For more than twenty-five years now the popular image of Antonio Salieri has taken on the resentful personality given to him in the film Amadeus (1984). Salieri indeed has been waiting for nearly two hundred years to have his name cleared, since the suspicion that he eliminated Mozart started to circulate in the 1820s. What is absolutely certain is that Salieri neither kiIIed Mozart nor did anything to speed his demise on. Listening to Salieri's music, and in this particular instance, to Il mondo aIIa rovescia, an opera which has been exhumed after over two hundred years', we immediately find analogies with the language of Mozart's operas on librettos by Lorenzo Da Ponte. For over thirty years, Salieri was one of the foremost figures of theatrical life in Vienna, and clearly could not have been if he had not been endowed with an authentic, original musical talent. In reality, the problem of the reciprocal influence of Mozart and Salieri stiII needs to be clarified to a great extent.
The plot is as follows: We are on an island where women reign; three of them–Tulia, Aurora, and Cintia–argue over who should become Queen. Their browbeaten boyfriends, when not begging for a kiss, groveling, or trying to figure out how to please the women, attempt to stop them from bickering, and worse, killing each other. Eventually, sick of the women’s petty rivalries and led on by the tenor Ferramonte, the men take over, returning things to their “natural” state: “You will find us merciful provided that you moderate your vanity,” they sing before the final chorus, which states that “Women in command make for a topsy-turvy world that is inevitably doomed to failure.” The Italian studios of Swiss Radio have lately produced a number of impressive recordings of early music, and their skills are well illustrated in this fresh, lively account of Galuppi, with a first-rate team of soloists, chorus and orchestra. (The Guardian)
The delightful, metaphorical “island in the Antipodes” is governed by a “council of women” who, in the manner of latter-day Amazons, have reversed the natural order of things by which power is assumed unequivocally by the males of the species.