are whores.
Boos from the audience.
This is ridiculous. I won't have any of it. You're turning my
house into a circus!
A trapeze sails in from above. On it stands a grand soprano wearing an elaborate
Turkish costume, like a parody of Cavalieri's in Il Seraglio. She comes in singing a
mad coloratura scale in the manner of Martern aller Arten.
Shut up. Women, women, women! I'm sick to death of them.
He marches off stage.
Dash me! Bash me! Lash me! Flay me! Slay me! At last I will
be freed by death!
(swinging and singing)
Kill me! Kill me! Kill me! Kill me! At last I shall be freed by
death. At last I shall be freed by dea -
The Commendatore pulls out his sword, reaches up and thrusts her through with
it. The soprano collapses on the bar of the trapeze. The audience applauds. At the
same moment eight dwarves march in bearing a huge cauldron of steaming water.
They sing as they march to the sound of the march that was cut from Act III of
Figaro. They are dressed as miniature copies of the chorus in that scene except that
they are wearing cooks' hats.
We're going to make a soprano stew!
We're going to make a soprano stew!
And when you make a soprano stew!
Any stupid soprano will do!
Any stewpid soprano will do!
They set the giant pot down in the middle of the stage. The trapeze with the dead
soprano is still swinging above the stage.
We hear the chromatic scale from the Don Giovanni overture again, repeated and
repeated, only now fast and tremolando. To this exciting vamp Schikaneder sud-
denly rides in on a real horse, waving a real sword. With this he cuts the string of
the trapeze, and the soprano falls into the pot. A tremendous splash of water.
Schikaneder rides out. More applause.
All the dwarves produce long wooden cooking spoons and climb up the sides of
the pot. The three girls produce labeled bottles from under their skirts. The first
They throw them into the pot.
(speaking to the dwarves)
How long does it take to cook a soprano?
Five hours, five minutes, five seconds.
I can't wait that long. I'm starving!
(speaking; four voices)
So am I.
Schikaneder marches in as Figaro.
(singing to the tune of Non piu ante)
In the pot, I have got a good dinner.
Not a sausage or stew, but a singer.
Not a sausage or stew but a singer.
Is the treat that I'll eat for my meat!
Oh shut up. I'm sick to death of that tune.
CU, Mozart laughing delightedly with the audience.
THE THREE GIRLS
(singing again to the horse)
Give me your hoof, my darling, and I'll give you my heart.
Shut up. I'm sick of that one too.
All the dwarves climb up the rim of the pot. As they climb, they all hum together
the opening of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
And that one, too!
The soprano rises, dripping with water in the middle of the pot.
Oil me! Broil me! Boil me!
All the dwarves beat her back down into the pot with their long wooden spoons.
(from inside the pot)
Soil me! Foil me! Spoil me!
I can't eat her. Sopranos give me hiccups. I want some hay!
(singing to Schikaneder)
(singing to Schikaneder)
(singing to Schikaneder)
ALL THREE LADIES
(singing to La oi daram)
Give him some hay, my darling, and I'll give you my heart!
Leporello! We want some hay - prestissimo! Leporello - where
The table is raised in the air by Leporello sitting under it on a bale of hay.
(singing to horse)
(singing to horse)
(singing to horse)
Ottavio the horse gives a piercing neigh and runs down to the hay.
Hey! Hey! Watch out!
The vamp starts again vigorously. The horse's rear-end swings around on a hinge
to turn his hind-quarters straight on to the audience. The rest of him stays side-
ways. His tail springs up in the air to reveal a lace handkerchief modestly hiding
Schikaneder offers him a handful of hay. The horse eats it, and out the other end
comes a long Viennese sausage. The audience roars with laughter. Another hand-
ful of hay and out of the other end falls a string of sausages. Then a large pie, crust
and all. Then a shower of iced cakes! Suddenly - silence. Schikaneder produces
an egg from his pocket. Ottavio the horse rears up in disgust.
Whoa! Whoa, Ottavio! Whoa!
Leporello pries open the horse's mouth. Schikaneder pops the egg into it. A
breathless pause as a drum roll builds the tension, up and up and up, and then sud-
denly out of the horse's rear-end flies a single white dove.
It flies into the audience. Immediately all the cast start humming the lyrical finale
from Figaro: Tutti Contenti. More and more doves fly out from the wings and fill
the theatre. Everybody picks up the sausages and cakes and begins to eat. The end
of the sketch is unexpectedly lyrical and magical, and then, suddenly, the tempo
changes and the coarse strains of Ich Mochte wohl Der Kaiser take over and the
whole company is dancing, frantically. A general dance as the curtain falls.
It rises immediately. The audience - including Mozart - is delighted. They ap-
plaud vigorously. Schikaneder takes a bow amongst his troupe. Among much
whistling and clapping, he finally jumps off the stage and strides through the audi-
ence toward the table where Mozart sits with his family. On stage, a troupe of bag
pipers immediately appears to play an old German tune. Some of the audience
joins in singing it.
Well, how do you like that?
Mozart is smiling; he has been amused. Constanze has been less amused and is
Wonderful! (indicating his baby son) He liked the monkey, didn't
Yes, well, it's all good fun.
I liked the horse.
Schikaneder sits at the table, and drinks from a bottle of wine.
Isn't he marvelous? He cost me a bundle, that horse, but he's
worth it. I tell you, if you'd played Don Giovanni here it would
have been a great success. I'm not joking. These people aren't
fools. You could do something marvelous for them.
I'd like to try them someday. I'm not sure I'd be much good at
‘Course you would. You belong here, my boy, not the snobby
Court. You could do anything you felt like here - the more fan-
tastic the better! That's what people want, you know: fantasy.
You do a big production, fill it with beautiful magic tricks and
you'll be absolutely free to do anything you want. Of course,
you'd have to put a fire in it, because I've got the best fire ma-
chine in the city and a big flood - I can do you the finest water
effects you ever saw in your life. Oh, and a few trick animals.
You'd have to use those.
I tell you I picked up a snake in Dresden last week - twelve foot
long - folds up to six inches, just like a paper fan. It's a miracle.
