Mirror Mirror: “Milk”August 17, 2023
The 18 August marks the birthday of Antonio Salieri, the alleged rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was immortalised in the biopic “Amadeus”. As with many biopics, certain liberties are taken with the storylines with the truth often being distorted to make the protagonist look more like a hero and the antagonist seem more the villian. Whilst rumours circulated about the rivalry between Salieri and Mozart, it is unlikely Salieri had either time, resources or motivation to psycholigally torture Mozart into an early death.
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Antonio Salieri: 18 August 1750, 22:00, Legnago, Italy. B: Scholfield
F. Murray Abraham: 24 October 1939, no time, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Source: Wikipedia Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 27 January 1756, 20:00, Salzburg, Austria. AA: Schofield
Tom Hulce: 6 December 1953, no time, Detroit, Michigan. Source: Wikipedia
Release date: 6 September 1984
The film opens with Antonio Salieri, in an asylum recovering from an attempt to cut his own throat, confessing to a priest that he has killed Mozart.
Salieri tells his tale in a series of flashbacks. As a child, he promised God total devotion if God would grant his wish to be a famous composer – something that was against the wishes of his father. When his father died shortly afterwards, Salieri assumed this was God’s way of telling him his wish would be granted, so he became a devout Catholic.
In time, Salieri begins working at the palace of Emperor Joseph II in Vienna where he meets the young Mozart, who is at the same court function. Salieri quickly discovers his incredibly talented rival is also immature and offensive and has an obnoxious laugh. He is unable to understand why God would give such great talent – better than his own – to such an unsuitable person. Thinking God is mocking him, Salieri renounces his promise to Him and, in revenge, sets out to destroy Mozart.
Mozart’s alcohol-fuelled antics continue to cause offense in the court, but because he is producing brilliant work his behaviour is overlooked. However, his health begins to decline through over-working and over- drinking, and Salieri hatches a plot to push Mozart over the edge. Salieri hires a young girl to pose as a maid in order to spy on him. She tells Salieri that Mozart is working on a composition that has been forbidden by the Emperor. However, when summoned to explain his actions, Mozart manages to convince the Emperor to attend the concert where the composition will be performed.
Pluto Makes an Appearance
When Mozart’s father dies, he composes another opera and Salieri realises Mozart has created an imposing, dark character that symbolises his dead father. Salieri dresses as the terrifying character and tricks Mozart into agreeing to write a requiem with the idea he will steal it, present it as his own and play it at Mozart’s funeral. However, Mozart is unable to concentrate on finishing the requiem and accepts a lesser- paid commission to write a different opera. Furious with his decision, Mozart’s wife leaves home with their son, leaving him more vulnerable to Salieri’s schemes.
Mozart eventually works himself to death while composing the requiem which has been finished with Salieri’s help. Realising Salieri’s involvement with the death of her husband, Mozart’s wife hides the requiem and Mozart’s body is buried in an unmarked grave.
The film circles back to Salieri in the asylum confessing to the priest. He refuses to absolve Salieri, who concludes that God has taken Mozart so he will not have to share God’s glory with such an inferior talent such as himself. Salieri then sarcastically absolves the priest and as he is wheeled away says that mediocrity is their patron saint.
Mozart’s laugh is heard as the film fades out.
The Astrology: Salieri
Both actor and composer share the Moon in Pisces: they are quite literally in tune with each through the music they share. F. Murray Abraham’s natal Uranus-Mercury opposition is in line with Salier’s asc/des axis. As it does not appear that the actor has classical music training, there had to have been a high degree of mimicry (no doubt aided by brilliant costume design) in order to play a prominent composer of the 17th century. An opposition always seeks for a resolution so what better way to alleviate discomfort than by throwing oneself into a juicy role? The pre-dominent plotline is that of Salieri’s envy of Mozart: the ease in which the younger composer created music.
Abraham’s Chiron was conjunct Mozart’s Venus in Cancer and transiting Saturn on the evening the film was released was on the actor’s Venus in Scorpio. It’s a perfect recipe for hurt feelings related to perceived inferiority. Although a dissociate conjunction, Abraham has a Sun/North Node conjunction which falls on Mozart’s Chiron. The actor understands and can identify with Salieri’s pain and struggles. To make things even better, on opening night, Pluto was conjunct these connections and this is what the audience sees: a jealous man driven to manipulate the circumstances he finds himself in to destroy a perceived rival. Perhaps even better for a film about music, transiting Neptune in Sagittarius was exactly conjunct Salieri’s North Node when the film was released.
The Astrology: Mozart
Mozart’s natal Moon was conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius and with his Uranus and South Node in Pisces conjunct Salieri’s Moon, it is easy to see how Salieri would have found Mozart a little hard to take. The somewhat raucous and enthusiastic sign of Sagittarius can easily disturb Pisces’ need for peace.
Like Mozart, Tom Hulce also had Uranus conjunct the South Node but in a different water sign, in his case Cancer. The actor’s Sun in Sagittarius was also within a couple of degrees of Mozart’s Pluto/Moon conjunction and the transiting Sun during the film’s release was trine to this, illuminating the power of the connection.
Transiting Chiron in Gemini was exactly conjunct Mozart’s MC when the film was released. Transiting Mars and Uranus in Sagittarius were also close to conjunctions in the charts of Mozart and Hulce at that time.
The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor (for F. Murray Abraham) and was nominated for several BAFTAs and Golden Globes which Abraham won. Hulce was also nominated for several awards but came away empty-handed.