Apollo and Hyacinthus (1767): Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus

(Classical Opera at St John’s Smith Square, 12 June 2017)

When I was eleven, I was obsessed with ponies and still spent an unconscionable amount of time playing with dolls. When Mozart was eleven, he wrote his first opera. Such is life. In this concert, Classical Opera presented three pieces written by the precocious composer between 1766 and 1767, which predictably sounded as rich and sophisticated as many a work by any other mature composer. Staged simply and effectively, with some impressive performances from the crack team of singers, these pieces were the ‘Lambach’ Symphony in G major (K45a), the sombre Grabmusik (K42) and the little opera Apollo et Hyacinthus. As there were three different pieces, I’ve treated this as a recital, which is why I haven’t given it the usual star rating.

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La Cantarina (1766): Joseph Haydn

Rachel Kelly

Haydn: Symphony No. 34 in D Minor · Mysliveček: Arias from Semiramide · Haydn: La Canterina

(Classical Opera, directed by Ian Page, Wigmore Hall, 19 September 2016)

I deliberated long and hard about whether to rate this or not. After all, I don’t rate recitals but I do rate operas. Which was this? In the end, I decided that I would treat it as a recital, because the opera element was only one of three different sections. Plus, that saved me the trouble of having to think of a rating, so everyone’s a winner. But, had I rated it, it would have been very much a thumbs-up. This evening at the Wigmore was another stage in Classical Opera’s Mozart 250 project and introduced us to a variety of interesting works written in 1766, all performed with great elan by the orchestra and a quartet of admirable singers under the baton of Ian Page.

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Il Vologeso: Niccolò Jommelli (1766)

Vologases IV of Parthia

★★★

(Classical Opera, at Cadogan Hall, 28 April 2016)

Another rummage in the drafts folder has unearthed several music posts which are now well out of date, but I would still like to publish them for my own records. Please indulge me! Let’s start with an opera, which I saw in a concert version at the end of April. This was part of Classical Opera’s Mozart 250 project, which was inaugurated by last year’s Adriano in Siria by J.C. Bach.

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Adriano in Siria: Johann Christian Bach (1765)

Bach: Adriano in Siria

★★★★

(Classical Opera, conducted by Ian Page, Britten Theatre, 18 April 2015)

As Hadrian is one of my historical favourites, I was amused to discover that he’s the subject of a Metastasio libretto, set to music by more than sixty composers between 1732 and 1828. Classical Opera’s production is, rather remarkably, the first staging of the version by J.C. Bach (son of the Bach) since it opened in London in 1765. It’s been making waves in the press: the dominant reaction is amazement that we don’t hear more of J.C., especially since he spent most of his career in London* and was much admired.

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