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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Speculation
I first became familiar with this story after seeing the movie "Amadeus." The movie made me curious about the facts in the lives of its two main characters, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. While not necessarily factual, this play by Peter Shaffer is an intelligent and fascinating examination of two men's suffering: pain in both mediocrity and...
Published on April 27, 2004 by RCM

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Play, but the book won't last
Amadeus is one of the greatest plays ever written, so it's too bad that the publishers decided to print it on rough tissue paper with a cover on par with $4 bargain books. Shame on you Harper Perennial.
Published on November 8, 2011 by Professor Fether


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Speculation, April 27, 2004
This review is from: Amadeus: A Play by Peter Shaffer (Paperback)
I first became familiar with this story after seeing the movie "Amadeus." The movie made me curious about the facts in the lives of its two main characters, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. While not necessarily factual, this play by Peter Shaffer is an intelligent and fascinating examination of two men's suffering: pain in both mediocrity and genius.
The play is fast-paced and a relatively easy read. Shaffer paints an elaborate picture of both composer's lives during the time in which they lived. Shaffer's portrait of Salieri is richly written, his thoughts are revealed to the reader/audience through direct speeches and sidebars. Characters act as moving set pieces - their dialogue starting or ending as they carry furniture on and off stage to change scenes.
Shaffer's play is an examination into the ruin of both men. Mozart is ruined by his lifestyle and his lack of funding; the citizens and rulers of Vienna find him rude and offensive. They fail to understand the unfamiliar directions his genius is taking the musical world. Salieri is ruined by his fall into mediocrity and obscurity when Mozart arrives in town, the musician blessed by God, and through his plots that lead to Mozart's downfall. While much about the play is based on speculation, it never rings false because of the strong portrayls of each man.
Having just recently seen this version of the play performed, it is obvious why Shaffer struggled with getting the character of Salieri "just right." He finds absolution in his final act - confessing his sins to his created audience, and not to the creator he once yearned to serve.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Play's The Thing, December 1, 1999
By A Customer
I first saw this play during its original run on Broadway. I went to see it with my college drama class. I had no idea what to expect. The amazing Ian McKellen played Salieri, and from the moment the play began until the final curtain, I was mesmerized. I skipped the other play we had tickets for and went back to see "Amadeus" again in "standing room". The play is wonderful, yes. But I truly think its ultimate success depends upon the actors playing the roles of Salieri and Mozart. I think the original Broadway cast was a once-in-a-lifetime group, but I'm looking forward to the upcoming Broadway revival. Read the play, and then go see it come to life!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodness is nothing in the furnace of art, April 23, 2001
Shaffer illustrates an incredible conflict in Amadeus, alltogether permeated by the dark themes of jealousy, hatred, and death. Showing the apparent mutual exclusivity between intelligence and virtue, the true strength of the play lies inextricably in the character of Court Composer Salieri. It is a testement to the skill of Shaffer that I almost thought Salieri's motive as evil, but perhaps justified. In him I saw myself, striking out at God for his cruelty, for his preferential and exclusive love. Not only the writing but the stage directions are done incredibly well. Everything is as it should be, not a song at an inappropriate time, not a note misplaced. The character of Mozart is best embodied in the performance of Don Giovanni, where Shaffer describes him as "quailing" before the dark and demanding figure of his father. This is a masterpiece of pain and jealousy, timeless and impenetrable plagues of humanity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Play Worth Reading, December 11, 2000
By A Customer
The book shows the relationship between Salieri, God, and Mozart, the talented musician. Even though the plot is mostly fictional, it shows really nicely how cruel a vow with God can be if one is so grim to get his own success. It's interesting, how this play is connected with true facts, which you only understand knowing a bit of the real history of Mozart.We really liked the play, because it's thrilling and shows some important psychological aspects. Especially the relation between Mozart and his father is quite interesting. It's worth reading, we really do recommend this great play.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mediocrity can be too much to face, July 4, 2001
By 
Amadeus, in my opinion, is Shaffer's masterpiece. Shaffer explores the familiar theme of man versus God at a new depth, but it is his treatment of the theme of mediocrity that gives this play its true bite. I find myself in this play and my guess is that you will too. Much like court composer Antonio Salieri, I am good at what I do and I am grateful that I have been endowed with the ability to excel professionally. Still, I am the not best (no matter how much I wish it for myself.) I am, however, blessed or cursed , depending on your perspective, with the ablity to recognize someone who has been given that special gift just as Antonio Salieri realizes the incredible musical talents of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Being truthful, like Salieri, I too can grow jealous, especially when I must work hard at something that comes so easily to someone gifted.
Traveling with Antonio Salieri as he deals with his own talents in the face of Mozart's is a rich, rewarding experience. It is a pleasure I urge you not to deny yourself and I promise that the play offers a much deeper character study than the film. If I had the option to give this 10 stars, I would. It is truly a masterpiece of late twentieth century theatre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece of modern theatre, January 23, 1999
By A Customer
This play is great. Shaffer has created a play in which drama, intrigue, suspense,sexuality, jealousy, revenge, and slight comedy all have an important part in the storyline. I read this play as an assignment for a drama class, but ended up falling in love with it. In my opinion, the second gretest drama of all time (behind "Death Of A Salesman"). I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good read or a thrilling tale.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a play!, December 18, 2000
By A Customer
The book shows the relationship between Salieri, God, and Mozart, the talented musician. Even though the plot is mostely invented, it shows really nicely how cruel a vow with God can be if one is so grim to get his own success. It's interesting, how this play is connected with true facts, which you only understand knowing a bit of the real history of Mozart. We really liked the play, because it's thrilling and shows some important psychological aspects. Especially the relation between Mozart and his father is quite interesting. It's worth reading it, we really do recommend this great play. Lisa
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, December 19, 2000
By A Customer
Certainly one of the best books I`ve ever read. After I'd seen the movie a couple of times I decided to read the book. I really like the movie, and the book is at least as good. You can feel the bitterness of Salieri's thoughts and feelings, you can almost hear the heavenly music composed by the greatest musician of all times. Peter Shaffer created a milestone writing this fabulous book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Vs. Material, October 1, 2007
By 
tvtv3 "tvtv3" (Sorento, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Amadeus: A Play by Peter Shaffer (Paperback)
Peter Shaffer's award-winning and highly popular play AMADEUS is in many ways a morality play but seen through the eyes of a complicated postmodern villain. The play is called AMADEUS but the chief character of the story is Antonio Salieri. Salieri is the Court Composer for Emperor Joseph II of Austria during the end of the 18th Century. He is held in esteem not only by the Emperor and Court, but by the masses as well. Then Amadeus Mozart makes his way to the Austrian Court at Salzburg and Salieri recognizes in the young man a musical genius superior to anything musical he has ever heard. He becomes enraged with bitter jealousy. Feeling that God has abandoned him and given the talent that he has trained to develop and possess his entire life, Salieri declares a war against God that he will fight on the battleground that is Amadeus Mozart.

