Ian Page looks forward to Apollo et Hyacinthus
Artistic Director Ian Page looks forward to our forthcoming performances of Mozart’s Grabmusik and his first opera Apollo et Hyacinthus.
“As I write, we are deeply immersed in rehearsals for our imminent production of Mozart’s Grabmusik and Apollo et Hyacinthus. We are presenting this double-bill on 10 June at the beautiful and historic Birmingham Town Hall (in concert performance) and then on 12 & 13 June at St John’s Smith Square (fully staged). This will be the fourth MOZART 250 project of the year, and it has proved extremely instructive and rewarding to be able to immerse ourselves so intensively and wholeheartedly in the music that the eleven-year-old Mozart was writing during the spring and summer of 1767. Our January retrospective of music written in 1767 – which included works by Haydn, Gluck, J. C. Bach, Arne, Abel and Gassmann as well as Mozart – was followed by a production of Mozart’s Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (‘The First Commandment’) and, most recently, performances of Mozart’s first four keyboard concertos, which were actually adaptations and elaborations of sonata movements by a variety of other composers, now largely forgotten. We are saving the best, though, until last.
“Grabmusik has become something of a party piece for us, and we have performed the work several times – most recently in January’s Wigmore Hall retrospective – while this will be our third production of Apollo et Hyacinthus, though the first for over ten years. It is a characteristic of great works that they get better the more you work on them, but even I have been surprised by the extent to which this is true of these two childhood compositions. Both are genuinely dramatic, affecting and powerful, and they reveal an empathy and understanding of the human condition which is truly astounding from one so young. They also possess moments of rare and exquisite beauty.It has been hugely rewarding and exciting to spend time in rehearsal with director Thomas Guthrie and our wonderful cast, and even those of you who have seen and heard these works before are hopefully in for a real treat.”