University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Mayr: Amore non soffre opposizione

08/12/2018 1:00 pm
08/12/2018 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

It was a German composer, Johann Simon Mayr, who brought Italian opera from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century. Born in Bavaria in 1763, Mayr was a little younger than the Austrian, Mozart, and a little older then the Rhineland native, Beethoven. He long outlived both of them, dying in 1845. Mayr's career was spent largely in Italy. He Italianized his name. His operas continued to be performed in Italy and elsewhere in Europe up to circa 1850. For a while his works rivaled in popularity those of Rossini. It is therefore hard to believe how Mayr's operas in later times could be so completely forgotten.

Now in the twenty first century a conductor from Bavaria, Franz Hauk, has championed the cause of Mayr's music. He has already recorded three of Mayr's oratorios, released through the Naxos label. In 2017 Naxos came out with Hauk's recorded interpretation of Telemaco (1797), an opera seria in the style of Gluck. That recording I broadcast on Sunday, November 12 of last year. Mayr also composed works in the genre of the Italian opera buffa.

In 2016 Naxos gave out the world premiere recording of the comic opera Amore non soffre opposizione ("Love Will Not Tolerate Opposition," 1810) on two compact discs. This is a tender-hearted lyric comedy in the form of the "sentimental drama" in vogue at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Mayr's music is progressive in that there are no recitative passages. Franz Hauk was conducting from the harpsichord when Amore was recorded at Neuburg on the Danube in Bavaria in 2011. He directed the East-West European Festival Orchestra and six vocal soloists.