Antonio Salieri
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Antonio Salieri

Amadeus

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About Him

Grew up... in the 18th Century in a small town in Italy in a family that did not care for music. His father wanted him only to be a merchant, like himself. When Salieri told him that he wished to be a composer, his father laughed at him. So Salieri turned to God for help. He swore if God helped make him a great composer, he would devote himself completely to Him. And then soon after that, a "miracle" happened: his father died. And his mother allowed him to go to Vienna to study music.

Living... in Vienna, where he studied under Gluck, the greatest composer of his time. Gluck loved him and introduced him to the Emperor Joseph. Within a few years, Salieri was his court composer. Salieri admitted that "the Emperor had no ear at all, but what did it matter? He adored my music."

Profession... composer. He has written 40 operas alone. Salieri used to be the most famous musician in Vienna, and the happiest. That is, until Mozart came to Vienna.

Relationship Status... single. He has not been with a woman since he swore his chastity to God. Salieri is a model of virtue. But he has been thinking a lot about a certain soprano. It is taking the most tremendous effort to be faithful to his vow.

Challenge... controlling his anger with God. Instead of giving him talent, He gave it all to Mozart. As Salieri says, "He choose for His instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty infantile boy and gave me for reward only the ability to recognize the Incarnation. Because He is unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block Him! I swear it! I will hinder and harm His creature on earth as far as I am able. I will ruin His Incarnation."

Personality... jealous and bitter, to say the least. But Salieri is holding himself up to an impossibly high bar. As we know now, Mozart was one of the greatest composers to have ever lived.

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