Il re pastore (Mozart 22)

Critics were unanimous in their praise of the opening production of the
Mozart 22 project at the Salzburg Festival 2006: the premiere of the
serenata "Il rè pastore" K. 208. It was composed in early 1775 for the
visit to Salzburg of Archduke Maximilian. As in "La finta giardiniera" of
the previous year, it takes up the motif of the trials of love and virtue
in a pastoral setting. The shepherd Aminta unexpectedly learns that he is
the rightful heir to a kingdom. Initially delighted to become a king,
Aminta loses his enthusiasm when he learns he must marry Tamiri instead of
his beloved Elisa.
Thomas Hengelbrock, the production's director and conductor, gives eloquent
voice to Mozart's tale with his Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, which plays on
original instruments (including an early "fortepiano" instead of the
traditional harpsichord as continuo instrument). At 19, Mozart was no
beginner, and his next work was to be "Idomeneo," which is generally
considered to be his first operatic masterpiece. In "Il rè pastore," it is
amazing how Mozart manages to infuse life into the rigid conventions of
the opera seria genre. There is dramatic impact and emotional depth, for
example in Aminta's rondo "L'amerò, sarò costante" with obbligato solo
violin; and there are poignant depictions of inner torment, as in Agenore's
great aria supported by four natural horns. The music is a panorama of
contrasting colors, a kaleidoscope of changing moods that are given a sharp
and brilliant profile in this performance.
Hengelbrock underscores the youthful freshness and liveliness of the score
by keeping the singers on stage during the entire performance. They change
costumes and apply make-up in two curtained-off cubicles, emerging to
watch their colleagues' performances. And although the performers are
always in action, the character of the production remains intimate, almost
concert-like. Hengelbrock explains this from a historical viewpoint: "Our
stage version guides itself on the circumstances of the premiere, which
took place [in April 1775] at the Archbishop's Residence and not in a

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Il re pastore (Mozart 22)
Conductor: Thomas Hengelbrock
Staged By: Thomas Hengelbrock
Soloist: Kresimir Spicer, Annette Dasch, Marlis Petersen, Arpiné Rahdjian, Andreas Karasiak
Set: Mirella Weingarten
Orchestra: Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble
Video Director: Stefan Aglassinger
Genre: Opera
Length: 120 minutes
Cat.No.: A04001475
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The DVD is also released within the DVD package "Mozart 22 - The complete operas" which is available in selected stores worldwide and through Amazon or JPC.