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05 May 2017
"With insufficient interpretative means, Sophie Bevan’s singing is just technically and aesthetically convincing. The performances lack differentiation. Moreover, the accompaniment by The Mozartists is rather uninspired."Pizzicato, 28-7-2017
The Mozartists, under the dynamic leadership of conductor and artistic director Ian Page, are leading exponents of the music of Mozart and his contemporaries. Originally called Classical Opera, the company was founded in 1997, and has received widespread international acclaim for its stylish and virtuosic period-instrument orchestra, its imaginative and innovative programming, and its ability to nurture and develop world-class young artists.
The Mozartists have a prolific recording profile, and perform regularly at the UK’s leading venues, including Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, Southbank Centre and Birmingham Town Hall; they have also toured to Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Greece and the Czech Republic. Renowned for their fresh and insightful interpretations of well-known masterpieces as well as for their ability to bring rare works to light, they have mounted staged productions of many of Mozart’s operas, and have also given numerous UK premières, including Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito, Telemann’s Orpheus, Jommelli’s Il Vologeso, Haydn’s Applausus and Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe.
In 2015 the company launched MOZART 250, a ground-breaking 27-year project exploring the chronological trajectory of Mozart’s life, works and influences. Described by The Observer as “among the most audacious classical music scheduling ever”, this flagship project presents 250thanniversary performances of most of Mozart’s important works, placing them in context alongside other significant works by Mozart’s contemporaries.
Page and his ensemble are also celebrated for their studio recordings. Their first two recordings – ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ and ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ – were both selected for Gramophone’s annual Critics’ Choice, and the first seven releases in their ongoing recording cycle of the complete Mozart operas have attracted superlative reviews. Further recordings include the acclaimed 2-CD set ‘Mozart in London’ and recital discs featuring tenor Allan Clayton (‘Where’er You Walk’) and soprano Sophie Bevan (‘Perfido!’), both of which were shortlisted for the International Opera Awards. They recently released the first two volumes in a new ‘Sturm und Drang’ series.
“Conductor, instrumentalists and singers alike make sound the servant of the sense, with stylish, eloquent and dramatic music-making of the highest order.” INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
Ian Page (conductor) is the founder, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera, and is emerging as one of the leading British conductors of his generation. He began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and studied English Literature at the University of York before completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the start of his career he worked on the music staff at Scottish Opera, Opera Factory, Glyndebourne and the Drottningholm Slottsteater in Sweden, working with such conductors as Sir Alexander Gibson, Nicholas McGegan, Mark Wigglesworth, Ivor Bolton and Sir Charles Mackerras.
With Classical Opera he has conducted most of Mozart’s early operas, including the world première of the ‘original’ version of Mitridate, re di Ponto and a new completion of Zaide, as well as Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito. He has also conducted the UK premières of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito, Telemann’s Orpheus and Jommelli’s Il Vologeso, as well as the first new staging for 250 years of Johann Christian Bach’s Adriano in Siria. In 2009 he made his Royal Opera House début conducting Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Linbury Studio Theatre, and his studio recording of the work was released in 2011 on Linn Records.
He devised and conducted Classical Opera’s recordings of ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ (Signum Classics) and ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live), both of which were selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice, and he recently embarked on an acclaimed new complete cycle of Mozart opera recordings with Classical Opera. He has also created and devised MOZART 250, Classical Opera’s ambitious 27-year journey through Mozart’s music and influences, which was launched in London in 2015.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose actual name is Joannes Chrysotomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a composer, pianist, violinist and conductor from the classical period, born in Salzburg. Mozart was a child prodigy. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. Along with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart is considered to be one of the most influential composers of all of music's history. Within the classical tradition, he was able to develop new musical concepts which left an everlasting impression on all the composers that came after him. Together with Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven he is part of the First Viennese School. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. From 1763 he traveled with his family through all of Europe for three years and from 1769 he traveled to Italy and France with his father Leopold after which he took residence in Paris. On July 3rd, 1778, his mother passed away and after a short stay in Munich with the Weber family, his father urged him to return to Salzburg, where he was once again hired by the Bishop. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death.
With insufficient interpretative means, Sophie Bevan’s singing is just technically and aesthetically convincing. The performances lack differentiation. Moreover, the accompaniment by The Mozartists is rather uninspired.