Classical Opera - Apollo et Hyacinthus - SA-CD.net
17 May 2012SA-CD.net
This is the first
instalment of Classical Opera's projected complete cycle of Mozart's
operas - which is supported by the New Mozart Edition of Barenreiter -
to be released in order of composition.
Apollo et Hyacinthus was
written when Mozart was but 11 years old(!) for his school to perform.
On the basis of the writing, perhaps those who complain of falling
standards are right after all for neither the orchestral or vocal
writing is in any easy. Nor is Mozart's writing in any way immature or
lacking the characteristic Mozartian voice; as Ian Page's brilliant
comprehensive yet concise notes relate, this is "opera which would
justify occasional revival even if its creator had been four times the
age when he wrote it." Somewhat surprisingly, the virtuosity of many
vocal numbers is toned where lesser composers would (could?) not resist
making a climax too early in the number and work as a whole.
The singers - some of whom may be familiar names - assembled are seven in number:
Andrew Kennedy (Oebalus)
Klara Ek (Melia)
Sophie Bevan (Hyacinthus)
Apollo (Lawrence Zazzo)
Zephyrus (Christopher Ainslie)
2 priests (Marcus Farnsworth & David Shipley)
and all combine to form the chorus when required.
a short (sub-3 minute) "Intrada", the first of many lengthy recitatives
is heard; the playing of Classical Opera's orchestra is just as
inspired in both as they were in the recording of Arne's Artaxerxes (Arne: Artaxerxes - The Classical Opera Company).
Such is the quality of playing that, together with imaginative phrasing
from the singers, the relative length of the recitatives is unnoticed
unless one studies the accompanying booklet. Lawrence Zazzo is a
predictable highlight as Apollo and Klara Ek is simply radiant &
dazzling in her aria "Laetori, iocari". Sophie Bevan wrings every last
drop of drama from the first aria.
Christopher Ainslie is good
and phrases sensitively even if he lacks that last ounce of flair that
Ek brings to the proceedings. At the end of Chorus 1, Ek & Zazzo
duet to thrilling effect; if Mozart could have heard this he would
surely have been delighted. Andrew Kennedy in his aria and later duet
with Ek is very well done indeed; one can readily hear the prototype for
many more illustrious Mozart male figures to come. This duet has to be
heard to be believed that an 11-year old could write such marvellous
music (the accompaniment prefigures Soave il vento remarkably) and both
singers audibly to such delights before a final recitative sets up the
concluding Trio for Apollo, Melia & Oebalus.
As with the
quality of the singing and playing, Ian Page's direction must be praised
for he steers the line between pushing the music forwards without
rushing matters. His treatment of the recitatives are especially
important for they account for nearly as much music as the arias, duets,
trio & chorus numbers do; everything seems to the musical drama and
the pace perfectly offsets those chosen for the other numbers.
this would be a frustrating experience were it not for the fine Linn
recording that allows every note to be heard in isolation and yet still
have a coherent whole to them. We are accorded the finest stalls seats
and providing your fellow listeners are considerate, there are no
disturbances that afflict many an opera performance. The booklet comes
in English, French & German with full translations of all aspects.
An auspicious & thrilling start to what will surely prove to be an historic recording project.
Related LinksClassical OperaMozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus