Classical Opera announces 2016/17 season

08/07/2016


Classical Opera

Classical Opera announces 2016/17 season – 8 September 2016 – 23 June 2017

Classical Opera – the leading Mozart specialist and period-instrument ensemble – today announces its 2016/17 season. Under the inspiring leadership of conductor and artistic director, Ian Page, the programme encompasses two staged productions, the continuation of the ground-breaking MOZART 250 series, two European tours, a return to Middle Temple Hall and the latest CD release in the company’s complete Mozart Opera Cycle. Now in its third year, the twenty-seven-year MOZART 250 project follows the chronological trajectory of the composer’s life, works and influences.

“[MOZART 250]… is among the most audacious classical music scheduling ever.” The Observer

Classical Opera’s 2016/17 season at a glance 

MOZART 250:

  • Haydn’s second opera, La canterina (semi-staged), alongside four arias from Mysliveček’s first opera, Semiramide (19 September 2016 – Wigmore Hall).
  • ‘1767 – a retrospective’, a musical overview of 1767 with works by Mozart, J. C. Bach, Gluck, Haydn, Abel, Arne and Gassmann (17 January 2017 – Wigmore Hall).
  • New productions of Mozart’s first two stage works: The First Commandment (Die Schuldigkeit des ersten gebots, 21 & 22 March 2017) and Apollo et Hyacinthus (12 & 13 June 2017), both directed by Thomas Guthrie at St John’s Smith Square.
  • Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout makes his company début playing Mozart’s first four keyboard concertos, alongside arias performed by Anna Devin (16 May 2017 – Wigmore Hall).

Also this season:

  • A three-concert residency to open the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria (Esterházy Palace, 8, 9, 10 September 2016).
  • Classical Opera and Ian Page return to Middle Temple Hall with Handel’s Messiah, following last year’s sell-out performance, as the closing event of The Temple Winter Festival (19 December 2016).
  • Four concerts in Salzburg as part of Martin Randall Travel’s ‘The Miracle of Salzburg’ festival, including performances of Il re pastore and Apollo et Hyacinthus in the locations where they were premiered (19, 20, 21, 23 June 2017).
  • New recording of Zaide to be released on the Signum Classics label as part of Classical Opera’s ongoing complete cycle of Mozart operas (16 September 2016).

The London season opens at Wigmore Hall with a programme of works composed 250 years ago in 1766. For this MOZART 250 concert Ian Page and the Orchestra of Classical Opera will be joined by Ailish Tynan (soprano), Rachel Kelly (mezzo-soprano), Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano) and Robert Murray (tenor) to perform Haydn’s short opera La canterina alongside four arias from Mysliveček’s first opera, Semiramide, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 34 in D minor. One of the very few foreign composers to enjoy sustained success in Italy, Czech composer Mysliveček became known as ‘the divine Bohemian’ and was a good friend of Mozart’s family, as well as an important influence on the young composer (19 September 2016, Wigmore Hall).

Contextualising the musical scene and impact of new works 250 years ago, ‘1767 – a retrospective’ offers a fascinating musical overview of the year in music. With works by J. C. Bach, Gluck, Haydn, Abel, Arne and Gassmann, as well as Mozart, the concert features three of the UK’s most exciting emerging artists, soprano Gemma Summerfield, tenor Stuart Jackson and bass-baritone Ashley Riches (17 January 2017, Wigmore Hall).

To mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s earliest stage works, Classical Opera presents new productions of his sacred Singspiel The First Commandment (Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, 21 & 22 March), and his first opera  Apollo et Hyacinthus alongside the dramatic cantata Grabmusik (12 & 13 June), both at St John’s Smith Square. Both productions are directed by Thomas Guthrie, who last year directed the first modern staging of J. C. Bach’s Adriano in Siria for Classical Opera to rave reviews. Full cast details will be announced shortly. Composed when Mozart was just eleven years old, both works reveal the young prodigy’s innate ability to convey profound human emotions and dramatic characterisation through music. Apollo et Hyacinthus will be performed in the original Latin, and The First Commandment in Nigel Lewis’ irreverently witty and virtuosic English translation.

Making his Classical Opera début, award-winning South African fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout performs Mozart’s earliest keyboard concertos. Composed in the summer of 1767, these works were initially believed to be Mozart’s own compositions, but have since been identified as orchestrations of existing eighteenth-century sonatas. As such, they offer fascinating insights into the eleven-year-old Mozart’s development as a composer. These works are complemented by arias written by Mozart in the same year – “A Berenice… Sol nascente in questo giorno”, and “Ein ergrimmter Löwe brüllet” from Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots – performed by soprano Anna Devin (16 May 2017, Wigmore Hall).

