Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Apollo et Hyacinthus / Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots|
Actors: Bernhard Berchtold, Maximilian Kiener, Christiane Karg, Anja Schlosser, Michiko Watanabe
Directors: Josef Wallnig, John Dew
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
BERCHTOLD/KARG/KIENER 2 DVD
APOLLO ET HYACINTHUS
T. C. | 01/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1767, Mozart, an 11 years old child, composed his first two stage works: Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes K. 35 (which is actually a sacred drama) and Apollo et Hyacinthus K. 38 (which is Mozart's first true opera).
Apollo et Hyacinthus was written to a Latin libretto which is based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. Hyacinth died due to a discus thrown by Apollo, which was blown off course by the wind god Zephyrus, out of jealousy. After he died, Apollo made a flower, the hyacinth out of his blood. The stage director John Dew created a charming show as if it were a reconstruction of an opera seria, which is presented in a late Baroque theater. Settings and costumes are baroque style and the singers are imitating baroque theater gestures. The young singers are all excellent, but one must mention tenor Maximilian Kiener in the role of Hyacinth's father Oebalus and Christiane Karg as his sister Melia. The section I liked best in this early work is their duet near the end of the opera, where they are lamenting over Hyacinth's death. This is extremely beautiful and sublime music conveying deep emotions, with the two voices blending perfectly to an accompaniment of strings pizzicati. It is amazing that eleven years old boy could compose music that has strong feeling of grief. Another proof, if there is a need, for Mozart being an unparalleled unique genius. The work lasts 75 minutes.
Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes (The Obligation of the First and Foremost Commandment) was first performed on March 12, 1767 in the Knight's Hall of the Palace of the Archbishop, Salzburg. Only the first part of the piece was composed by Mozart, the second and third were completed by Michael Haydn and Anton Cajetan Adlgasser respectively, but are lost now. Mozart part last about 85 minutes. The plot is about an Ein lauer und hinnach eifriger Christ (a half-hearted but later zealous Christian) that is torn between two worlds. The first is represented by Christgeist (Spirit of Christianity - in this production is personified as a priest) and Weltgeist (Worldliness - in this production is personified as a devil). The stage has the Tables of the Covenant at its two sides with charming settings in the form of Middle Ages paintings. Christiane Karg sings here outstandingly as the devil in a colorful green-red outfit. Bernhard Berchtold is very good as the priest.
The Sinfonieorchester der Universität Mozarteum plays with energy and vigor for Josef Wallnig. This DVD is a winner, one of the best in the Mozart 22 series. This is an exemplary production of two rare works. Very highly recommended!!
Superb musical performance, great production
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This "double bill" of two operas from Mozart's youth is simply fantastic, since it combines superior musical quality with an enthusiastic production.
Since Mozart's youth operas can sometimes be perceived as "boring" to modern ears, stage directors all over the worlds have tried many different ways to "better" them. One way is to rewrite the recitatives or cut them (as successfully done by Joachim Schloemer in Finta semplice - issued in the same collection). The other way is to present the works with dynamic staging. John Dew, the director of the production, decided to apply a very successful policy of contrasts. Where Apollo et Hyacinthus is performed "in the manner of" the way baroque operas were performed in the XVIIIth century, the British director goes resolutely towards comedy when he deals with Schuldigkeit, in the second half of the evening. The whole evening is therefore a resounding success from the very moving, affected performance of Apollo to the "borderline tasteless" (as per John Dew himself!) antics of Schuldigkeit.
To be fair, John Dew has the support of a fantastic team of young musicians. We shall start by the amazing Sinfonieorchester of the Mozarteum university: they can do absolutely everything with a very dense and ample sound and also a very good sense of rhythm: their conductor, the brilliant Josef Wallnig, has a lot to be credited with this success.
The team of singers is simply fantastic. The queen of the evening is the amazing Christiane Karg, the only singer to appear in both operas. She has to deal with the very dangerous ranges imposed by the young Mozart and she triumphs both in singing and in acting (she needs to express tragedy in Apollo and comedy in Schuldigkeit - she is unrecogniseable in that opera, buried under an outrageous make-up and silly costume!). We should mention every singer involved in these performances but we will highlight Maximilian Kiener, very good young tenor, Anja Schlosser, impressive as Apollo and Bernhard Berchtold, stealing the show in Schuldigkeit. The music soundtrack of the evening would deserve a separate CD publication because as it stands, it is the best available recorded performance of these two works. The musical qualities on display here as well as the magic touch of John Dew make this DVD a compulsory buy, in our view."
The highlight of the 2006 Salzburg collection!
Marijke Kyler | Harrisonburg,VA, USA | 03/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance of the very young Mozart's opera is exquisite in every aspect.First of all it is impossible to conceive of the creative genius who wrote this music when only [...].That alone would be enough to buy this DVD. Add to this the outstanding musicianship of the young singers/actors and orchestra members.Christiane Karg has a voice that is pure beauty; her range, precision and her ability to convey tremendous emotion are astounding.Her aria "Laetari, iocari" is a tour de force, tossed off with the greatest ease. Then there is the beautiful duet she sings with Maximilian Kiener. This is to die for! The staging, the singing and the acting are of an extremely high level.
On the second disc Christiane Karg plays a totally different character, wily and playful, but oh, that voice! How long till she sings the Queen of the Night? Highly recommended --- if you only buy one opera this year, this should be the one!Mozart - Apollo et Hyacinthus / Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots"
Finally, Mozart NOT Maimed
Stanley H. Nemeth | Garden Grove, CA United States | 10/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because of the dreadful excesses of ugly - and by now, in fact, wholly conventional - Regie theater which undermined the M/22 versions of "Nozze" and "Cosi," I'd rashly assumed none of the other operas in the series would likely be worth viewing. I'm happy to report having been completely mistaken in this assumption. The other reviewers here who've lauded "Apollo and Hyacinthus" are absolutely on target. This astonishing work by the child Mozart has been given a production that could scarcely be bettered, a sort of cross between an Inigo Jones-like baroque court masque and a stylized opera seria. Costumes and sets are at once odd but beautiful. The voices of the student singers are wonderfully fresh and accurate througout the perilous coloratura required of them. Maximilian Kiener as King Oebalus and Christiane Karg as his daughter Melia in particular stand out. In their late duet "Natus cadit," the music swells to a sudden loveliness which makes one wonder why Salieri, in the unlikely possibility that he did poison Mozart out of jealousy, would have waited so long to perform the dastardly deed. At 11, the kid was already intolerably talented.
If most of the other entries in M/22 had done the composer such service as this one, instead of allowing hack stage directors thinking themselves cutting edge to maim Mozart in the manner of destructive children, it would surely have been a series to remember."