Album cover art for upc 881488210538
Catalog: PH21053

Röschmann, Dorothea; Kammerchor Stuttgart; Robbin, Catherine; Cappella Sagittariana Dresden; Bernius, Frieder; Prégardien, Christoph; Cordier, David; Rickards, Steven; Wong, Randalk K.

Hasse’s Olimpiade was the last opera seria to be premiered in Dresden before the start of the fateful Seven Years’ War – and it was performed to great acclaim, as usual and deservedly so. At the same time it is the last festival opera in the last Court carnival in the splendid Polish-Saxon tradition. It can claim to be one of the most successful of the many notable works of its two creators. Abbé Pietro Metastasio (the pen-name of Pietro Trapassi) lived from 1698 to 1782; born a year before Hasse, he died a year earlier than the composer. His growing reputation as a composer, his marital bond with Faustina and his new religious allegiance drew him to the attention of the (Catholic) court of Saxony and Poland in Dresden, where a successor was sought for the court Kapellmeister Johann David Heinichen, who had died at the age of 46 in 1729 after a long illness. Hasse and his wife were invited to Dresden in 1731. The performance of his opera Cleofide with Faustina in the title role led to his engagement, which could not be taken up by the married couple till 1734. The subsequent three decades of Hasse’s time in Dresden have come to stand for the heyday of Italian operatic and church music and for the standard-setting development of a court music establishment (the Hofkapelle) into an orchestra in the modern sense of the word. Hasse gave his concertmaster Pisendel, a first-rate virtuoso, a pretty free hand to perfect the art of instrumental accompaniment. An ensemble of internationally renowned singers excelled in the presence of this orchestra, which was inspired in ist turn by their vocal skill. Pöppelmann’s great opera house in the Zwinger offered festive splendour on stage and in the auditorium.

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