1. How does the play open?
The audience is subjected to a barrage of hissing whispers that includes the word 'assassin.' Coming from an initially darkened stage, this is a powerful beginning that at once draws the interest of the audience.
2. Comment on the dramatic function of the Venticelli in the opening scene.
The Venticelli provide information and atmosphere. Their whispering conveys an atmosphere of secrecy but also of intimacy. The contents of their whispers functions to orientate the audience as to the main players in the drama in addition to prefiguring some of the story development. They also demonstrate the place of gossip in human society.
3. Comment on Salieri's appeal to 'the ghosts of the future'.
'The ghosts of the future' represent history. Salieri is desperate to have a place there, even if the memory of his music has been overwhelmed by the superior talent of Mozart. Perhaps in order to secure his place in history by any means, he claimed to have assassinated Mozart. (This is by no means an historical fact.)
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