Saturday, November 25, 2023

Amadeus (1984)

dir. Milos Forman

The director said they were considering Vienna, Salzburg and Budapest before concluding that Prague was the best option. Vienna was more expensive, and the majority of the buildings dated from the post-Mozart era, while large sections of Prague had remained virtually unchanged since the 1700s. Amadeus was shot mostly on location in Czechoslovakia using real exteriors and interiors. The movie was made with the full cooperation of the country’s government who allowed filming in six different palaces and estates. The filmmakers also brought in many paintings, furniture and other valuable museum pieces from other places. That fact explains why some interiors don’t look the same now. Most importantly, the filmmakers were allowed to shoot inside the historic Tyl Theater where Mozart's Don Giovanni actually premiered in 1787. The only sets used in the film were Salieri’s hospital room, Mozart’s apartment and the staircase where he meets with his father, and the interior of the Volkstheater where the comic opera and The Magic Flute were staged.
Many thanks to Lois for sharing her Prague pictures with me.

The opening shot – Nosticova 9, Prague, Czech Republic.

Salieri’s (F. Murray Abraham) apartment – Palace of the Grand Prior of the Knights of Malta, Velkopřevorské náměstí 4, Prague, Czech Republic. The main entrance is on the southern side of the palace but these rooms are on the northern side. The Palace is the seat of the Grand Prior of Bohemia of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodos and of Malta (also known as the Knights of Malta). The baroque version of the palace as seen today was built in 1726-1727. The Communist government of Czechoslovakia suppressed the Order’s activities in 1950. The Grand Priory was restored in Prague on 20 April 1990, on the eve of a visit to the city by Pope John Paul II.

Salieri is being carried out from his home after the suicide attempt – Palace of the Grand Prior of the Knights of Malta, Lázeňská 2, Prague, Prague, Czech Republic. The house entrance isn’t shown in the film, only the view across the street. This entrance is on the western side of the palace.

The windows of the ballroom where Mozart’s music is being played – Buquoy Palace, Velkopřevorské náměstí 2, Prague, Czech Republic. The palace now houses the French embassy.

People dancing (1st ballroom) – Assembly Hall, Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž, Czech Republic.

People dancing (2nd ballroom) – Leather Hall (formerly Knights Hall), Wallenstein Palace, Valdštejnské náměstí 4, Prague, Czech Republic.

Salieri is rushed through the streets of Vienna – Míšeňská 9, Prague, Prague, Czech Republic.

The mental asylum – Invalidovna, Sokolovská 136, Prague, Czech Republic. Built in 1731-1737, the complex served for two centuries as a hostel for veterans, many of them disabled soldiers of the Austrian Empire and later of independent Czechoslovakia. It is by far the largest secular building by the Prague-born architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer, a master of high baroque with about 200 buildings to his credit in the Czech Republic, best known for St. Nicholas Church in Prague’s Malá Strana district. The complex was subsequently used as a museum and military archive. It was damaged by a large flood in 2002, and most of the archives were destroyed. Several years ago it was proclaimed a protected national cultural monument and then entrusted to the National Heritage Institute.

Little Mozart performs for the Pope – Grand Hall, Wallenstein Palace, Valdštejnské náměstí 4, Prague, Czech Republic. The palace was built in 1623-1630 for Count Albrecht von Wallenstein (‘Valdštejn’ in Czech), one of the prominent figures of the Thirty Years’ War, who was promoted to the rank of Generalissimo at the age of 42. In 1634, the ambitious Wallenstein was assassinated, likely on the Emperor Ferdinand II’s orders. In 1648, during the final stage of the war, the palace was looted by the Swedish troops before they were expelled by the Austrian imperial army. Named a national cultural monument in 1995, the Wallenstein Palace underwent an extensive and careful restoration in 1996-2001. It now houses the chambers of the Czech Senate.

Salieri remembering his childhood – Kostel sv. Vojtěcha (St. Adalbert Church), Masarykovo náměstí 15, Jílové u Prahy, Czech Republic.

