Mozart: Il sogno di Scipione

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OPERA: Disc of the Month
GRAMOPHONE: Editor’s Choice
VOIX DES ARTS: Recording of the Month
iCLASSICAL: Collectors’ Choice

Ian Page and the Orchestra of Classical Opera have an unerring knack for making the most of the young Mozart’s characterful music.” GRAMOPHONE

Classical Opera continues its critically acclaimed complete Mozart opera recording series on Signum Classics with the one-act dramatic serenade Il sogno di Scipione, K. 126. Conductor and artistic director Ian Page has assembled a cast comprising current Associate Artists soprano Soraya Mafi (Fortuna) and tenor Stuart Jackson (Scipio), as well as sopranos Klara Ek (Costanza) and Chiara Skerath (two licenza arias) and tenors Krystian Adam (Publio) and Robert Murray (Emilio).

The sixth release in the series, following recordings of Apollo et Hyacinthus, Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, Mitridate, re di Ponto, Il re pastore and Zaide, Il sogno di Scipione is set in c.148 BC and was written as a homage to the Archbishop of Salzburg. It tells the story of the Roman general Scipio, a guest in the palace of his ally Massinissa, King of Numidia (in modern day Tunisia). As Scipio falls into a deep sleep, he dreams that the allegorical figures of Fortuna (Fortune) and Costanza (Constancy) appear to him in Elysium and demand that he should choose one of them to follow for the rest of his days.

Mozart’s dramatic genius shows itself in two framing devices he uses to set up the story – the gradual subsidence of the overture into an unresolved hush depicting Scipio falling into a deep sleep, and the remarkable accompanied recitative in which Scipio eventually stirs from his dream – in which he composes music of sublime beauty and haunting otherworldliness.

Ian Page says:

“In his early operas Mozart already demonstrates an unerring ability to match the scale and ambition of the music to the widely differing circumstances for which each work was written, no less so in Il sogno di Scipione. Mozart’s vocal writing is often virtuosic and demanding, and the orchestra already plays a dynamic role in evoking character and emotion.”

Il sogno di Scipione follows the much lauded ‘Perfido!’, a collection of concert arias by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven sung by soprano Sophie Bevan with Ian Page’s The Mozartists, a new extension of Classical Opera reflecting their expanding concert work and broadening exploration of the music of Mozart and his contemporaries.

Translations of the libretto into French, English and German alongside the original Italian can be read here.