I was kicking around on Amazon the other day, looking for something by the Tolzer Knabenchor, when I came across this CD of the Mozart opera Apollo and Hyacinthus. It sounded like it would be fun so I ordered it and it arrived on Tuesday. I love it. I knew that in the 1700’s the roles of women in the opera were played by boys but this is the first time I’ve heard them do it.
The boys here are Christian Fliegner, 13, Sebastian Pratchske, 12, both sopranos; Christian Gunther, 12, and Philipp Cieslewicz, 13, both altos;
Markus Schafer, tenor and Christian Immier, basse.
My first thought was ‘they sound so cute’.
The liner notes on this one are in Russian so I went to the internet to find out more about it. While I was there I found a couple of clips on YouTube showing Allan Bergius and Panito Iconomou, both of der Tolzer Knabenchor, singing the Zephyrus aria and dressed in period 18th century costumes. They not only sound cute, they look adorable. Especially little Allan Bergius in that pink gown and blond wig. It made me smile so much I wish I could see an entire production. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOmwJ0lb_jY
There are other clips from that production on YouTube as well.
Apollo and Hyacinthus was written in 1767 ,when Mozart was 11 years old. It is Mozart's first true opera and is based upon the Greek mythology story about Hyacinth being struck on the head and killed by a discus thrown by the god Apollo. It was the wind god Zephyrus who was actually responsible for the Hyacinth's death because Zephyrus, out of jealousy, blew the discus off course in order to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo made the Hyacinth flower spring out from his spilled blood.
The music and singing in this CD are excellent and even non-opera fans would like it.