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A New York City stage premiere:  This important but rarely performed first opera seria was written by Mozart in 1770 when he was just fourteen years old. Mozart and his librettist, Victtorio Cigna-Santi, based the opera on a popular play by Jean Racine about the legend of Mitridate, a celebrated warrior who ruled over the kingdom of Pontus, in what is now modern day northern Turkey. 

Historically based, Mitridate was engaged in a brutal war against Caeser's Rome. The opera enlivens history with the added tale of a palace intrigue where the loyalty of Mitridate's two sons is tested through a battle over a seemingly empty throne and a bitter contest to win the affections of a conflicted future queen.  Mitridate was first performed at the Regio Ducal Teatro, Milan, on December 26, 1770 (at the Milan Carnival) and enjoyed great success with twenty-one performances despite doubts because of Mozart's extreme youth. No revival of the opera took place until the 20th century.