15 March 2018, 7.30pm - Cadogan Hall, London
Ian Page and The Mozartists continue their ground-breaking chronological journey through Mozart’s life, works and influences with an overdue reassessment of Haydn’s fascinating and unjustly neglected Applausus cantata. Commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Cistercian abbot taking his monastic vows in the small Austrian town of Zwettl, this work has been largely forgotten, but the music is revelatory, ranging from the ‘Sturm und Drang’ dynamism of its two bass arias to two exquisite tenor concertante arias featuring extended solos for harpsichord and violin respectively.
The work is sung in Latin, its allegorical plot recalling medieval literary traditions as the four cardinal virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Justice and Fortitude – joined by the personification of Theology – extol their host’s qualities and achievements. The text, though, is primarily a vehicle for uplifting contemplation and Haydn’s beautiful music.
A superb cast of young British singers is headed by soprano Ellie Laugharne – described by Opera as “a joy to behold” and by The Guardian as “a genuinely magnetic stage presence” – tenor Thomas Elwin and bass David Shipley, with Elspeth Marrow and John Savournin making their company débuts as Prudentia and Fortitudo.
There will be a free pre-concert talk given by conductor and artistic director Ian Page 6.15pm-6.45pm in the main auditorium, providing an overview of Applausus and its historical context.
“These young singers and a period-instrument orchestra – packed with many of the wisest practitioners in the business – deliver uniformly superb interpretations.” GRAMOPHONE
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.
After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, soprano Ellie Laugharne was a Jerwood Young Artist for the Glyndebourne Festival, and more recently an Associate Artist for Opera North. She is currently a Classical Opera Associate Artist and a Samling Artist. For Classical Opera she has sung the role of Emirena in the company’s 2015 production of Adriano in Siria, and appeared as Zerlina in its 2016 concert performance of Don Giovanni. Other operatic appearances have included Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia) for Glyndebourne on Tour, Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Frasquita (Carmen) and Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) for Scottish Opera, The Governess (The Turn of the Screw) and Tina (Flight) for Opera Holland Park, Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro) for English National Opera, and Despina (Così fan tutte) and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) for Opera North.
Elspeth Marrow completed her studies at the Royal College of Music in 2017. In 2012 she graduated from Royal Holloway, where she was awarded the Driver Prize for Excellence in Performance and the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary. Operatic roles include Mrs Grose (The Turn of the Screw) for Euphonia Opera, Polinesso (Ariodante) with London Handel Festival & RCM, Florence Pike (Albert Herring) with RCM, Hansel (Hansel and Gretel) and Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon) for Opera Holloway, and Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) for Co-Opera Co. She won third prize in the Brooks-van der Pump English Song Competition and reached the finals of the Concerto Competition and the Contemporary Competition at the Royal College of Music as well as the Dean and Chadlington Competition. She will make her début with Classical Opera as Prudentia in Applausus.
Thomas Elwin studied at the Royal Academy of Music and is an alumnus of the Solti Accademia Bel Canto and the Verbier Academy. In 2017 he became an Associate Artist of Classical Opera, and will appear with the company in Haydn’s Applausus at Cadogan Hall and in La finta semplice at Birmingham Town Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. For the 2014/15 season he was a member of the opera studio at Oper Stuttgart, where roles included Officer (Ariadne auf Naxos), Kuska (Khovanshchina), Adballo (Nabucco), and Borsa (Rigoletto). Other roles include Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Nathanael (Contes d’Hoffman), Kuska and Borsa, all for Staatstheater Stuttgart, Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) in a new production by Sigrid Herzog at the Vorarlberg Landestheater, Ferrando for Teatro Barocco, Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) for English National Opera and Telemaco (Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria) for The Grange Festival.
John Savournin studied with a scholarship at Trinity College of Music, where he was awarded the Founder’s Prize for Excellence and the Paul Simms Opera Prize. Opera roles include Leporello (Don Giovanni), Colline (La bohème) and The Immigration Officer (Flight) for Opera Holland Park, Alidoro (La Cenerentola) for Opera North and Scottish Opera, and Schaunard (La bohème), Peter Quince (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Second Gunman (Kiss Me, Kate) for Welsh National Opera. He is also well-known for his work in contemporary repertoire. He made his Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room débuts as a Park Lane Young Artist, returning for a second Wigmore recital as a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians/Concordia Foundation prize winner. Other concert and oratorio highlights have included Messiah at the Bridgewater Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. He will make his Classical Opera début in March 2018, singing the role of Fortitudo in Haydn’s Applausus.
David Shipley studied at the Royal Academy of Music and on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and is a recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He is an Associate Artist of Classical Opera, and with the company he has appeared in a performance of Handel’s Dixit Dominus, and as the Commendatore in its 2016 concert performance of Don Giovanni at Cadogan Hall. He also appears in the role of Priest of Apollo on the company’s recording of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus. His roles for the Royal Opera include Arthur and Officer III (The Lighthouse), Captain (Eugene Onegin), Sciarrone (Tosca), Guccio (Gianni Schicchi), High Priest of Baal (Nabucco), Clerk 3 / Policeman 4 / Speculator / Respectable Lady’s Son in Shostakovich’s The Nose, Sergeant (Manon Lescaut), Dr Grenvil (La traviata), Flemish Deputy (Don Carlo), and the Nightwatchman (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). Elsewhere, he has performed as a soloist with ensembles and conductors such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis and Sir Mark Elder. Engagements in the 2017-18 season include Second Armed Man (Die Zauberflöte), Antinoo (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria), and Zuniga (Carmen), all for the Royal Opera, and Sandoval Le duc d’Albe.
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.