Salieri comes to see Mozart performing – Assembly Hall, Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž, Czech Republic. The palace used to be the principal residence of the Bishops and later, Archbishops of Olomouc. The current version of the palace was built in 1664-1666 by Italian architects Filiberto Lucchese and Giovanni Pietro Tencalla. The room where Salieri admires Mozart’s performance was initially a dining hall. It was later renamed to commemorate the meeting of the Austrian Consitutional Assembly in 1848–49. The palace and its gardens were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

Salieri sees Mozart (Tom Hulce) frolicking with Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge) – Hunting Room, Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž, Czech Republic. It was originally a games room and smoking room with the walls decorated with hunting trophies and guns.

The archbishop admonishes Mozart for being late for the concert – Throne Hall, Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž, Czech Republic. This was a reception hall for important guests and officials.

The Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) is discussing with his musical advisors the prospect of commissioning an opera from Mozart – Archbishop’s Palace, Hradčanské náměstí 16, Prague, Czech Republic. The long-time residence of Prague archbishops originally belonged to Florian Gryspek, and it’s sometimes referred to as the Gryspek Palace. In 1561, the Emperor Ferdinand I bought the building, then a Renaissance mansion, and gave it to the Prague Archbishop Antonín Brus of Mohelnice. The palace was expanded in 1599-1600 and rebuilt in the Baroque style by French architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey in 1676. The current Rococo façade was added by J. J. Wirch in 1764-65. The three-storey palace is considered one of the most significant late Baroque buildings in Prague and it encloses four courtyards. The interior of the palace is richly decorated with Rococo plaster work, frescoes and paintings. It also includes Baroque chandeliers, tiled stoves, and a collection of period furniture, glass and china. The throne room and in the dining room also have New World-themed French tapestries dating from 1753-56.

The Emperor plays the welcome march that Salieri wrote in Mozart’s honor – Archbishop’s Palace, Hradčanské náměstí 16, Prague, Czech Republic.

Katerina Cavalieri (Christine Ebersole) visits Salieri – Palace of the Grand Prior of the Knights of Malta, Velkopřevorské náměstí 4, Prague, Czech Republic

The premiere of The Abduction from the SeraglioEstates Theater (formerly Tyl Theater), Železná 11, Prague, Czech Republic. The performances of The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni in the film were also staged there. The theater (called Stavovské Divadlo in Czech) was designed and built in 1781-1783 by the architect Anton Hoffenecker for Count František Antonin Nostitz-Rieneck. The theater was the venue for the premieres of Don Giovanni (1787) and La Clemenza di Tito (1791), the latter commissioned for the Prague coronation of Leopold II. It’s one of the few surviving 18th-century theaters in Europe. Filming inside the theater posed a great challenge. It was an old wooden structure, and the filmmakers planned to recreate period lighting with candles mounted in eleven chandeliers, which burned 120 to 270 candles each. It created a serious fire hazard, and more than 30 firemen were constantly present in the theater during the shooting. Fortunately, only one incident occurred. The actor playing Don Giovanni came too close to a candelabrum during the opera sequence and the plume of his hat caught fire. One of the firemen dashed onto the stage and saved the day.

Mozart’s father begs the archbishop to take Mozart back – Liege Hall, Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž, Czech Republic.

Mozart’s wedding – Kostel sv. Jiljí (Church of Saint Giles), Husova ul., Prague, Czech Republic.

The emperor tells Salieri that he’s looking for a tutor for his niece – Žehušice Deer Park, Žehušice, Czech Republic. The park is famous for its rare herd of white stags. It's privately owned and isn’t open to the public.

Mozart asks the Chamberlain why he’s required to submit samples of his work – Theresian Hall, Archbishop’s Palace, Hradčanské náměstí 16, Prague, Czech Republic.

The canine concert – Veltrusy Chateau, Ostrov 59, Veltrusy, Czech Republic. It’s located near the banks of the Vltava River, about 25 km north of Prague. The first owner, Václav Antonín Chotek, who commissioned the construction in 1704, hoped that the chateau grounds would rival those of Versailles, but their proximity to the river meant that the French-style gardens frequently flooded, and so the decision was taken to adopt a less formal design in the style of an English park.

