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"Maligned Master: The Glory of Salieri"

"Amadeus" poster

"Maligned Master: The Glory of Salieri," a 90-minute radio drama written by Joe Moore featuring the overtures of Salieri performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, had its world premiere on HPR-1, Sunday, June 19, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. (HST). It was re-broadcast on Salieri's birthday, Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. on HPR-1.

LISTEN to it via the audio archive at prx.org. Type "Maligned Master" in the Search box at top of page, then click on the entry from Hawaii Public Radio. (length 1:27:52)


Poor Antonio Salieri, defamed and slandered in the Oscar-winning film "Amadeus" as Mozart’s  mediocre, jealous rival, who was  obsessed with destroying him. Actually, Salieri was nothing like that. He was one of the most respected, talented, and successful composers of his day, who wrote music of considerable charm, approaching the level of genius. His operas were more popular than Mozart’s. I became  interested in Salieri more than 30 years ago while hosting a weekly, Saturday morning program on Hawai?i Public Radio. I began collecting hard-to-find recordings of Salieri's music and researching his life, reading his biographies, and, when it became available in 1998, "Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera" by John A. Rice.  

Last year, after reading Ian Kyer’s historical novel "Damaging Winds," I became inspired to write a play about the real Salieri to “set the record straight.”  Who better to play Salieri than F. Murray Abraham, the man who won an Academy Award as Best Actor for portraying him in the film "Amadeus"? As luck would have it, Murray is a friend and quickly became excited when I pitched the project to him.

Composing operas was Salieri’s specialty, so his overtures were the obvious choice for music in the play, and I had in my collection the perfect CD to draw from: Salieri’s overtures performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra.  In order to reach the largest possible audience, I decided that a radio play/concert was the ideal format, so I brought the idea to Michael Titterton at HPR, and was delighted he liked it and gave it the green light.  Jason Taglianetti did a marvelous job assembling the various components of the production -- the voices, the music and the audience. We hope you find the program enjoyable and enlightening.

Scene from "Amadeus"
Tom Hulce as Mozart, F. Murray Abraham as Salieri in a scene from "Amadeus"

SYNOPSIS for "Maligned Master: The Glory of Salieri":

Present Day.  HPR is about to broadcast a live concert from the Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu to public radio stations across the country. The concert will feature overtures by Antonio Salieri, performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Dittrich. Joe Moore is the HPR host for the evening. Moments before the concert is to begin, the ghost of Salieri (Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham) appears in the concert hall to listen to his music that is so seldom performed today.  Joe asks Salieri to host the concert and talk about his music.  Salieri agrees and, during the course of the concert, "sets the record straight" about his true relationship with Mozart and how the play and film "Amadeus" greatly maligned him and his music.


Antonio Salieri, painting by Joseph Willibrod Mahler
Credit (Public domain)
Antonio Salieri, painting by Joseph Willibrod Mahler

Overtures: (in order used on program)
La Secchia Rapita (The Stolen Bucket)
Der Rauchfangkehrer (The Chimney Sweep)
Il Ricco d’un giorono (Rich for a Day)
Les Danaides
Axur, Re d’ormus (Axur, King of Ormuz)
Il Talismano (The Talisman)
La Grotta di Trofonio (The Cave of Trofonio)
Eraclito e Democrito (Heraclitus and Democritus)
Il Moro (The Moor)
Cesare in Farmacusa (Caesar in Farmacusa)
L’Angiolina, ossia Il Matrimonio per sussuro (Angiolina, a Marriage Though Whispering)

All overtures except Der Rauchfangkehrer are from the “Antonio Salieri Overtures” CD, Marco Polo # 8.223381, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Michael Dittrich, released in 1993
Der Rauchfangkehrer is from “Salieri Overtures and Ballet Music” CD, Hannsler Classic # 98506, Mannheim Mozart Orchestra, conductor Thomas Fey, released in 2008
Music used under closing credits:  Armonio per un tempio della note from “Salieri Serenades for Winds” CD, Arts Music label # 473-9-2, Il Gruppo Di Roma ensemble, released in 1998


F. Murray Abraham
F. Murray Abraham


Macy's Santa, Street theater, commercials, live soap opera, children's theater, musical comedy, Broadway debut "Man in the Glass Booth" directed by Harold Pinter, 20th anniversary production of "Caretaker," "Waiting for Godot" directed by Mike Nichols, with Robin Williams, Steve Martin and Bill Irwin; plays by Sophocles, Aristophanes, Jonson, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Moliere, Fadeau, Giraudoux, Rostand, Chekhov, J.C. Oates, Pirandello, Beckett, Pinter, Miller, McNally, Guare, Shepard. Experimental work with Joe Chaikin, Pina Bausch, Richard Foreman, Andrei Serban, Linda Mussmann, two evenings of one-act plays by Ethan Coen.  "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Homeland," "The Good Wife," "Louie," "Bored to Death," "Scarface," "Amadeus," "Name of the Rose." Many European films:  Lena Wertmuller, Sophia Lauren, Giancarlo Giannini, Claudia Cardinale, Max von Sydow. Academy Award, Golden Globe, Obie, John Gielgud Award, The Moscow Art Theatre Award, Grandfather.

Joe Moore
Joe Moore


Hawai?i's most watched TV newscaster, Joe anchors the top-rated 5:30, 6, and 10 p.m. weekday newscast for KHON2. Acting and playwriting are major passions for Joe. He's co-starred in plays with Richard Dreyfuss, Patty Duke, George Segal, James McArthur, Gary Burghoff, and Pat Sajak. Joe has written and starred in more than a dozen plays, including "A Conversation with Mozart," produced as a benefit for HPR. Joe began his local stage career playing the Pasha in Hawaii Opera Theatre's 1988 production of Mozart's "Abduction From the Seraglio."  He has also made numerous guest starring appearances in most of the island-based network TV series, dating back to the original "Hawaii Five-O," and he starred in the independent films, "Moonglow" and "Goodbye Paradise."  From 1986 to 1991, Joe was heard on HPR hosting the Saturday morning program "Moore Mozart."

Free download of "Damaging Winds" by Ian Kyer.

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