1768 – a retrospective
23 January 2018, 7.30pm - Wigmore Hall, London
Ian Page’s visionary MOZART 250 series continues to build a widespread and highly enthusiastic following. Here he returns with The Mozartists for a diverse and illuminating overview of the musical year 1768. Dramatically charged D minor symphonies by Haydn and Vanhal frame a charming flute concerto by ‘the London Bach’ and a fascinating selection of arias sung by the outstanding young Swiss-Belgian soprano Chiara Skerath.
“It’s a series worth following: this was an unalloyed pleasure from start to finish.” THE INDEPENDENT on MOZART 250
Symphony No. 26 in D minor, ‘Lamentatione’
“Ombre che tacite qui sede” from Fetonte
J. C. Bach
Flute Concerto in D major
“Amore nel mio petto” and “Salamelica, Semprugna cara” from Lo speziale
Sinfonia and “Amoretti, che ascosi qui siete” from La finta semplice, K.51
“Perderò l’amato bene” from Piramo e Tisbe
Symphony in D minor
Ian Page is the founder, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera. He began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and studied English Literature at the University of York before completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the start of his career he worked on the music staff at Scottish Opera, Opera Factory, Drottningholm and Glyndebourne, working with such conductors as Sir Alexander Gibson, Nicholas McGegan, Mark Wigglesworth, Ivor Bolton and Sir Charles Mackerras.
With Classical Opera he has conducted most of Mozart’s early operas, including the world premières of the “original” version of Mitridate, re di Ponto and a new completion of Zaide, as well as Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito. He has also conducted the UK premières of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito and Telemann’s Orpheus, and the first new staging for 250 years of Johann Christian Bach’s Adriano in Siria. In 2009 he made his Royal Opera House début conducting Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Linbury Studio Theatre, and his studio recording of the work was released in 2011 on Linn Records.
He also devised and conducted Classical Opera’s recordings of ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ (Signum Classics) and ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live), both of which were selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice, and in 2012 he embarked on a complete cycle of Mozart opera recordings with Classical Opera.
Swiss-Belgian soprano Chiara Skerath studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Glenn Chambers. She has since been awarded numerous prizes, including the Grand Prix de Duo Chant-Piano at the 2013 International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Competition. She appears on Classical Opera’s recording of Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione, singing the two licenza arias, and will join them for ‘1768 – a retrospective’ at Wigmore Hall and as Ninetta in La finta semplice. Mozart roles include Despina (Così fan tutte) at Oper Frankfurt, Cinna (Lucio Silla) at Theater an der Wien, Opéra de Versailles and Philharmonie de Paris, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) at the Opéra de Saint-Etienne, Barbarina and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie and Operklosterneuburg, and Zerlina (Don Giovanni) at the Drottningholm Festival in Sweden.
Katy Bircher is established as a specialist of early flutes and, as such, has worked with most of the UK based early music groups in repertoire ranging from Dowland to Wagner. As a soloist she has played concertos with the Dunedin Consort, the Academy of Ancient Music, La Serenissima, and Concerto Copenhagen, appearing in concerts across Europe, the United States and the Far East. Following the Gramophone Award winning recording of Vivaldi concertos (‘The French Connection’, Avie Records) with La Serenissima, she was selected to give the first performance and first recording of the newly discovered ‘Il Gran Mogul’ concerto by Vivaldi (‘The French Connection 2’ with La Serenissima, Avie Records). As principal flute, she has contributed to many critically acclaimed orchestral recordings, notably Haydn’s Creation with the Gabrieli Consort and Players, Bach’s B minor Mass with Concerto Copenhagen and Bach’s St John Passion with the Dunedin Consort. She teaches Baroque flute at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research at Birmingham University, and has given masterclasses in the UK and abroad.
The Mozartists was launched in 2017 as an extension of Ian Page’s internationally renowned period ensemble Classical Opera. While Classical Opera continues to perform and record complete operas, The Mozartists present the company’s other concert work, broadening its exploration of the works of Mozart and his contemporaries. The Mozartists’ first recording, ‘Perfido!’, was released in May 2017.
Under Page’s direction, Classical Opera and The Mozartists are widely recognised as leading exponents of the works of Mozart and his contemporaries. In particular they are renowned for their vibrant, fresh and stylish performances, their ability to discover and nurture outstanding young artists, and their imaginative and illuminating programming. Over the years they have performed most of Mozart’s stage works, as well as operas by J. C. Bach, Gluck, Haydn, Arne, Telemann and Jommelli, and in 2012 Classical Opera embarked on a major new recording cycle of the complete Mozart operas on Signum Classics. The company’s discography also includes ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ (re-launched on Signum Classics in 2014), ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live, 2010), Thomas Arne’s Artaxerxes (Linn Records, 2011), and ‘Where’er You Walk’, a programme of arias composed for the celebrated English tenor John Beard, featuring tenor Allan Clayton (Signum Classics, 2016). The company has presented staged operas at Sadler’s Wells, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Buxton Opera House and the Schwetzingen Rokokotheater, and regular concerts at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, Cadogan Hall and Kings Place. In 2016 they were invited to present the opening three concerts of the prestigious Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt.
In 2015 the company launched MOZART 250, a ground-breaking exploration of Mozart’s life, works and influences. Described by The Observer as ‘among the most audacious classical music scheduling ever’, this ambitious project will culminate in 2041 with the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s death.