Classical Opera today announces its 2017/18 season, in which it celebrates its twentieth anniversary with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Barbican, and launches The Mozartists to develop its ever-expanding concert work. Other highlights include a concert staging of Mozart’s La finta semplice and a performance of Haydn’s Applausus, both part of the fourth year of the ongoing MOZART 250 series following the chronological trajectory of Mozart’s life, works and influences.
Classical Opera’s 2017/18 season at a glance:
- The Mozartists Launch Concert with works by Mozart and Gluck featuring Associate Artist Louise Alder, winner of the Young Singer award at the International Opera Awards 2017 (Wigmore Hall, 18 September 2017).
- Classical Opera’s 20th Birthday Concert featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Miah Persson, Anna Devin, Anna Stéphany, Stuart Jackson and Henry Waddington (Barbican, 9 October 2017).
- A new recording of Il sogno di Scipione to be released as part of Classical Opera’s continuing complete Mozart opera cycle on Signum Classics (13 October 2017).
- A chamber concert featuring music by Haydn, Mozart and Koželuh (Stamford Arts Centre, 10 March 2018).
- A two-CD recording of highlights from the pioneering ‘Mozart in London’ festival at Barbican’s Milton Court in January 2015 on Signum Classics (to be released May 2018).
- ‘1768 – a retrospective’: a musical overview of the year 1768 with works by Haydn, Jommelli, J. C. Bach, Hasse, Vanhal and Mozart (Wigmore Hall, 23 January 2018).
- A rare performance of Haydn’s cantata Applausus, showcasing company Associate Artists and other emerging Young Artists (Cadogan Hall, 15 March 2018).
- A new semi-staging of Mozart’s La finta semplice with a cast including Regula Mühlemann, Chiara Skerath, Emily Edmonds, Alessandro Fisher, Thomas Elwin and Božidar Smiljanić (Birmingham Town Hall, 2 June 2018; Queen Elizabeth Hall, 6 & 8 June 2018).
The 17/18 season opens at Wigmore Hall with the launch of The Mozartists, formed to enhance the company’s exploration of orchestral and non-operatic vocal works. As such, the programme features violinist Matthew Truscott and viola player Alfonso Leal del Ojo from the company’s own period-instrument orchestra in the quintessentially Mozartian Sinfonia concertante in E flat major (K.364), and Associate Artist Louise Alder in Mozart’s “Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!” (K.418) and the concertante aria “De’ sublimi augusti eroi” from Gluck’s Il prologo. The concert closes with what is perhaps Mozart’s most well-known early symphony, his Symphony No. 29 in A major (K.201). (18 September)
The company then celebrates its 20th birthday and anniversary season with a concert which explores themes of creation, rebirth, humanity and compassion, charting a musical journey from darkness into light which begins with Die Vorstellung des Chaos, the prelude to Haydn’s The Creation, and culminates with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, featuring a hand-picked choir and a welcome return to the company by Swedish soprano Miah Persson. (9 October) In their first visit to the newly-refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall, and their second annual performance at Birmingham Town Hall, Classical Opera presents a concert staging of Mozart’s opera buffa La finta semplice, featuring Swiss soprano Regula Mühlemann, a singer ‘with the kind of crystal-clear tone you could pour over ice and drink’ (The Guardian), in her company début as Rosina. (2, 6 & 8 June 2018)
The annual MOZART 250 retrospective, which contextualises the musical scene and impact of new works 250 years ago through a fascinating musical overview of that year in music, continues in its fourth year with an exploration of 1768 featuring Swiss-Belgian soprano Chiara Skerath making her company début in arias from Jommelli’s Fetonte, Haydn’s Lo speziale, Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe and Mozart’s La finta semplice, while principal flautist Katy Bircher is the soloist in J. C. Bach’s Flute Concerto in D major. (23 January 2018)
An exciting cast of young artists including Ellie Laugharne, Elspeth Marrow, Thomas Elwin and David Shipley assembles for the first UK performance in recent years of Haydn’s celebratory cantata Applausus at Cadogan Hall. As Haydn was not able to attend the première, he sent a letter detailing his exact specifications for the piece in a rare insight into his ideas on performance practice, even down to amount of time to be given to rehearsal, sure to be followed by Ian Page. (15 March 2018)
The company visit Stamford Arts Centre for the first time with a chamber programme from soprano Susanna Hurrell and tenor Alessandro Fisher in solos and duets by Haydn, and violinist Julia Kuhn, cellist Jonathan Rees and fortepianist Steven Devine in music by Haydn, Mozart and Koželuh. (10 March 2018)
Classical Opera add to their growing discography of acclaimed recordings with a new recording of Il sogno di Scipione featuring Stuart Jackson (Scipione), Klara Ek (Costanza), Soraya Mafi (Fortuna), Krystian Adam (Publio), Robert Murray (Emilio) and Chiara Skerath (singing the two licenza arias), to be released as part of Classical Opera’s continuing complete Mozart opera cycle on Signum Classics. (13 October 2017)
Next May, it releases a ‘Mozart in London’ compilation featuring highlights from the company’s major retrospective of the eight-year-old Mozart’s formative visit to London in 1765 at Barbican’s Milton Court in January 2015. Some of the composer’s earliest works sit alongside music by Thomas Arne, K. F. Abel and J. C. Bach as well as little-known composers such as Samuel Arnold and Giovanni Pescetti, promising a fascinating glimpse into London’s rich musical history. (May 2018)
Ian Page’s commitment to providing valuable opportunities for outstanding young singers remains a key part of the 2017/18 Season, with the arrival of three new Associate Artists to be announced in due course. The company also continues its important outreach work in Ealing and Birmingham, with the fourth year of its MOZART 250 Schools’ Project, through which primary school children hear live performances of Mozart’s music, learn about his life and historical context, and compose their own operas, coming together to share their performances.
Ian Page, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera, says: “Our opening concert of the season marks a red-letter day for the company as we launch The Mozartists, and similarly our 20th Birthday Concert looks forward to the future rather than reflecting on past achievements: Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony is the ideal celebratory centrepiece and provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase the outstanding ensemble of singers and players that we have built up over the past twenty years. I have had a great time putting our twentieth anniversary season together, and I hope that you will find our programme of events both attractive and inspiring.”