Mozart going home – Maltézské náměstí, Prague, Czech Republic.

Mozart in a narrow street – Thunovská, Prague, Czech Republic.

Mozart approaching his home – Hradčanské náměstí, Prague, Czech Republic.

Mozart, his father and Constanze going out – Nerudova 21, Prague, Czech Republic.

Dressing up for the ball – Nerudova 19, Prague, Czech Republic. It’s the same shop where later in the film Salieri’s messenger gets the black cape and mask.

Masked ball – Sala Terrena, Archbishop’s Palace, Kroměříž, Czech Republic. Sala Terrena is located on the ground floor of the palace and is comprised of three halls and two artificial grottos. The décor is said to have been inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The color scheme of the Mosaic Hall represents two seasons: fall and winter.

The grotto shown in the film is called Apollo’s Grotto.

Salieri questioning Mozart’s maidservant (Cynthia Nixon) – Palace of the Grand Prior of the Knights of Malta, Velkopřevorské náměstí 4, Prague, Czech Republic

Mozart’s home – Hradčanské náměstí 7, Prague, Czech Republic.

Mozart’s maidservant running to inform Salieri – from Hradčanské náměstí to Kanovnická, Prague, Czech Republic.

Mozart performs for the imperial court – Wallenstein Palace Garden, Valdštejnské náměstí 4, Prague, Czech Republic. The monumental three-arched open-air pavilion, or sala terrena, was designed by Giovanni Pieroni and completed in 1629. It is a faithful replica of the portico of the Duomo in Livorno, Italy.

The maidservant and Salieri going to Mozart’s house – They go from Vlašská and then turn left into Břetislavova, Prague, Czech Republic.

The arcaded passageway – Maltézské náměstí 13, Prague, Czech Republic.

A disguised Salieri going to Mozart to commission a requiem – the passage connecting Malostranské náměstí with Tržiště, Prague, Czech Republic.

Salieri and Baron van Swieten (Jonathan Moore) discussing how to help Mozart – Library, Strahov monastery, Strahovské nádvoří 1, Prague, Czech Republic. The Premonstratensian Monastery of Strahov was founded in 1140 and soon became one of the great centers of learning in Bohemia. The monastery underwent some major changes in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Decorated with frescoes, the monastery’s two libraries contain a valuable collection of antique globes, manuscripts and first editions. In the 1950s, the monastery was expropriated by the Communist authorities and three years later turned into the Museum of National Literature. The monastery was returned to the Premonstrats in 1990 with all the collections which originally belonged to it.

Mozart is carried out from the theater after collapsing during the performance of The Magic FluteEstates Theater, Ovocný trh 1, Prague, Czech Republic. This is the south side of the theater with backstage access. The interior of the theater was filmed on a studio set at Barrandov Studios.

Mozart’s coffin is carried out from the church – Kostel sv. Jiljí (Church of Saint Giles), Zlatá ul. at Husova, Prague, Czech Republic. It's the same church where Mozart's wedding was filmed.

Mozart’s hearse goes through the city gate – Leopold Gate, V Pevnosti, Vyšehrad, Prague, Czech Republic.

Mozart’s burial – Bohnice Cemetery, Dolákova 15, Prague, Czech Republic. The cemetery–also locally known as “fools’ graveyard”–was established in 1906, three years after the opening of the nearby Bohnice mental asylum. The cemetery was functioning until 1963, and over 4,600 people (among them mental patients, soldiers of World War I and suicides) were buried here. The place subsequently fell into neglect, and in 1989, vandals burned down the graveyard chapel. Then the grounds began to be used as a dump. In 2013, Jiří Vítek–then a local fireman–decided to save the place. Together with friends and volunteers, they removed around 40 tons of trash and debris from the cemetery. Thanks to Vítek’s efforts, in 2018 the “fools’ graveyard” was brought under the administration of the Prague 8 municipality.