Mozart 22
Ascanio in Alba
Distributor: C Major Entertainment / Unitel
Length: 108 min. 50 sec.
16:9 shot in Digital Video 25P / stereo & 5.1 surround sound
© 2006, a production of Unitel, and BFMI in co-production with Classica, in cooperation with the Salzburg Festival
Festa teat­rale in two parts K. 111 (1771)
Lib­retto: Gi­useppe Par­ini

"As­canio in Al­ba", K.111, came about through the good of­fices of Count Firmi­an, who had shared the Mil­an audi­ence’s en­thu­si­asm for "Mitrid­ate" and ex­er­ted his in­flu­ence on the Empress in Vi­enna. He sug­ges­ted en­trust­ing the young Moz­art with the com­pos­i­tion of a festa teat­rale for the wed­ding of the Empress’s son, Arch­duke Ferdin­and, and Maria Be­atrice d’Este of Mod­ena. Moz­art began work­ing on the score in the late Au­gust 1771.

Tail­or-made for the roy­al wed­ding, the work’s main func­tion was to por­tray the mem­bers of the Habs­burg wed­ding party as gen­er­ous, kindly rulers and vir­tu­ous her­oes. For the cre­at­ive team of the pro­duc­tion shown at the Salzburg Fest­iv­al but ori­gin­at­ing at the Na­tion­altheat­er Man­nheim, this spe­cificity proved to be a re­ward­ing chal­lenge.

Since the audi­ence had no pre-for­mu­lated ex­pect­a­tions with "As­canio", dir­ect­or Dav­id Her­mann and his stage and cos­tume de­sign­er Chris­tof Het­zer sought to draw out of this un­known op­era the ele­ments that are of par­tic­u­lar in­terest to us today.
The ima­gin­at­ive pro­duc­tion – fea­tur­ing a re­duced chor­us, a "move­ment chor­us" and even a seg­ment to be watched through 3D glasses – ideally com­ple­ments the work, which is, after all, a festa teat­rale and not an op­era ser­ia! We would hardly find a hero such as As­canio in an op­era ser­ia: a pup­pet-like young man forced to fol­low or­ders and un­able to de­term­ine his own life. And Silvia, his be­trothed? She’s been in love for four years with a man she’s nev­er seen.

The 15-year-old Moz­art felt free to ig­nore the strict con­ven­tions of the op­era ser­ia and culled his forms from a av­ari­ety of sources such as con­cert arias, pas­tor­al idylls, mass sec­tions, re­cit­at­ives both secco and ac­com­pag­nato. The work ra­di­ates an ir­re­s­press­ible good nature and joy of life.

Iris Kup­ke, Venere
So­nia Prina, As­canio
Mar­ie-Belle Sandis, Silvia
Charles Re­id, Aceste
Di­ana Dam­rau, Fauno
Or­ches­tra and Chor­us of the Man­nheimer Na­tion­altheat­er

Adam Fisc­her, con­duct­or
Dav­id Her­mann, stage dir­ect­or
Stefan Aglas­sing­er, video dir­ect­or

Re­cord­ing dates: 03.08.| 05.08.2006
Ven­ue: Salzbur­ger Landestheat­er