Also this season, Classical Opera and Ian Page return to Middle Temple Hall to close the Temple Winter Festival with Handel’s Messiah. Highly praised for last year’s sell-out performance, they will again perform Handel’s popular masterpiece in this intimate, sumptuous setting. They are joined by soloists Sarah Fox (soprano), Angela Simkin (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Jackson (tenor), Neal Davies (bass-baritone) and a hand-picked choir of eight (19 December 2016, Middle Temple Hall).

Continuing the company’s critically acclaimed complete cycle of Mozart operas on Signum Classics is the release on 16 September 2016 of Zaide. This was one of very few of Mozart’s works to be written without a commission, and Mozart completed fifteen numbers before abandoning the work to fulfil the commission for Idomeneo. These include two searing melodramas, some superb ensembles and a sequence of arias including the celebrated “Ruhe sanft”. The cast for this new recording comprises Sophie Bevan (soprano, Zaide), Allan Clayton (tenor, Gomatz), Stuart Jackson (tenor, Soliman), Jacques Imbrailo (baritone, Allazim), Darren Jeffery (bass-baritone, Osmin), and Jonathan McGovern (baritone, Vorsinger), with Ian Page conducting the Orchestra and Choir of Classical Opera (16 September 2016).

Ian Page’s commitment to identifying, developing and championing exceptional young talent remains a central ingredient of the 2016/17 Season, and the company also continues its important outreach work, launching the third year of its MOZART 250 Schools’ Project, through which primary school children hear live performances of Mozart’s music, learn about his life and historical context, and compose their own operas, coming together to share their performances.

Ian Page, founder, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera, says:

“Mozart’s music continues to provide endless inspiration, but despite its widespread popularity there are still plenty of discoveries and rediscoveries to be made. We hope to bring a freshness and a questing spirit to all our work, and to infuse our audiences with a deeper love and understanding of this repertoire. This season, our MOZART 250 project comes into its element as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the eleven-year-old composer’s first stage works, with two new productions directed by Thomas Guthrie. We have once again assembled a fantastic line-up of singers, and I look forward to working with both established artists, such as the wonderful fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, who is joining us for the first time, and exciting young talent.”

Full listings

‘La canterina’
Thursday 8 September 2016, 7.30pm
Haydn Festival, Esterházy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria
https://haydnfestival.at
Haydn Symphony No. 2 in C major
Mysliveček Arias from Semiramide: “Talor se il vento”, “Tu mi disprezzi ingrato”, “Di Scitalce… A pastor se torna”, “Fiumicel che s’ode appena”
Haydn La canterina (semi-staged)
Don Pelagio Robert Murray (tenor)
Gasparina Ailish Tynan (soprano)
Apollonia Rachel Kelly (mezzo-soprano)
Don Ettore Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Metamorphosen
Friday 9 September 2016, 7.30pm
Haydn Festival, Esterházy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria
https://haydnfestival.at
Dittersdorf Symphony in F, ‘The rescue of Andromeda by Perseus’
Gluck Scene from Orfeo ed Euridice
Haydn Scene from Philemon und Baucis
Mozart Scene from Apollo et Hyacinthus
Klara Ek (soprano)
Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)
Benjamin Hulett (tenor)
Frank Hoffman (narrator)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Weltsprache Musik
Saturday 10 September 2016, 11am
Haydn Festival, Esterházy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria
https://haydnfestival.at
Haydn Duet, “Saper vorrei se m’ami”, Hob.XXVa:2, “Trost unglücklicher Liebe”, Hob. XXVIa:9, Eine sehr gewöhnliche Geschichte, Hob. XXVIa:4
Kozeluh Sonata in A minor, Op.26, no.2
Haydn Piano Trio No. 7 in D major
Haydn Duet, “Guarda qui che lo vedrai”, Hob. XXVa:1, Das strickende Mädchen, Hob. XXVIa:1, “Das Leben ist ein Traum” , Hob. XXVIa:9
Vanhal  Sonata in D minor, Op.30, no.1
Haydn Folksong settings: “Here awa, there awa”, Hob.XXXIa:257b, “Ar hyd y nos”, Hob.XXXIb:9, “Pat & Kate”
Ailish Tynan (soprano)
Robert Murray (tenor)
Steven Devine (fortepiano)
Catherine Martin (violin)
Jonathan Rees (cello)

‘La canterina’
Monday 19 September 2016, 7.30pm
Wigmore Hall
https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/
Haydn Symphony No. 34 in D minor
Mysliveček Arias from Semiramide: “Talor se il vento”, “Tu mi disprezzi ingrato”, “Di Scitalce… A pastor se torna”, “Fiumicel che s’ode appena”
Haydn La canterina
Don Pelagio Robert Murray (tenor)
Gasparina Ailish Tynan (soprano)
Apollonia Rachel Kelly (mezzo-soprano)
Don Ettore Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Handel’s Messiah
Monday 19 December 2016, 7.30pm
Middle Temple Hall, Temple Winter Festival
http://www.middletemplehall.org.uk/
Sarah Fox (soprano)
Angela Simkin (mezzo-soprano)
Stuart Jackson (tenor)
Neal Davies (bass-baritone)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

