Mozart in Town derived from a concept (Maybe Mozart?) that premiered at Boulevardteatern in Stockholm 2008, and was later developed in the production Mozart in Vadstena in 2009. Since then, the project is performed on tour in Swedish cities.
The main idea is to perform improvised operas in the style of Mozart opera buffa, by the use of musical, performative and dramaturgical techniques that are commonly used in Mozart repertoire performance. The tonal language is freely inspired by Mozart, especially with regards to recitatives and ensemble scenes. The aim is to set the main development the action in the recitatives, and to make the arias as expressive reactions to what has occurred, deepening the presentations of the characters. But the dramatic action is just as often developed in ensembles and finales. Examples of techniques used are to establish secrets, come up with plans, establish contracts, to hide, the use of a parts (lines that are directed versus the audience, within the agreement that the other characters on stage don’t ‘hear’ what is being said), to dress up, to fall in love, to reveal someone’s plan, to declare remorse and to search for revenge.
The performance usually starts with one of the performers asking the audience for events that have occurred in the town’s history, that could serve as part of the material for the performance. Then we ask for an aphorism (old or new) that could serve as a ‘moral’, a theme for the opera. This sentence is then performed as a choir, which begins the opera, and should be considered by the singers as a main theme to be developed in the emerging story. After the choir, the pianist plays an overture, suggesting some contrasting musical themes that set tone for the emerging opera.
In some performances, Gregor (the pianist) asks the audience for character traits, or driving forces for each character before the singers enter. These traits are written down in notes and distributed among the singers after the choir. In one performance, the themes were in love, jealous, longing for love and vindictive. During the opera, these traits become the main motives of the characters. This in turn affects the development of the emerging story, as when two contrasting wills meet in a scene.
When the final scene reaches what can be seen as an end, anyone of the present singers can initiate the transition into the final choir (a reflection of the initial choir) by alluding to the words from the moral.