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4 - La clemenza di Tito and the Habsburg Dynasty in Bohemia, 1791–1891

from Part II - Monuments and Politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2023

Martin Nedbal
Affiliation:
University of Kansas
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Summary

This chapter explores how Bohemians, Czechs, and German Bohemians projected their views of Bohemia’s relationship to the Habsburg dynasty onto La clemenza di Tito between 1791 and 1891. The opera initially expressed the Bohemians’ allegiance to Habsburg emperors and was used to commemorate various Habsburg anniversaries. In 1873, this pro-Habsburg symbolism aligned with the political interests of German Bohemians, when Tito was performed in the German Theater to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph’s rule and the defeat of the 1871 Fundamental Articles, in which the emperor promised to acknowledge Bohemian autonomy to Czech leaders. At the same time, already by the 1790s, some Bohemian commentators associated the opera with anti-Habsburg sentiments. This symbolic meaning became particularly prominent in 1891, when the Czech National Theater’s centennial production of La clemenza di Tito was canceled because of fears that it would incite anti-German and anti-dynastic passions.

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Mozart's Operas and National Politics
Canon Formation in Prague from 1791 to the Present
, pp. 143 - 182
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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