MOZART, W.A.: Re pastore (Il) (Salzburg Festival, 2006)


 

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- (Disc 1)
Il re pastore, K. 208

Date of Production: 2006
Festival: Salzburg Festival
Venue: Grosse Universitatsaula, Salzburg
Playing Time: 02:00:20
Catalogue Number: A04001475
UPC:

Critics were unanimous in their praise of the opening production of the Mozart 22 project at the Salzburg Festival 2006: the premiere of the serenata Il rè pastore, K. 208. It was composed in early 1775 for the visit to Salzburg of Archduke Maximilian. As in La finta giardiniera of the previous year, it takes up the motif of the trials of love and virtue in a pastoral setting. The shepherd Aminta unexpectedly learns that he is the rightful heir to a kingdom. Initially delighted to become a king, Aminta loses his enthusiasm when he learns he must marry Tamiri instead of his beloved Elisa.

Thomas Hengelbrock, the production's director and conductor, gives eloquent voice to Mozart's tale with his Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, which plays on original instruments (including an early "fortepiano" instead of the traditional harpsichord as continuo instrument). At 19, Mozart was no beginner, and his next work was to be Idomeneo, which is generally considered to be his first operatic masterpiece. In Il rè pastore, it is amazing how Mozart manages to infuse life into the rigid conventions of the opera seria genre. There is dramatic impact and emotional depth, for
example in Aminta's rondo "L'amerò, sarò costante" with obbligato solo violin; and there are poignant depictions of inner torment, as in Agenore's great aria supported by four natural horns. The music is a panorama of contrasting colors, a kaleidoscope of changing moods that are given a sharp and brilliant profile in this performance.

Hengelbrock underscores the youthful freshness and liveliness of the score by keeping the singers on stage during the entire performance. They change costumes and apply make-up in two curtained-off cubicles, emerging to watch their colleagues' performances. And although the performers are always in action, the character of the production remains intimate, almost concert-like. Hengelbrock explains this from a historical viewpoint: "Our stage version guides itself on the circumstances of the premiere, which took place [in April 1775] at the Archbishop's Residence and not in a theater."

Part 1


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