Hasse: Piramo e Tisbe


Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783) was one of the most popular and eminent composers of the eighteenth century, and composed a total of 62 operas. For nearly half a century he delighted singers and audiences alike with the classical restraint and lyrical beauty of his music, and he was one of very few ‘foreigners’ to enjoy lasting success in Italy, acquiring the nickname ‘il caro Sassone’ (‘the dear Saxon’). The renowned chronicler Charles Burney wrote that Hasse “may without injury to his brethren be allowed to be as superior to all other lyric composers as Metastasio is to all other lyric poets”.

Piramo e Tisbe was first performed at an unidentified country estate near Vienna in the autumn of 1768. Hasse himself regarded it as his finest work, and it is by far the most experimental and forward-looking of his compositions, incorporating and developing many of Gluck’s operatic reforms in music of sumptuous lyricism and pathos. The richly textured and often through-composed score was as unusual in its time as the subject matter, which is drawn from a tragic tale in Book 4 of Ovid’s celebrated Metamorphoses, and  this long-overdue UK première promises to be one of the highlights of the London opera season.

Sung in the original Italian with English surtitles.

Running time approximately 1 hour 50 minutes including one interval.

Pre-concert talk, 6.15pm (free entry with concert ticket)

Cast List

Chiara Skerath

Swiss-Belgian soprano Chiara Skerath became an Associate Artist of Classical Opera in 2019. Chiara studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Glenn Chambers and has since been awarded numerous prizes, including the Grand Prix de Duo Chant-Piano at the 2013 International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Competition. With Classical Opera she has appeared in '1768 – a retrospective' at Wigmore Hall and as Ninetta in La finta semplice at Queen Elizabeth Hall, and she also sings the two licenza arias on the company’s recording of Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione. 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.

Updated 10 January 2018
Chiara Skerath website
Read our exclusive interview with Chiara

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Kiandra Howarth

Australian soprano Kiandra Howarth was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 2013–15. Her roles there included Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Giannetta and Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Gilda (Rigoletto), Mimi (La bohème), Nanetta (Falstaff), Ilia (Idomeneo), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). Having graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2010, she went on to study on the Opera Queensland Young Artist Programme and subsequently joined the company at Opera Australia. She was awarded the ‘Culturarte Prize’ in the 23rd Edition of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia. While studying at the Mozarteum Institute in Salzburg, she performed the role of La Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro) in a new production directed by the late Eike Gramss. She was subsequently invited to participate in the 2013 Salzburg Festival Young Singer’s Project, performing der Friedensbote (Rienzi) and Una voce dal cielo (Don Carlos) conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. In December 2015 she made her house role début at Theâtre an der Wien performing the role of First Niece in a new production of Peter Grimes. Recent and future performances include her house role début with Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at Theater Basel, 2nd flower maiden in Parsifal at the Baden Baden Festival, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, and Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) for The Grange Festival.  

Updated 22 January 2019
Kiandra Howarth website

Gwilym Bowen

Gwilym Bowen was made an Associate Artist of Classical Opera in 2019. Gwilym has an established specialism in earlier repertoire, which has brought a number of significant débuts. Highlights on the concert platform have included Johannes-Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and BBC National Orchestra of Wales under John Butt, Messiah with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Stephen Layton, Bach Cantatas at the Lincoln Centre with Masaaki Suzuki, and Monteverdi duets at the Edinburgh International Festival with the Dunedin Consort. Forthcoming engagements include Monteverdi’s Vespers at the Three Choirs Festival, Handel’s Brockes-Passion with Concerto Copenhagen on tour in Hamburg, Amsterdam and Utrecht, and Matthäus-Passion with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra under Stephen Layton.

Updated 10 Jan 2019

Gwilym Bowen website

Ian Page

Ian Page is the founder, conductor and Artistic Director of Classical Opera and The Mozartists. He began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and studied at the University of York and the Royal Academy of Music. Before founding in Classical Opera in 1997, he worked on the music staff at Scottish Opera, Opera Factory, Drottningholm and Glyndebourne.

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, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito. He has also conducted the UK premières of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito, Telemann’s Orpheus, Jommelli’s Il Vologeso and Haydn’s Applausus, 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 has devised and conducted numerous recordings for Classical Opera, including ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ and ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (both selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice), ‘Where’er You Walk’ with tenor Allan Clayton and ‘Perfido!’ with soprano Sophie Bevan (both shortlisted for the International Opera Awards in 2016 and 2017 respectively), and ‘Mozart in London’, which was recorded live during Classical Opera’s festival of the same name at Barbican’s Milton Court in 2015. In 2012 he embarked on a new complete cycle of Mozart opera recordings, aiming to record all of Mozart’s stage works over the course of twenty years . He is the creator and driving force behind MOZART 250, a ground-breaking 27-year journey through Mozart’s life, works and influences, and in 2017 he founded The Mozartists to facilitate the company’s ever-expanding concert work.

He is widely recognised for his work in developing talented young singers, and is in demand as a vocal coach. He serves on the coaching staff for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House and for the Royal College of Music, and provides bespoke training to young singers through Classical Opera’s Associate Artist Scheme.

Updated 3 July 2018

Ian Page website

The Mozartists

Comprising some of the leading players from both the UK and further afield, The Mozartists have won widespread acclaim from public and critics alike. They play on period instruments, and perform symphonies and concertos as well as operas.

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