I'm serious. You write a proper part for me with a couple of
catchy songs, I'll guarantee you'll have a triumph-de-luxe. Mind
you, it'll have to be in German.
Of course! What else do you think they speak here?
No, no, I love that. I'd want it to be in German. I haven't done
anything in German since Seraglio.
So there you are. What do you say?
How much will you pay him?
Ah. Well. Ah, (to Mozart) I see you've got your manager with
you. Well, Madame, how about half the receipts?
Half the receipts! Stanzi!
I'm talking about now. How much will you give him now?
Down payment? Who do you think I am? The Emperor?
Whoops, I have to go.
He rises in haste for his next number.
Stay where you are. You're going to like this next one. We'll
speak again. Triumph-de-luxe, my boy!
He winks at Mozart and disappears toward the stage. Mozart looks after him,
You're not going to do this?
Why not? Half the house!
When? We need money now. Either he pays now, or you don't
I don't trust this man. And I didn't like what he did with your
opera. It was common.
Well, you liked it, didn't you? Monkey-flunki-punki.
Half the house! You'll never see a penny. I want it here, in my
Stanzi-manzi, I'll put it in your hand!
Shut up! I'll not let you put anything in my hand until I see some
He giggles like a child.
137 INT. SCHLUMBERG HOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY– 1780's 137
Dogs are barking wickedly. Michael Schlumberg comes in from his salon. Mozart
stands there looking very unwell and bewildered. He is also drunk, but making a
careful attempt to keep his composure.
Herr Mozart. What a surprise. What can I do for you?
Is my pupil still anxious to learn the art of music?
Well, your pupil is married and living in Mannheim, young man.
Really? Perhaps your dear wife might care to profit from my
What is this, Mozart? What's the matter with you?
Well. Since it appears nobody is eager to hire my services, could
you favour me with a little money instead?
If a man cannot earn, he must borrow.
Well, this is hardly the way to go about it.
No doubt, sir. But I am endowed with talent, and you with
money. If I offer mine, you should offer yours.
I'm sorry. No.
Please. I'll give it back, I promise. Please, sir.
My answer is no, Mozart.
CU, Mozart. His voice becomes mechanical.
Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.
138 INT. THE IMPERIAL LIBRARY - DAY - 1790's 138
Von Swieten and Salieri stand close together. Several scholars and students are ex-
amining scrolls and manuscripts at the other end of the room.
(keeping his voice down)
This is embarrassing, you know. You introduced Mozart to some
of my friends and he's begging from practically all of them. It
has to stop.
I agree, Baron.
Can't you think of anyone who might commission some work
from him? I've done my best. I got him to arrange some Bach
for my Sunday concerts. He got a fee - what I could afford.
Can't you think of anyone who might do something for him?
No, Baron, no. I'm afraid Mozart is a lost cause. He has man-
aged to alienate practically the whole of Vienna. He is constantly
drunk. He never pays his debts. I can't think of one person to
whom I dare recommend him.
How sad. It's tragic, isn't it? Such a talent.
Indeed. Just a moment - as a matter of fact I think I do know
someone who could commission a work from him. A very appro-
priate person to do so. Yes.
The opening measures of the Piano Concerto in D Minor steal in.
139 INT. THE COSTUME SHOP - VIENNA - DAY - 1790's 139
This is exactly the same shop which Mozart and Constanze visited with Leopold.
Now Salieri's servant stands in it, waiting. We see a few other customers being
served by the staff: renting masks, costumes, etc. One of the staff emerges from
the back of the shop carrying a large box, which he hands to Salieri's servant. The
servant leaves the shop. Through the window we see him hurrying away through
the snowy street full of passers-by, carriages, etc.
139A INT. SALIERI'S APARTMENT - DUSK - 1790's 139A
The D Minor Concerto continues. Salieri, alone, eagerly opens the box from the
costume shop and takes out the same dark cloak and hat that Leopold wore to the
masquerade, only now attached to the hat is a dark mask whose mouth is cut into a
frown, not a laugh. It presents a bitter and menacing expression. He puts on the
cloak, the hat and the mask and turns his back. Suddenly we see the assembled
and alarming image reflected in a full-length mirror. The music swells darkly.
140 EXT. A SNOWY STREET IN VIENNA - DUSK - 1790's 140
As the tutti of the D Minor Concerto continues, we see Salieri, dressed in this men-
acing costume, dark against the snow, stalking through a street which is otherwise
lively with people going to various festivities. Some of them wear frivolous carnival
141 INT. MOZART'S LIVING ROOM - DUSK - 1790's 141
Mozart sits writing at a table. He appears now to be really quite sick. His face ex-
presses pain from his stomach cramps. There is a gentle knock at the door. He
rises, goes to he door and opens it. Immediately there is a SHOCK CUT:
The dark, frowning mask stares at him and at us. The violent D Minor chord
which opens Don Giovanni is heard. Salieri in costume stands in the doorway.
The second chord sounds and fades. Mozart stares in panic.
I have come to commission work from you.
A Mass for the dead.
What dead? Who is dead?
A man who deserved a Requiem Mass and never got one.
Who are you?
I am only a messenger. Do you accept? You will be paid well.
Salieri extends his hand. In it is a bag of money.
Fifty ducats. Another fifty when I have the Mass. Do you ac-
Almost against his will, Mozart takes the money.
How long will you give me?
Work fast. And be sure to tell no one what you do. You will see
me again soon.
He turns away. Mozart closes the front door. Instantly we hear the opening of the
Requiem Mass (also in D Minor). Mozart turns and looks up at the portrait of his
father on the wall. The portrait stares back. Constanze opens the door from the
bedroom. She sees him staring up.
He looks at her with startled eyes. The music breaks off.
Who was that?
I heard voices.
He gives a strange little giggle.
What's the matter?
She sees the bag of money.
What's that? Oh! (pouncing on it) Who gave you this? How
much is it? Wolfi, who gave you this?
I'm not telling you.
You'd think I was mad.
He stares at her. She stares at him.
142 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT - 1823 142
Old Salieri is now wildly animated, totally driven by his confession to Vogler.
My plan was so simple, it terrified me. First I must get the Death Mass and then
achieve the death.
