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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Handel/Mozart: Acis und Galatea

07/14/2013 16:00
07/14/2013 16:30

 

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Throughout the Summer months I regularly program lighter lyric theater fare: comic operas, operetta and pastoral works like this one. It's Mozart's classical take on an operatic pastorale in the older baroque style. There is a certain Handelian quality to Mozart's 1791 masterpiece The Magic Flute. That's surely because in the 1780's Mozart was engaged in preparing a series of arrangements of Handel's choral works for performance in Vienna. One of these was a skillful reorchestration of Messiah K. 572 (1789), heard on this program on Sunday, March 31, 1991.

Equally well reorchestrated is Acis und Galatea, K. 566 (1788). Mozart's friend and patron, Baron Van Swieten commissioned the composer to update in the mature classical style Handel's charming lyric theatrical entertainment. Van Swieten translated the original English libretto into German. Mozart clearly took great pains in modernizing the 1718 Acis and Galatea. Handel's music ends up sounding incredibly Mozartian, as if the two styles, baroque and classical, fit hand-in-glove.

On Sunday, December 11, 1994 you heard the German Archiv label CD release of the Handel/Mozart Acis, recorded in London in 1991 with Trevor Pinnock conducting the chorus and period instrument players of the English Concert. It went over the air again on Sunday, May 27, 2006. I'm pleased to present it a third time today.