‘1767 – a retrospective’
Tuesday 17 January 2017, 7.30pm
Wigmore Hall
https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/
Mozart Symphony No. 6 in F major, K.43
Gassmann “Bella in un vago viso” from Amore e Psiche
Gluck “No, crudel, non posso” from Alceste
J.C. Bach “Sopra quell capo indegno” from Carattaco
Abel “Frena le belle lagrime” from Sifari
Mozart Grabmusik, K.42
Haydn “Vidit suum” and “Flammis orci” from Stabat mater
Arne Symphony in C major
Mozart “Natus cadit” from Apollo et Hyacinthus
Gemma Summerfield (soprano)
Stuart Jackson (tenor)
Ashley Riches (bass-baritone)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Mozart’s The First Commandment (Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots)
Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 March 2017, 7.30pm
St John’s Smith Square
https://www.sjss.org.uk/
Cast includes
Christian Alessandro Fisher (tenor)
Christian Spirit Sam Furness (tenor)
Worldly Spirit Rebecca Bottone (soprano)
Justice Rachel Kelly (mezzo-soprano)
Thomas Guthrie (director)
Rhiannon Newman Brown (designer)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Kristian Bezuidenhout
Tuesday 16 May 2017, 7.30pm
Wigmore Hall
https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/
Mozart Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in F major, K.37; “A Berenice… Sol nascente in questo giorno”, K.70; Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, K.39; Keyboard Concerto No. 3 in D major, K.40; “Ein ergrimmter Löwe brüllet” from Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, K.35; Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in G major, K.41
Kristian Bezuidenhout (harpsichord)
Anna Devin (soprano)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus
Monday 12 & Tuesday 13 June 2017, 7.30pm
St John’s Smith Square
https://www.sjss.org.uk/
Mozart Symphony in G major, K.45a, ‘Lambach’; Grabmusik, K.42; Apollo et Hyacinthus, K.38
Full cast to be announced shortly
Thomas Guthrie (director)
Rhiannon Newman Brown (designer)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus
‘The Miracle of Salzburg’, Martin Randall Travel
Monday 19 June 2017, 2.45pm
Salzburg University, Great Hall
https://www.martinrandall.com/
Full cast to be announced shortly
Thomas Guthrie (director)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Mozart’s Il re pastore
‘The Miracle of Salzburg’, Martin Randall Travel
Tuesday 20 June 2017, 4.45pm
Archbishop’s Residence, Knight’s Hall
https://www.martinrandall.com/
Alessandro John Mark Ainsley (tenor)
Aminta Sarah Fox (soprano)
Elisa Ailish Tynan (soprano)
Tamiri Anna Devin (soprano)
Agenore Benjamin Hulett (tenor)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Michael Haydn’s Requiem Mass
The Miracle of Salzburg’, Martin Randall Travel
Wednesday 21 June 2017, 8.30pm
Cathedral of St Rupert
https://www.martinrandall.com/
M. Haydn Requiem in C minor
Mozart Grabmusik, K.42
Mozart Missa Solemnis in C, K.337
Soloists include
Gemma Summerfield (soprano)
Benjamin Appl (baritone)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

Mozart Symphonies & Concert Arias
‘The Miracle of Salzburg’, Martin Randall Travel
Friday 23 June 2017, 5pm
Cathedral of St Rupert
https://www.martinrandall.com/
Mozart Symphony No. 32 in G, K.318, Aria, “Ah, lo previdi… Ah, t’invola”, K.272, Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E flat, K.364, Two Entr’actes [Nos.5 & 7a] from  Thamos, König in Ägypten, K.345, Two Arias [“Ruhe sanft” & “Tiger! wetze nur die Klauen”] from Zaide, K.344, Symphony No. 34 in C major, K.338
Sarah Fox (soprano)
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (conductor)

About Classical Opera

Classical Opera is one of the leading exponents of the music of Mozart and his contemporaries.  Under the direction of founder and conductor Ian Page, and with its own specialist and highly acclaimed period-instrument orchestra, it regularly presents benchmark performances of operas and orchestral works in some of London’s most prestigious venues and, increasingly, abroad. It attracts extensive critical and public acclaim for the high quality of its performances on CD and in the concert hall, for its intelligent and imaginative programming, and for its ability to discover and nurture world-class young singers.

In 2012 Classical Opera embarked on an unprecedented recording cycle of the complete Mozart Operas (twenty releases in total, released at the rate of one a year), and in 2015 it launched the ground-breaking MOZART 250, which sets out to explore the music that was being written by Mozart and his contemporaries exactly 250 years previously, following the trajectory of his life, works and influences in chronological sequence. Spanning twenty-seven years – from the 250th anniversary of his childhood visit to London to the 250th anniversary of his death – it aims to re-tread the steps of musical history, examining, contextualising and celebrating the life of arguably the greatest composer ever to have lived.

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