Vogler stares at him in horror.
His funeral - imagine it! The Cathedral, all Vienna sitting there.
His coffin, Mozart's little coffin in the middle. And suddenly in
that silence, music. A divine music bursts out over them all, a
great Mass of Death: Requiem Mass for Wolfgang Mozart, com-
posed by his devoted friend Antonio Salieri. What sublimity!
What depth! What passion in the music! Salieri has been touched
by God at last. And God, forced to listen. Powerless - power-
less to stop it. I at the end, for once, laughing at Him. Do you
understand? Do you?
The only thing that worried me was the actual killing. How does
one do that? How does one kill a man? It's one thing to dream
about it. It's very different when you have to do it, with your
He raises his own hands and stares at them. The raging Dies Irae from Mozart's
Requiem Mass bursts upon us.
143 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 143
Mozart sits working frantically at this demonic music. His whole expression is one
of wildness and engulfing fever. He pours wine down his throat, spilling it, and
grimaces as it hits his stomach. All around him are manuscripts. There is a bang-
ing at the front door. Mozart does not hear it; the music raves on. Another
knocking comes, louder. Constanze appears from the bedroom and stares at her
distracted husband. The knocking is repeated again, even more violently and
He looks at her. The music breaks off. Silence. An enormous bang at the door
Constanze moves to open it.
No. Don't answer it!
Mozart springs up. He is clearly terrified.
Tell him I'm not here. Tell him I'm working on it. Come back
He runs out of he room, into his workroom, and shuts he door. Now a little
scared herself, Constanze goes to he front door and opens it cautiously.
Schikaneder stands there, floridly dressed as usual. Lorl is seen peeking out from
Am I interrupting something?
Not at all.
(peering into he room)
Where's our friend?
He's not in. But he's working on it. He said to tell you.
I hope so. I need it immediately.
He pushes her into the room.
Is he happy with it?
He sees he manuscript on the table, and goes to it eagerly.
Is this it?
He picks up a page without waiting for a reply.
What the devil is this? Requiem Mass? Does he think I'm in the
Mozart opens he workroom door. We see him as Schikaneder sees him: wild-eyed,
extremely pale and strange.
Leave that alone!
Put it down!
What is this?
Put it down, I said! It's nothing for you.
Oh! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! What have you got for me? Is it
“What? The vaudeville, what'd you think?
Can I see it?
Because there's nothing to see.
He giggles triumphantly. Schikaneder stares at him.
Look, I asked you if we could start rehearsal next week and you
Well, we can.
So let me see it. Where is it?
Mozart, with a bright, rather demented smile presents his head to Schikaneder.
Here. It's all right here, in my noodle. The rest is just scribbling.
Scribbling and bibbling. Bibbling and scribbling. Would you like
He giggles. Schikaneder suddenly grabs his lapels.
Look, you little clown, do you know how many people I've hired
for you? Do you know how many people are waiting?
Leave him alone!
I'm paying these people. Do you realize that?
He's doing his best.
I'm paying people just to wait for you. It's ridiculous!
You know what's ridiculous? Your libretto, that's what's
ridiculous. Only an idiot would ask Wolfi to work on that stuff!
Oh yes? And what's so intelligent about writing a Requiem?
You're mad! She's mad, Wolfi.
Oh yes, and who are you? He's worked for Kings. For the
Emperor. (shouting) Who are you?
Schikaneder suddenly takes Mozart by the arms, and speaks to him with intense
Listen, Wolfi. Write it. Please. Just write it down. On paper.
It's no good to anyone in your head. And fuck he Death Mass.
144 INT. SALIERI'S SALON - DAY - 1790's 144
A frightened and tearful Lorl sits before Salieri.
Now calm yourself. Calm. What's the matter with you?
I'm leaving. I'm not working there anymore. I'm scared!
Why? What has happened?
You don't know what it's like. Herr Mozart frightens me. He
drinks all day, then takes all that medicine and it makes him
I don't know. He has pains.
Here, in his stomach. They bend him right over.
Is he working?
I'm frightened, sir. Really! When he speaks, he doesn't make any
sense. You know he said he saw - he said he saw his father. And
his father's dead.
Is he working?
I suppose so. He sits there all he time, doing some silly opera.
Please don't ask me to go back again. I'm frightened! I'm very,
Are you sure it's an opera?
The Overture to The Magic Flute begins grandly. To the music of the slow intro-
duction, we see:
145 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 145
The room, lit by a few candles, appears dirty. The camera shows us again
Leopold's portrait on the wall, looking down upon a scene of disorder. Papers lit-
ter the table; dirty dishes are piled in the fireplace; on the forte-piano lies Mozart's
Masonic apron, woven with symbols. To the more lyrical passage of the introduc-
tion, we see Mozart take up a candle and enter:
146 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 146
We watch him stand beside Constanze, who lies asleep. Mozart now looks very ill;
his wife appears worn out. Tenderly he touches her hair. Then he moves to the cot
where his son Karl lies asleep and kneels, pulls up the child's little blanket and for a
moment lays his own head down beside the boy's. Constanze opens her eyes and
stares at him. Mozart rises and returns to:
147 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 147
The Introduction ends and suddenly the brilliant fast fugue begins. Instantly
Mozart starts to dance to it, all alone: gleefully, like a child. He looks up at his fa-
ther's portrait, and makes a silly, rude gesture at it. He is, briefly, an irresponsible
and happy boy again. Then suddenly there is a gentle knocking at the door. The
music fades down. Warily, Mozart crosses and opens he door. The familiar dark
chords from Don Giovanni cut across the happy music. It ends. Before him stands
the masked stranger.
I don't have it yet. It's not finished. I'm sorry, but I need more
Are you neglecting my request?
No, no! I promise you, I'll give you a wonderful piece - the best
I ever can!
He turns and looks. Constanze has come into the living room. Nervously, Mozart
This is my wife, Stanzi. I've been sick, but I'm all right now.
Oh yes, sir. He's all right. And he's working on it very hard.
Give me two more weeks. Please.
Salieri contemplates them both.
The sooner you finish, the better your reward. Work!
