Settling back into his native Salzburg after a tour of Italy, young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart produced a number of stage works for his main patron, the Archbishop.
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Although they do not rival the popularity of his later creations, each carries his inimitable style and fantastic sense of melody. The year-old Mozart received a commission from the Archbishop of Salzburg, Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, to compose an opera to mark the official state visit of Archduke Maximilian Francis. Count Hieronymus von Colloredo commissioned thenyear-old Mozart to commemorate the visit of Archduke Maximilian Francis to Salzburg with a special stage work.
The young composer, still under the influence of his Italian journeys from a few years earlier, picked an Italian libretto by opera seria heavyweight Pietro Metastasio. It presents the eternal conflict between personal desires and the higher callings of the state, and its pastoral charms inspired over one dozen composers to create operas around it.
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Court chaplain Giambattista Varesco took over editing duties to get the story in line with current operatic standards. A second performance of this opera is set for pm Saturday, July 21, at the same venue.
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For some reason, Il Re Pastore is rarely performed. I last saw this opera perhaps five years ago at St.
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Interestingly, Mozart wrote this opera for three sopranos and two tenors. In the original production in Salzburg, the lead role was sung by a secco castrato. Patricia Westley was, in fact, the star of this show. Singing with a bright, bell-like tone, Patricia Westley depicted Elise as a flirtatious lass in a pink dress and sporting a sun-hat with a pink ribbon down the back.
Il re pastore (libretto)
Elise is head over heels in love with the humble shepherd Aminta, whom she has charmed ever since she was a young child. Aminta returns her love, and the two can hardly wait to be married. Agenor and Alexander believe that the humble shepherd Aminta is indeed the missing heir.
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So Agenor approaches Aminta and asks politely if Aminta would like to meet Alexander. In the witty, playful stage direction by Tara Faircloth, Alexander is depicted as quite the narcissist, forever having a hand-mirror at the ready to admire his countenance, smooth his hair, and tweak his mustache.