Thursday, April 28, 2011

Amadeus ("God's Beloved")

I didn’t have time to update as much as I’d like lately. The end is near! As we get closer to the end of the semester, everything just got crazier. Our team is planning our end-of-the-year dinner to honor our graduating seniors and student leaders this Saturday, so we’re all busy running around, trying to make sure that everything will be ready by then.
Yesterday night, I went to see Amadeus with a few students. The plot was so rich, yet so funny, which was such a pleasant surprise. And of course, the acting was simply amazing. I really enjoyed it.

 A convoluted tangle of jealousy, rage, and fear, Amadeus the fictionalized story of the personal rivalry between Viennese court composer Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As a virtuous, Catholic, and talented composer, Salieri greatly admires Mozart’s heavenly music - until he meets him. Repulsed by the profane and boorish Mozart, Salieri is unable to reconcile the idea that God would bestow such immense talent on so unworthy a man, while Salieri, who is always faithful and a gentleman, has almost none.
Ultimately, the contest in Amadeus is not between Salieri and Mozart, but Salieri and God. Not only does God create Mozart, He uses him through his music. Salieri in contrast find himself facing an uncaring God, who fails to grant him his wishes despite of his faithfulness, and is indifferent to his inner suffering.
At the beginning of the play, I really identify with Salieri. He is an honest, righteous man, who earnestly prays to God for the gift of music. Mozart, on the other hand, is rude, childish, and petulant, yet God has chosen to touch souls through his genius music. It almost seems unfair for such a thing to happen. Yet, we later find out that underneath the surface of a seemingly moody and childish Mozart, is a young child who yearns for the love and approval of his father. He is also the only composer of his time who really “gets” music. In one of the acts, he complained how no one tries to compose an opera about “real” characters or creates music with a deeper meaning. Beautifully, he described how he thought God must have looked at His people like they’re musical notes, each unique and different in their own ways, but together they form a miraculous piece of music; He speaks to souls through music, that’s why it’s so important to compose good music - music that is “real”. Mozart proclaims, “as composers, this is our job!”
So really, while one might easily believe that God has done an injustice by granting Mozart such an undeserving talent, at the end of the day, who are we to judge what’s right and wrong? God works in mysterious ways. If He could die for our sins - us lowly beings who are so undeserving of His love and mercy - why couldn’t He uses the talent of a foolish, undeserving composer to glorify His name?
Sir Peter Hall said, “all Peter Shaffer’s major plays are about the quest for God: if He exists, why is He so uncaring?” I guess that’s why Shaffer’s plays are so intriguing - the existence of God - isn’t this one of the most important questions that we all have to face in one way or another? 

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