He turns and goes down the stairs. Mozart shuts the door; he closes his eyes in
Wolfi, I think you really are going mad. You work like a slave for
that idiot actor who won't give you a penny and here. This is not
a ghost! This is a real man who puts down real money. Why on
earth don't you finish it?
He will not look at her or reply.
Give me one reason I can understand.
I can't write it!
It's killing me.
He looks at her suddenly.
No, this is really awful. You're drunk, aren't you? Be honest -
tell me - you've been drinking. And I'm so stupid I stay here
and listen to you!
Suddenly she starts to cry.
It's not fair! I worry about you all the time. I try to help you all I
can and you just drink and talk nonsense and - and frighten me!
It's not fair!
Her tears flow. Mozart looks at her helplessly.
Go back to bed.
Please! Let me sit here. Let me stay here with you. I promise I
won't say all word. I'll just be here, so you know no one's going
to hurt you. Please, please!
She sits down tearfully, staring at him.
We hear the Rex Tremendai Majestatis from the Requiem and see on the wall the
portrait of Leopold Mozart looking down. The camera pans slowly downward
from it back to the table. Mozart is writing the music. He looks up and sees that
Constanze is fast asleep in her chair. Mozart gets up quietly. He puts on his hat
and cloak, takes a bottle of wine and tiptoes from the house. Without stopping,
the music changes from the heavy Requiem to the light-hearted patter of the Papa-
Papa duet from The Magic Flute.
148 INT. SCHIKANEDER'S SUMMER HOUSE - NIGHT - 1790's 148
This little wooden structure stands in a courtyard in the tenement by the Weiden.
Inside, we see a table, chairs, a forte-piano, bottles and a chaos of papers. Strewn
about in the chairs are the three actresses, giggling. Schikaneder and Mozart, both
drunk, are singing the duet of the two bird-people. The actor sings Papageno and
the composer, in a soprano voice, sings Papagena at the keyboard. Absurdly, they
end up rubbing noses and fall on each other' s necks.
148A EXT. VIENNA STREET - NIGHT - 1790's 148A
Mozart, drunk and happy, staggers back through the snow. There are a few people
about. He goes into his apartment building.
150 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - DAY - 1790's 150
He comes through he door and stares across the living room at an open bedroom
door. Puzzled, he crosses.
The bedroom is also empty. We see Constanze's empty bed; Karl's empty bed;
He looks about him, puzzled.
151 INT. FRAU WEBER'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY - 1790's 151
Frau Weber sits grimly talking. Mozart sits also, completely exhausted and passive
under the rain of her constant speech.
She's not coming back, you know. She's gone for good. I did it
and I'm proud of it. “Leave, I said. “Right away! Take he child
and go, just go. Here's the money! Go to the Spa and get your
health back - that's if you can. I was shocked. Shocked to my
foundation. Is that my girl? Can that be my Stanzi? The happy
little moppet I brought up, that poor trembling thing? Oh, you
monster! No one exists but you, do they? You and your music!
Do you know how often she's sat in that very chair, weeping her
eyes out of her head because of you? I warned her. “Choose a
man, not a baby, I said. But would she listen? Who listens?
“He's just a silly boy, she says. Silly, my arse. Selfish - that's all
you are. Selfish! Selfish, selfish, selfish, selfish, selfish.
And with a scream Madame Weber's voice turns into the shrill packing coloratura
of the second act aria of the Queen of the Night, in The Magic Flute.
152 INT. SCHIKANEDER'S THEATRE - NIGHT - 1790's 152
On stage we see the QUEEN OF THE NIGHT fantastically costumed, furiously
urging her daughter to kill Sarastro. As she sings, we see the interior of the theatre,
now re-arranged from when we last visited it to watch the Cabaret. An audience of
ordinary German citizens stands in the pit area, or sits: they are rapt and excited.
The theatre also possesses boxes; some of these show closed curtains - their inhabi-
tants presumably engaged in private intimacies. In one of them sits Salieri.
QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
A hellish wrath within my heart is seething!
Death and destruction
Flame around my throne!
If not by thee
Sarastro's light be extinguished.
Then be thou mine own daughter never more!
Rejected be forever!
So sundered be forever
All the bonds of kin and blood!
Hear! Hear! Hear God of Vengeance!
Hear thy Mother's vow!
Thunder and lightning. She disappears amidst tremendous applause from the
153 EXT. OUTSIDE THE THEATRE - NIGHT - 1790's 153
On the poster for The Magic Flute, the name Emmanuel Schikaneder should ap-
pear very, very large and the name of Mozart quite small:
I. & R. priv. Weiden Theatre
The Actors of the Imperial and Royal privileged Theatre of the Weiden
have the honour to perform
THE MAGIC FLUTE
A Grand Opera in Two Acts by Emmanuel Schikaneder
(The Cast List)
The music is by Herr Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Herr Mozart out of respect for a gracious and honourable
Public, and from friendship for the author of this piece, will today direct the orchestra in person.
The book of the opera, furnished with two copperplates, of which is engraved Herr Schikaneder in the
costume he wears for the role of Papageno, may be had at the box office for 30 kr.
Prices of admission are as usual
To begin at 7 o'clock
154 INT. STAGE, AUDITORIUM AND WINGS OF SCHIKANEDER'S 154
THEATRE - NIGHT -1790's
We CUT TO the scene immediately before Papageno's song, Ein Madchen oder
Weibchen. Papageno, played by Schikaneder, dressed in his costume of feathers, is
trying to get through a mysterious door. A voice calls from within.
Merciful Gods! If only I knew by which door I came in. (to audi-
ence) Which was it? Was it this one? Come on, tell me!
Now, I can't go forward and I can't go back. Oh, this is awful!
He weeps extravagantly.
In the pit, Mozart indicates to the first violinist to take over as conductor. He slips
from his place and goes stealthily backstage. We follow him. Over the scene we
hear Papageno being addressed by “the First Priest in stern tones.
Man, thou hast deserved to wander forever in the darkest chasms
of the earth. The gentle Gods have remitted thy punishment, but
yet thou shalt never feel the Divine Content of the consecrated
Oh well, I'm not alone in that. Just give me a decent glass of
wine - that's divine content enough for me.
