So wrote the child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his father Leopold on 30 January 1768. The result of the boy's ambition was La Finta Semplice ('The Fake Innocent'), written 250 years ago. Its semi-staged performances at Queen Elizabeth Hall (6 and 8 June) mark a milestone in the 25-year project by Classical Opera, which is performing the composer's leading works exactly 250 years on from their composition.
Ian Page conducts and directs an international cast headed by Swiss soprano Regula Mühlemann, making her UK début in the title role of Rosina and leading a large cast that includes Austrian mezzo-soprano Sophie Rennert, and tenors Alessandro Fisher and Thomas Elwin, who both became Classical Opera Associate Artists in 2017. The plot has all the twists and turns of later operas, with farcical elements of disguise and deception.
Says Ian: 'A colleague recently said to me that “Mozart is the best stage director ever to have lived”, and even at the age of 12 Mozart was writing music of extraordinary drama, beauty and psychological insight. I am delighted to have assembled a cast of outstanding young singer-actors, and I'm excited at the prospect of working with them on this rarely performed work.”
La Finta Semplice is based on a comedy by Carlo Goldoni and was written in Vienna following a comment by the Emperor Joseph II, who suggested that Mozart should compose an Italian comic opera for the city. Vienna’s musicians (including Antonio Salieri) were far from happy at the prospect of being upstaged by a 12-year-old composer, though, and the opera’s première was constantly pushed back. After it proved impossible to get the opera performed in Vienna in 1768, the year of its composition, the Mozarts travelled back to Salzburg, where the opera is thought to have been performed the following year.
Classical Opera was founded in 1997 under the direction of Ian Page, and is admired for its vibrant, fresh and stylish performances, its eye and ear for rising young artists, and its imaginative programming. It has built up a reputation for highly visual concert performances: its 2006 production of Così Fan Tutte was nominated for a theatre award. Ian Page and Classical Opera performed La Finta Semplice at The Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre in 2000.
A sparkling evening is on the cards.
|What||La Finta Semplice, Classical Opera, Queen Elizabeth Hall|
|Where||Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
06 Jun 18 – 08 Jun 18, two performances
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|