AMADEUS is a fantastic play. Author Peter Shaffer has revised the play several times since its first performance in 1979 and this version of the show (written twenty years later in 1999) is in my opinion the best because it is the one that portrays Salieri more than just an evil man, but as a human being that the audience and readers can relate to and actually understand somewhat. A must see play that anyone who enjoys theatre should be familiar with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tuned to perfection, November 21, 2006
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The power and tragedy of this play is that both its main characters -- Mozart and Saliere -- are tuned to perfection.

In Mozart's case of course, his fine tuning is within him.

In the case of Saliere however, his fine tuning is the recognition is that the fine tuning he seeks is not within him but rather within Mozart (to be sure to the chagrin of Saliere).

On the mundane level this play showcases the love of music that was so much the hallmark of Peter Shaffer's writing (see for example his early The Private Ear). On a less mundane level however, the play showcases that lifelong fascination Shaffer seemed to have with one person coveting the skills or abilities of another.

In this later sense the play strikes a chord in all of us. We watch it liking to think that we're more like Mozart but secretly dreading the we may actually be Saliere.

And I guess its in this later sense the play draws its deepest resonance...at least for me.
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Amadeus: A Play by Peter Shaffer
Amadeus: A Play by Peter Shaffer by Peter Shaffer (Paperback - August 7, 2001)
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