Ian Page and The Mozartists continue their MOZART 250 series with a Gluck double-bill at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, presenting Bauci e Filemone and the UK premiere of the composer’s 1769 revision of Orfeo. Ian Page has brought together a stellar cast for this performance, including Lena Belkina, Kiandra Howarth, Rebecca Bottone and Gwilym Bowen. Gwilym Bowen is one of the ensemble’s new Associate Artists and is due to make his company debut in the upcoming performance of Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe at Cadogan Hall later this month. The concert staging of this double bill is directed by John Wilkie.
The two one-act operas were composed and first performed 250 years ago in Parma to celebrate the wedding of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, to Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria. Both Bauci e Filemone and Orfeo are based on stories described by Ovid in Metamorphoses. For the score of Orfeo, Gluck reworked his most popular work Orfeo ed Euridice, written 7 year earlier, for a soprano castrato in the title role.
Conductor and Artistic Director Ian Page writes: “We’re hugely excited to be returning to the Queen Elizabeth Hall for this Gluck double-bill, especially with such a strong line-up. Bauci e Filemone is a charming work whose neglect is genuinely unmerited, while Orfeo ed Euridice has been on my wish-list for many years now. The opportunity to present the UK première of this 1769 version is an added bonus; the music is essentially the same, though lacking the final ballet, and I am looking forward to working with a cast of three such contrasting singers. I am also thrilled that this project will mark the UK dèbut of the outstanding young Ukranian mezzo Lena Belkina, who has been building a wonderful reputation in mainland Europe in recent years.”
The performance is part of The Mozartist’s ongoing MOZART 250 series, an ambitious 27-year project which seeks to re-tread the steps of musical history and explore the trajectory of Mozart’s life, music and influences in chronological sequence. Each year Ian Page and his ensemble are devoting part of their programme to an exploration of the music that was being composed by Mozart and his contemporaries exactly 250 years previously. 2019 sees them continue the series into its fifth year, exploring the musical world when Mozart was thirteen.