Laughter. An enormous goblet of wine appears out of the earth.
We follow Mozart into the wings. Actors and actresses stand around in fantastic
costumes. We see a flying chariot and parts of a huge snake lying about. Also the
scenery door of a temple with the word “Wisdom inscribed on the pediment.
Mozart walks to where there stands a keyboard glockenspiel with several manuals,
and a musician waiting to play it. Silently Mozart indicates that he wishes to play
the instrument himself.
On stage Schikaneder is being addressed haughtily by the First Priest.
Man, hast thou no other desire on earth, but just to eat and drink?
Laughter from the audience.
Well, actually I do have a rather weird feeling in my heart.
Perhaps it's just indigestion. But you know, I really would like -
I really do want - something even nicer than food and drink.
Now what on earth could that be?
He stares at the audience and winks at them. They laugh.
Now Papageno's aria (Ein Madchen oder Weibchen) begins. It is interpolated, as he
pretends to play his magic bells, with the glockenspiel actually being played off-
stage by Mozart. Schikaneder looks into the pit and does not see Mozart conduct-
ing. He looks into the wings and realizes the situation with amusement. He sings
joyfully and the audience watches entranced.
A sweetheart or a pretty little wife is Papageno's wish.
A willing, billing, lovey dovey
My most tasty little dish.
Be my most tasty little dish!
Be my most tasty little dish!
Then that would be eating and drinking
I'd live like a Prince without thinking.
The wisdom of old would be mine -
A woman's much better than wine!
Then that would be eating and drinking!
The wisdom of old would be mine -
A woman's much better than wine.
She's much better than wine!
She's much better than wine!
(encore, lightly, as before)
A sweetheart or a pretty little wife is Papageno's wish.
A willing, billing, lovey dovey
My most tasty little dish.
I need to net one birdie only
And I will stop feeling so lonely.
But if she won't fly to my aid,
Then into a ghost I must fade.
I need to net one birdie only
But if she won't fly to my aid,
Then into a ghost I must fade.
To a ghost I must fade!
To a ghost I must fade!
A sweetheart or a pretty little wife is Papageno's wish.
A willing, billing, lovey dovey
My most tasty little dish.
At present the girls only peck me.
Their cruelty surely will wreck me.
But one little beak in my own,
And I'll up to heaven be flown!
At present the girls only peck me.
But one little beak in my own,
And I'll up to heaven be flown.
Up to heaven be flown!
Up to heaven be flown!
At certain moments we see the stage from Salieri's point of view: Schikaneder
singing, then pretending to play; and then we see Mozart playing the glockenspiel
with great flourishes in the wings. Then, suddenly, the actor mimes playing, and
no sound comes. He mimes again, but still nothing comes. He looks offstage in
anxiety; there is evidently some commotion. People are looking down on the
floor. The song comes to a near-halt. Schikaneder stares. Then the comedian sig-
nals to the deputy conductor to pick up the song and finish it. At this moment
Salieri gets up and hastily leaves his box.
155 INT. WINGS OF SCHIKANEDER'S THEATRE - NIGHT - 1790's 155
We see the actress playing Papagena, wearing an old tattered cloak and about to tie
a little painted cloth representing a hideous old woman over her face. She is look-
ing worriedly down at Mozart, who is lying unconscious on the floor. A few peo-
ple around him are trying to revive him. One has put a wet handkerchief around
his temples. Another is holding a small bottle of smelling salts. There are voices
saying, “Doctor! Take him to a dressing room. Someone call a carriage. Take
him home. etc. Papagena is urged to go on stage by a distracted stage manager.
Suddenly we hear the voice of Salieri.
I'll take care of him.
He steps forward.
I have a carriage. Excuse me.
The actors step back respectfully. He stoops and picks up the frail composer in his
arms. Mozart is quite limp and Salieri has to fling his arms around his own neck.
All this is watched nervously by Schikaneder on stage whilst performing his scene
with Papagena as an ugly old woman.
UGLY OLD WOMAN
Here I am, my angel.
What? Who the devil are you?
UGLY OLD WOMAN
I've taken pity on you, my angel. I heard your wish.
Oh. Well, thank you! How wonderful. Some people get all the
Audience laughter. The actress raises the little painted cloth with the ugly old face
on it to show her own pretty young one to the audience. More laughter.
UGLY OLD WOMAN
Now you've got to promise me faithfully you'll remain true to me
forever. Then you'll see how tenderly your little birdie will love
I can't wait.
UGLY OLD WOMAN
Well, promise then.
What do you mean - now?
UGLY OLD WOMAN
Of course now. Right away, before I get any older.
Well, I don't know! I mean you're a delicious, delightful,
delectable little bird, but don't you think you might be just a lit-
UGLY OLD WOMAN
Oh, I'm tender enough for you, my boy. I'm tender enough for
156 EXT. SCHIKANEDER'S THEATRE - NIGHT - 1790's 156
A waiting sedan chair. Mozart has recovered consciousness, but looks exceedingly
ill. Salieri has set him down in the winter's night. Snow is falling.
What happened? Is it over?
I'm taking you home. You're not well.
No, no. I have to get back. I have -
He starts to collapse again. Salieri helps him into the sedan. The door is shut. The
chair sets off and Salieri strides beside it, through the mean street. A lantern with a
candle swings from the chair.
157 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 157
The door opens. Salieri enters carrying the lantern from the sedan chair. He is
followed by Mozart, carried in the arms of one of the porters. The room is now
really in complete disarray. The table is piled high with music: the pages of the
Requiem lie amongst many empty wine bottles. The porter carries Mozart into
158 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 158
This room is miserably neglected. The bed is unmade, clothes lie about on the
floor. A sock has been stuck into the broken pane of one window. The porter lays
Mozart down on the bed as Salieri lights candles from the lantern to reveal plates
of half-eaten food and other signs left by a man whose wife has departed. It is ob-
viously very cold. Another very small bed nearby belongs to the child, Karl.
(handing the porter the lantern)
Thank you. Go.
The porter leaves the room. Mozart stirs.
He opens his eyes and sees Salieri staring down at him. He smiles.
