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Opera at Eszterháza

Opera at Eszterháza
10 unknown Arias (1777-98), 3 Scenes: “La Circe” from Joseph Haydn
  1. Infelice Sventurata Aria di Beatrice Hob. XXIVb:15 4'59
  2. Costretta a piangere Aria di Dorina Hob. XXIVb:1 5'37
  3. Signor, voi sapete Aria di Rosina Hob. XXIVb:7 3'14
  4. Solo e pensoso Aria da Il canzoniere di Francesco Petrarca Hob. XXIVb:20 5'50
  5. Dice benissimo Aria di Lumaca Hob. XXIVb:5 1'59
  6. Da che penso a maritarmi Aria di Titta Hob. XXIXb:16 3'43
  7. Se tu mi sprezzi, ingrata Aria del Cavaliere Hob. XXIVb:14 5'35
  8. Tornate pur mia bella Aria Hob. XXIVb:22 6'31
  9. Begli occhi vezzosi Aria di Ernesto Hob. XXVIII:7 4'51
  10. Ah, tu non senti - Qual destra omicida Recitativo ed Aria di Oreste Hob. XXIVb:10 5'44
    • La Circe Three numbers from the opera pasticcio Hob. XXXII
  11. Son pietosa, son bonina 4'04
  12. Son due ore che giro 7'35
  13. Lavatevi presto 9'36

Haydn composed more than twenty operas, mainly for the sumptuous theatre at Eszterháza, the palace of his long-time employers, the princes of Esterházy. Even so, his work in the operatic field remains largely neglected.

This disc focuses on an even more closely guarded secret: the so-called 'insertion arias' that Haydn wrote for inclusion in operas by other composers. The rarely, if at all, recorded music includes Haydn's three contributions to La Circe, an opera pasticcio which combined music by several composers, and six of the surviving insertion arias. Among these is Infelice sventurata, written for an opera by Cimarosa, and one of Haydn's finest arias, here movingly performed by Miah Persson.

The Swedish soprano shares the greater part of the programme with the Swiss tenor Bernard Richter. The latter in Ah, tu non senti, amico takes on what, according to the initiated liner notes of conductor and Haydn specialist Manfred Huss, 'may be the highest drama in eighteenth-century music - ghostly and spine-chilling in a Hitchcockian manner.' In contrast, Huss describes the concluding tercet from La Circe as 'a tremendously witty and energetic and also dramatic scene that sounds like Mozart - or perhaps even like Rossini'.

This varied programme thus becomes an illustration of Mozart's verdict on Haydn as an opera composer: 'Nobody can do all of this - flirt and unsettle, provoke laughter and deep emotions - as well as Haydn!'

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Music Web International
Recording of the Month

"The Haydn Sinfonietta Wien and Manfred Huss are in great form throughout the CD and deliver a fulfilling, technically flawless performance, full of delicate nuances, effectively showcasing their expertise in music of the classical period in general and of Haydn in particular. Their rendition of these forgotten and nearly lost operatic compositions is as beautiful as it is precise and a joy from beginning to end."
Margarida Mota-Bull
May 2010

International Record Review

"Huss directs them [singers] with a keen sense of drama allied to a careful concern for historically informed performance practice, with appropriate phrasing, apt ornamentation and some restraint on the vibrato fundamental to their modern vocal technique. Both are also consummate operatic actors."
Christopher Price
March 2010