Ian Page and The Mozartists continue their ground-breaking chronological journey through Mozart’s life, works and influences with an overdue reassessment of Haydn’s fascinating and unjustly neglected Applausus cantata. Commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cistercian abbot taking his monastic vows in the small Austrian town of Zwettl, this work has been largely forgotten, but the music is revelatory, ranging from the Sturm und Drang dynamism of its two bass arias to two exquisite tenor concertante arias featuring extended solos for harpsichord and violin respectively.
The work is sung in Latin, its allegorical plot recalling medieval literary traditions as the four cardinal virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Justice and Fortitude – joined by the personification of Theology – extol their host’s qualities and achievements. The text, though, is primarily a vehicle for uplifting contemplation and Haydn’s beautiful music.
A superb cast of young British singers is headed by soprano Ellie Laugharne – described by Opera as “a joy to behold” and by The Guardian as “a genuinely magnetic stage presence” – tenor Thomas Elwin and bass David Shipley, with Elspeth Marrow and John Savournin making their company débuts as Prudentia and Fortitudo.
“These young singers and a period-instrument orchestra – packed with many of the wisest practitioners in the business – deliver uniformly superb interpretations.” (Gramophone)
6.15pm-6.45pm: Free pre-concert talk in the main auditorium
Conductor and artistic director Ian Page provides an overview of Applausus and its historical context.