He helps him to sit up and takes off his coat and his shoes and puts a coverlet
Where is your wife?
Not here! She's not well, either. She went to the Spa.
You mean she's not coming back?
You're so good to me. Truly. Thank you.
I mean to come to my opera. You are the only colleague who
He struggles to loosen his cravat. Salieri does it for him.
I would never miss anything that you had written. You must
This is only a vaudeville.
Oh no. It is a sublime piece. The grandest operone. I tell you,
you are the greatest composer known to me.
Do you mean that?
I have bad fancies. I don't sleep well anymore. Then I drink too
much, and think stupid things.
Are you ill?
The doctor thinks I am. But -
I'm too young to be so sick.
There is a violent knocking at the front door. Mozart starts and looks around
Shall I answer it?
No! No, it's him!
The man. He's here.
The knocking increases in loudness, terrifying Mozart.
Tell him to go away. Tell him I'm still working on it. Don't let
Salieri moves to the door.
Wait! Ask him if he'd give me some money now. Tell him if he
would, that would help me finish it.
He knows. He knows!
Salieri leaves the room.
159 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 159
Salieri goes to the front door and opens it to reveal Schikaneder, who has obviously
come straight from the theatre. He still wears his bird make-up and under his
street cloak, his feathered costume is clearly seen. He has with him the three ac-
tresses, also looking anxious and also in make-up as the three attendants in The
Yes, I am looking after him.
Can we come in?
Well, he's sleeping now. Better not.
But he's all right?
Oh, yes. He's just exhausted. He became dizzy, that's all. We
should let him rest.
Well, tell him we were here, won't you?
And say everything went wonderfully. A triumph-de-luxe - say
that! Tell him the audience shouted his name a hundred times.
I'll call tomorrow.
Yes. (to the actresses) And congratulations to all of you. It was
Thank you! Thank you, Excellency!
Schikaneder produces a bag of money.
Oh, by the way, give him this. This is his share. That should
cheer him up, eh?
Yes, indeed. Goodnight to you all now. It was perfection -
Goodnight, Your Excellency. Goodnight!
They bob and curtsey. Schikaneder stares at Salieri, uneasily, vaguely suspicious.
Salieri smiles back at him and shuts the door. He stays for a moment, thinking.
He contemplates the money.
160 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 160
Mozart is sitting up in bed, staring at the door. It opens. Salieri returns. He holds
in his hand the bag of money.
Salieri pours the coins out of the bag onto the coverlet.
He said to give you this. And if you finish the work by tomorrow
night, he will pay you another hundred ducats.
Mozart looks at the coins astonished.
Another? But that's too soon! Tomorrow night? It's impossible!
Did he say a hundred?
Yes. Can I - could I help you, in any way?
Would you? Actually, you could.
My dear friend, it would be my greatest pleasure.
But you'd have to swear not to tell a soul. I'm not allowed.
You know, it's all here in my head. It's just ready to be set down.
But when I'm dizzy like this my eyes won't focus. I can't write.
Then, let us try together. I'd regard it as such an honour. Tell
me, what is this work?
A Mass. A Mass for the Dead.
161 INT. A SMALL DANCE HALL - BADEN - NIGHT - 1790's 161
Trivial dance music is playing. Constanze is doing a waltz with a young
OFFICER in military uniform. At the moment we see her, she stops abruptly, as
if in panic.
What is it?
I want to go!
I want to go back to Vienna.
I feel wrong. I feel wrong being here.
(laying a hand on her arm)
What are you talking about?
162 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 162
Mozart is sitting up in bed, propped against pillows. The coins lie on the coverlet;
many candles burn in the necks of bottles. Salieri, without coat or wig, is seated at
an improvised worktable. On it are blank sheets of music paper, quills, and ink.
Also the score of the Requiem Mass as so far composed. Mozart is bright-eyed with
a kind of fever. Salieri is also possessed with an obviously feverish desire to put
down the notes as quickly as Mozart can dictate them.
Where did I stop?
(consulting the manuscript)
The end of the Recordare - Statuens in parte dextra.
So now the Confutatis. Confutatis Maledictis. “When the wicked
are confounded. Flammis acribus addictis. How would you
“Consigned to flames of woe.
Do you believe in it?
A fire which never dies. Burning one forever?
Come. Let's begin.
He takes his pen.
We ended in F Major?
So now - A minor. Suddenly.
Salieri writes the key signature.
Salieri writes this, and continues now to write as swiftly and urgently as he can, at
Mozart's dictation. He is obviously highly expert at doing this and hardly hesi-
tates. His speed, however, can never be too fast for Mozart's impatient mind.
Start with the voices. Basses first. Second beat of the first mea-
sure - A. (singing the note) Con-fu-ta-tis. (speaking) Second mea-
sure, second beat. (singing) Ma-le-dic-tis. (speaking) G-sharp, of
Third measure, second beat starting on E. (singing) Flam-mis a-
cri-bus ad-dic-tis. (speaking) And fourth measure, fourth beat -
D. (singing) Ma-le-dic-tis, flam-mis a-cri-bus ad-dic-tis. (speaking)
Do you have that?
I think so.
Sing it back.
Salieri sings back the first six measures of the bass line. After the first two measures
a chorus of basses fades in on the soundtrack and engulfs his voice. They stop.
Good. Now the tenors. Fourth beat of the first measure - C.
(singing) Con-fu-ta-tis. (speaking) Second measure, fourth beat on
D. (singing) Ma-le-dic-tis. (speaking) All right?
Fourth measure, second beat - F. (singing) Flam-mis a-cri-bus
ad-dic-tis, flam-mis a-cri-bus ad-dic-tis.
His voice is lost on the last words, as tenors engulf it and take over the soundtrack,
singing their whole line from the beginning, right to the end of the sixth measure
where the basses stopped, but he goes on mouthing the sounds with them. Salieri
writes feverishly. We see his pen jotting down the notes as quickly as possible: the
ink flicks onto the page. The music stops again.
Now the orchestra. Second bassoon and bass trombone with the
basses. Identical notes and rhythm. (he hurriedly hums the open-
ing notes of the bass vocal line) The first bassoon and tenor
(labouring to keep up)
Please! Just one moment.
