Ian Page and The Mozartists present the UK premiere of Hasse’s two-act opera Piramo e Tisbe at Cadogan Hall on 28 March. They will be joined by two of their recently announced Associate Artists, Chiara Skerath and Gwilym Bowen (who will be making his company debut), and Australian soprano Kiandra Howarth. Ian Page will give a pre-concert talk to introduce the opera and explore its background.
Piramo e Tisbe was first performed in Vienna in the autumn of 1768, just over 250 years ago, yet has never received a performance in the UK until now. In a letter to a friend, Hasse commented that the opera was “among the best works I have written…while composing it I always felt inspiration”. The story of Piramo e Tisbe is drawn from Book Four of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and tells the tragic story of two young lovers’ failed attempt to elope.
Ian Page writes: “We performed an aria from Piramo e Tisbe at our 1768 retrospective concert at Wigmore Hall last January, and we were all overwhelmed by the beauty of the music. It prompted me to explore the rest of the opera in more detail, and the more I familiarised myself with it the more straightforward the decision became to perform the complete work. Because of the lateness of the planning it did not prove possible to schedule the performance on the exact 250th anniversary of the premiere, but I’m delighted to be presenting the long-overdue UK premiere of the work, especially with such an outstanding trio of young singers.”
Piramo e Tisbe was the sixty-first of Hasse’s sixty-two operas, and unlike its predecessors it is surprisingly forward-thinking, incorporating and developing many of Gluck’s operatic reforms in music of sumptuous lyricism and pathos.