Mozart’s London

MOZART 250 is finally underway! This epic project launched at Wigmore Hall on 22 January with a tremendously well received musical portrait of the year 1765, and we are now looking forward to our ground-breaking ‘Mozart in London Festival Weekend’ at Milton Court, on 20-22 February.

Mozart came to London with his mother, father and sister in April 1764, and stayed for 15 months. During this time he composed his first three symphonies and his first concert aria, as well as several smaller works; even more significantly, he became steeped in a wide range of music – written by leading German, Italian and English composers of the day – which all contributed to the forging of his unique compositional voice.

Classical Opera’s ‘Mozart in London’ weekend incorporates four full-length concerts, a fortepiano recital exploring the young Mozart’s fascinating ‘Chelsea Notebooks’, and a series of talks by some of the leading experts in their field, including Cliff Eisen, Lucy Inglis, Daniel Snowman and David Vickers. There will be live foyer music, with performances of Mozart’s 6 sonatas for harpsichord and violin, K.10-15, which were dedicated to Queen Charlotte, and the concerts will include various contemporaneous readings, bringing the London of 1765 to vibrant life. An outstanding line-up of 10 singers will be taking part in these concerts, incorporating a company debut for the Romanian born Swiss soprano Ana Maria Labin – who recently made her debuts at La Scala, Milan and the Paris Opera – and welcome returns for former Associate Artists Rebecca Bottone, Sarah-Jane Brandon, Martene Grimson and Ben Johnson.

The weekend will feature a colourful array of music by a total of 15 composers, led by Mozart, his great friend and mentor Johann Christian Bach, and Thomas Arne. Much of the music by little-known composers such as Jonathan Battishill, Giovanni Pescetti, George Rush and Matteo Vento has not been performed since the 18th century. While the uninformed assumption might be that there is a good reason for this, we have actually been very pleasantly surprised by how good this music really is, as have our singers and players. The programme contains some real gems and genuine discoveries, and features a total of 48 arias and ensembles carefully chosen from well over 300 possible contenders.

This project also marks our debut at Milton Court, the acclaimed new concert hall which lies within a minute of the Barbican Centre. Its excellent acoustics and intimate scale lend themselves perfectly to this repertoire.

‘Mozart in London’ is the flagship project in MOZART 250’s opening season. It promises to be an exciting and revealing survey, containing a great deal of unexpectedly beautiful and enchanting music, and we very much hope that you can join us for these celebrations.