Mozart glares at him, irritated. His hands move impatiently. Salieri scribbles
It couldn't be simpler.
First bassoon and tenor trombone - what?
With the tenors.
Exactly. The instruments to go with the voices. Trumpets and
timpani, tonic and dominant.
He again hums the bass vocal line from the beginning, conducting. On the sound-
track, we hear the second bassoon and bass trombone play it with him and the first
bassoon and tenor trombone come in on top, playing the tenor vocal line. We also
hear the trumpets and timpani. The sound is bare and grim. It stops at the end of
the sixth measure. Salieri stops writing.
And that's all?
Oh no. Now for the Fire. (he smiles) Strings in unison - ostinato
on all - like this.
He sings the urgent first measure of the ostinato.
Second measure on B.
He sings the second measure of the ostinato.
Do you have me?
I think so.
Salieri sings the first two measures of the string ostinato.
Good, good - yes! Put it down. And the next measures exactly
the same, rising and rising - C to D to E, up to the dominant
chord. Do you see?
As Salieri writes, Mozart sings the ostinato from the beginning, but the unaccom-
panied strings overwhelm his voice on the soundtrack, playing the first six bars of
their agitated accompaniment. They stop.
Yes, yes - go on. The Voca Me. Suddenly sotto voce. Write that
down: sotto voce, pianissimo. Voca me cum benedictis. “Call me
among the blessed.
He is now sitting bolt upright, hushed and inspired.
C Major. Sopranos and altos in thirds. Altos on C. Sopranos
above. (singing the alto part) Vo-ca, vo-ca me, vo-ca me cum be-
Sopranos up to F on the second ‘Voca'?
Yes, and on ‘dictis'.
He writes feverishly.
And underneath, just violins - arpeggio.
He sings the violin figure under the Voca Me (Bars 7,8,9).
The descending scale in eighth notes, and then back suddenly to
the fire again.
He sings the ostinato phrase twice.
And that's it. Do you have it?
You go fast!
Do you have it?
Then let me hear it. All of it. The whole thing from the begin-
ning - now!
The entire Confutatis bursts over the room, as Mozart snatches the manuscript
pages from Salieri and reads from it, singing. Salieri sits looking on in wondering
astonishment. The music continues right through the following scenes, to the end
of the movement.
163 EXT. A COUNTRY ROAD - WINTER NIGHT - 1790's 163
A carriage is driving fast through the night. Snow lies on the countryside.
164 INT. THE CARRIAGE NIGHT - 1790's 164
The carriage is filled with passengers. Among them Constanze and Karl, her
young son. They are sleepless and sway to the motion of the vehicle.
165 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 165
Mozart lying in bed exhausted, but still dictating urgently. We do not hear what
he is saying to Salieri, who still sits writing assiduously. Mozart is looking very
sick: sweat is pouring from his forehead.
166 EXT. A COUNTRY ROAD - WINTER NIGHT - 1790's 166
The carriage, moving through the night, to the sound of the music.
167 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 167
Mozart still dictating; Salieri still writing without stop.
168 EXT. VIENNA STREET - DAWN - 1790's. 168
The carriage has arrived. Constanze and her son alight with other passengers.
Postillions attend to the horses. She takes her boy's hand. It is a cold wintry
The music stutters to a close. End of the Confutatis.
166A INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1790's 166A
Do you want to rest a bit?
Oh no. I'm not tired at all.
We'll stop for just a moment. Then we'll do the Lacrimosa.
I can keep going, I assure you. Shall we try?
Would you stay with me while I sleep a little?
I'm not leaving you.
I am so ashamed.
I was foolish. I thought you did not care for my work - or me.
Forgive me. Forgive me!
Mozart closes his eyes. Salieri stares at him.
168B EXT. VIENNA STREET - WINTRY DAWN - 1790's 168B
Constanze and Karl approach along the cobbled street, hand in hand toward their
house. Snow lies in the street.
168C INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAWN - 1790's 168C
Mozart lies asleep in the bed, holding the last pages of the manuscript. Salieri lies
across from him on Karl's small bed in his shirt sleeves and waistcoat. The child's
bed is obviously too small for him and he is forced in to a cramped position.
169 EXT. MOZART'S APARTMENT HOUSE - DAWN - 1790's 169
Constanze and Karl arrive at the door. They enter.
170 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAWN - 1790's 170
It is as disordered as before, save that the table, previously littered with pages, is
now completely bare. Constanze looks at it with surprise and enters the bedroom.
171 INT. MOZART'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAWN - 1790's 171
Mozart is asleep in the bed. Salieri is dozing on the nearby child's bed. The room
is full of the trailing smoke from guttering and guttered candles. Startled by
Constanze's entrance and her young son, Salieri scrambles up. As he does so, he at-
tempts to button his waistcoat, but does it ineptly, so that the vestment becomes
bunched up, making him look absurd.
What are you doing here?
Your husband is ill, ma'am. He took sick. I brought him home.
I was! at hand.
Well, thank you very much. You can go now.
He needs me, ma'am.
No, he doesn't. And I don't want you here. Just go, please.
He asked me to stay.
And I'm asking you -
She notices a movement from the bed. Mozart wakes. He sees Constanze and
smiles with real joy. Forgetting Salieri, she goes to her husband.
Wolfi, I'm back. I'm still very angry with you, but I missed you
She throws herself on the bed.
I'll never leave you again. If you'll just try a little harder to be
nice to me. And I'll try to do better, too. We must. We must!
This was just silly and stupid.
She hugs her husband desperately. He stares at her with obvious relief, not able to
speak. Suddenly she sees the manuscript in his hand.
What is this?
She looks at it and recognizes it.
Oh no, not this. Not this, Wolfi! You're not to work on this ever
again! I've decided.
She takes it from his weak hand. At the same moment Salieri reaches out his hand
to take it and add it to the pile on the table. She stares at him, trying to under-
stand - suspicious and frightened and at the same time unable to make a sound.
Mozart makes a convulsive gesture to reclaim the pages. The coins brought by
Salieri fall on the floor. Karl runs after them, laughing.
This is not his handwriting.
