The anticipation of love fulfilled fired Mozart’s imagination in Lucio Silla, an opera filled with music of tremendous passion, vigor, and variety. Lucio Silla is a tyrannical ruler, whose path to enlightenment leads him to renounce his throne and conquer his sensual desires, bringing freedom to his subjects and reuniting two loving couples.
The anticipation of love fulfilled inspires Mozart's "radiantly beautiful" music.
Act I: The banished Cecilio has secretly returned to Rome. He learns from Cinna that Silla has declared him dead and proposes to marry Giunia, his fiancée. Cinna advises Cecilio to wait for Giunia in the heroes’ burial vault, where she goes daily to grieve for her father. Silla asks his sister Celia to help him win Giunia’s hand, even though Silla was the mortal enemy of Giunia’s father. Celia advises him to use patient love, rather than force, which he does. Giunia’s response, however, is one of hatred and scorn. Silla decides he must overcome the weakness of his affection and condemn her. At the burial vault, Giunia laments her dead father and her banished lover, but Cecilio interrupts her and they are joyfully reunited.
Act II: Silla plots to marry Giunia by means of a ruse, and also agrees to let his sister Celia marry Cinna. Cecilio arrives, intent on killing Silla, but is dissuaded by Cinna. Later, Cinna explains to Giunia that Silla is about to ask the Senate for permission to wed her. He suggests that she pretend to agree, then murder him in the marriage bed. Giunia refuses and Cinna plans to kill Silla himself. Silla continues to woo Giunia, who rejects him. Silla threatens to execute both Giunia and Cecilio. Celia advises Giunia to accept her fate and marry Silla, but Giunia decides to throw herself on the mercy of the Senate or to die alongside her beloved. At the Capitol, the populace happily anticipates Silla’s marriage. He asks the Senate for its approval, and Giunia threatens to stab herself, but Cecilio interrupts them and is arrested. The lovers console each other and look forward to their deaths together, which makes a deep impression on Silla.
Act III : Cinna pleads with Celia to see if she can persuade her brother to have mercy; Celia promises to try. Giunia visits Cecilio in prison for a last farewell. She will not save him by yielding to Sulla’s desires, but plans to die with him. At the Capitol, Sulla condemns Cecilio, but then announces his decision to let him live and to marry Giunia. Cinna confesses to his own part in the attempts on Silla’s life, but the dictator forgives him as well and blesses his marriage to Celia. Silla removes his crown and announces amid general rejoicing that he is granting freedom to his kingdom and will live out the rest of his life as one of its citizens.
- Cecilio - Susan Graham
- Cinna - Michael Maniaci
- Lucio Silla - Gregory Kunde
- Celia - Anna Christy
- Giunia - Celena Shafer
- Conductor - Bernard Labadie
- Director - Jonathan Kent
- Scenic Designer - Paul Brown
- Costume Designer - Paul Brown
- Lighting Designer - Duane Schuler
- Choreographer - Peggy Hickey
- Chorus Master - Gregory Buchalter