No. I! was assisting him. He asked me.
He's not going to work on this anymore. It is making him ill.
She extends her hand for the Requiem, as she stands up. Salieri hesitates.
With extreme reluctance - it costs him agony to do it - Salieri hands over the
score of the Requiem to her.
She marches with the manuscript over to a large chest in the room, opens it, throws
the manuscript inside, shuts the lid, locks it and pockets the key. Involuntarily
Salieri stretches out his arms for the lost manuscript.
But - but - but -
She turns and faces him.
He stares at her, stunned.
I regret we have no servants to show you out, Herr Salieri.
Respect my wish and go.
Madame, I will respect his. He asked me to stay here.
They look at each other in mutual hatred. She turns to the bed. Mozart appears to
have gone to sleep again.
Wolfi? (louder) Wolfi?
She moves to the bed. The child is playing with the coins on the floor. Faintly we
hear the start of the Lacrimosa from the Requiem. Salieri watches as she touches her
husband's hand. As the music grows, we realize that Mozart is dead.
CU, Constanze staring wide-eyed in dawning apprehension.
CU, Salieri also comprehending hat he has been cheated.
The music rises.
CU, The child on the floor, playing with the money.
172 EXT. STEPHEN'S CATHEDRAL - VIENNA - A RAINY DAY - 1790's 172
The Lacrimosa continues through all of the following: a small group of people
emerges from the side door into the raw, wet day, accompanying a cheap wooden
coffin. The coffin is borne by a gravedigger and Schikaneder in mourning clothes.
They load it onto a cart, drawn by a poor black horse. All the rest are in black,
also: Salieri, Von Swieten, Constanze and her son, Karl, Madame Weber and her
youngest daughter Sophie, and even Lorl, the maid. It is drizzling. The cart sets
off. The group follows.
173 EXT. OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS OF VIENNA - RAINY DAY - 1790's 173
The group has already passed beyond the city limits following the miserable cart.
The Lacrimosa accompanies them with its measured thread. The drizzle of rain has
now become heavy. One by one, the group breaks up and shelters under the trees.
The cart moves on toward the cemetery, alone, followed by nobody, growing
more and more distant. They watch it go. Salieri and Von Swieten shake hands
mournfully, the water soaking their black tall hats. Schikaneder is in tears.
Constanze is near collapse. Salieri moves to assist her, but she turns away from
him, seeking the arm of Cavalieri. Madame Weber takes Karl's hand.
The music builds to its climax on Dona Eis Pacem! We CUT back to:
174 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - MORNING - 1823 174
Morning light fills the room. Old Salieri sits weeping convulsively, as the music
stops. Tears stream down his face. Vogler watches him, amazed.
Why? Why? Why? Why add to your misery by confessing to
murder? You didn't kill him.
No, you didn't!
I poisoned his life.
But not his body.
What difference does that make?
My son, why should you want all Vienna to believe you a mur-
derer? Is that your penance? Is it?
No, Father. From now on no one will be able to speak of Mozart
without thinking of me. Whenever they say Mozart with love,
they'll have to say Salieri with loathing. And that's my immortal-
ity - at last! Our names will be tied together for eternity - his
in fame and mine in infamy. At least it's better than the total
oblivion he'd planned for me, your merciful God!
Oh my son, my poor son!
Don't pity me. Pity yourself. You serve a wicked God. He
killed Mozart, not I. Took him, snatched him away, without
pity. He destroyed His beloved rather than let a mediocrity like
me get the smallest share in his glory. He doesn't care.
Understand that. God cares nothing for the man He denies and
nothing either for the man He uses. He broke Mozart in half
when He'd finished with him, and threw him away. Like an old,
worn out flute.
175 EXT. CEMETERY OF ST. MARX - LATE AFTERNOON - 1790's 175
The rain has eased off. A LOCAL PRIEST with two boy acolytes is standing be-
side an open communal grave. Mozart's body is lifted out of the cheap pine box in
a sack. We see that the grave contains twenty other such sacks. The gravedigger
throws the one containing Mozart amongst the others. An assistant pours quick-
lime over the whole pile of them. The acolytes swing their censers.
The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of
CUT BACK TO:
176 INT. OLD SALIERI'S HOSPITAL ROOM - MORNING - 1823 176
Why did He do it? Why didn't He kill me? I had no value.
What was the use, keeping me alive for thirty-two years of tor-
ture? Thirty-two years of honours and awards.
He tears off the Civilian Medal and Chain with which the Emperor invested him
and has been wearing the whole time and throws it across the room.
Being bowed to and saluted, called “distinguished -
“Distinguished Salieri - by men incapable of distinguishing!
Thirty-two years of meaningless fame to end up alone in my
room, watching myself become extinct. My music growing
fainter, all the time fainter, until no one plays it at all. And his
growing louder, filling the world with wonder. And everyone
who loves my sacred art crying, “Mozart! Bless you, Mozart.
The door opens. An attendant comes in, cheerful and hearty.
Good morning, Professor! Time for the water closet. And then
we've got your favourite breakfast for you - sugar-rolls. (to
Vogler) He loves those. Fresh sugar-rolls.
Salieri ignores him and stares only at the priest, who stares back.
Goodbye, Father. I'll speak for you. I speak for all mediocrities
in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint. On
their behalf I deny Him, your God of no mercy. Your God who
tortures men with longings they can never fulfill. He may forgive
me: I shall never forgive Him.
He signs to the attendant, who wheels him in his chair out of the room. The priest
stares after him.
177 INT. CORRIDOR OF THE HOSPITAL - MORNING - 1823 177
The corridor is filled with patients in white linen smocks, all taking their morning
exercise walk in the care of nurses and nuns. They form a long, wretched, strange
procession - some of them are clearly very disturbed. As Old Salieri is pushed
through them in his wheelchair, he lifts his hands to them in benediction.
Mediocrities everywhere, now and to come: I absolve you all!
Amen! Amen! Amen!
Finally, he turns full-face to the camera and blesses us the audience, making the
Sign of the Cross. Underneath we hear, stealing in and growing louder, the
tremendous Masonic Funeral Music of Mozart.
On the last four chords, we