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Mozart - Apollo et Hyacinthus / Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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(Feb 13, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Berchtold, Karg, and Kiener star in this Salzburg Festival production of Mozart operas Apollo Et Hyacinthus and Die Schuldigkeit De Ersten Gebots.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bernhard Berchtold, Maximilian Kiener, Christiane Karg, Anja Schlosser, Michiko Watanabe
  • Directors: Josef Wallnig, John Dew
  • Format: Multiple Formats, DTS Surround Sound, Classical, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin (DTS 5.1), Latin (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Latin, German, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 164 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ICL3PG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,850 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

In 1767, Mozart, an 11 years old child, composed his first two stage works: Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes K. 35 (which is actually a sacred drama) and Apollo et Hyacinthus K. 38 (which is Mozart's first true opera).

Apollo et Hyacinthus was written to a Latin libretto which is based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. Hyacinth died due to a discus thrown by Apollo, which was blown off course by the wind god Zephyrus, out of jealousy. After he died, Apollo made a flower, the hyacinth out of his blood. The stage director John Dew created a charming show as if it were a reconstruction of an opera seria, which is presented in a late Baroque theater. Settings and costumes are baroque style and the singers are imitating baroque theater gestures. The young singers are all excellent, but one must mention tenor Maximilian Kiener in the role of Hyacinth's father Oebalus and Christiane Karg as his sister Melia. The section I liked best in this early work is their duet near the end of the opera, where they are lamenting over Hyacinth's death. This is extremely beautiful and sublime music conveying deep emotions, with the two voices blending perfectly to an accompaniment of strings pizzicati. It is amazing that eleven years old boy could compose music that has strong feeling of grief. Another proof, if there is a need, for Mozart being an unparalleled unique genius. The work lasts 75 minutes.

Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes (The Obligation of the First and Foremost Commandment) was first performed on March 12, 1767 in the Knight's Hall of the Palace of the Archbishop, Salzburg. Only the first part of the piece was composed by Mozart, the second and third were completed by Michael Haydn and Anton Cajetan Adlgasser respectively, but are lost now. Mozart part last about 85 minutes.
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This "double bill" of two operas from Mozart's youth is simply fantastic, since it combines superior musical quality with an enthusiastic production.

Since Mozart's youth operas can sometimes be perceived as "boring" to modern ears, stage directors all over the worlds have tried many different ways to "better" them. One way is to rewrite the recitatives or cut them (as successfully done by Joachim Schloemer in Finta semplice - issued in the same collection). The other way is to present the works with dynamic staging. John Dew, the director of the production, decided to apply a very successful policy of contrasts. Where Apollo et Hyacinthus is performed "in the manner of" the way baroque operas were performed in the XVIIIth century, the British director goes resolutely towards comedy when he deals with Schuldigkeit, in the second half of the evening. The whole evening is therefore a resounding success from the very moving, affected performance of Apollo to the "borderline tasteless" (as per John Dew himself!) antics of Schuldigkeit.

To be fair, John Dew has the support of a fantastic team of young musicians. We shall start by the amazing Sinfonieorchester of the Mozarteum university: they can do absolutely everything with a very dense and ample sound and also a very good sense of rhythm: their conductor, the brilliant Josef Wallnig, has a lot to be credited with this success.

The team of singers is simply fantastic. The queen of the evening is the amazing Christiane Karg, the only singer to appear in both operas.
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This performance of the very young Mozart's opera is exquisite in every aspect.First of all it is impossible to conceive of the creative genius who wrote this music when only [...].That alone would be enough to buy this DVD. Add to this the outstanding musicianship of the young singers/actors and orchestra members.Christiane Karg has a voice that is pure beauty; her range, precision and her ability to convey tremendous emotion are astounding.Her aria "Laetari, iocari" is a tour de force, tossed off with the greatest ease. Then there is the beautiful duet she sings with Maximilian Kiener. This is to die for! The staging, the singing and the acting are of an extremely high level.
On the second disc Christiane Karg plays a totally different character, wily and playful, but oh, that voice! How long till she sings the Queen of the Night? Highly recommended --- if you only buy one opera this year, this should be the one!Mozart - Apollo et Hyacinthus / Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots
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Apollo et Hyacinthus is very loosely based on the story in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Its libretto is in Latin, which is unusual (and useful to know, if you happen to teach Latin!); the disc also includes Latin subtitles, but you don't need them because the singers' diction is excellent. The production is highly stylized, in correct 18th-c style, though the orchestra uses modern instruments. It may seem cold and sterile at first, but be patient: Oebalus's third-act aria "Ut navis in aequore luxuriante" is worth the price of admission. And this is amazing music for an 11-year-old composer!

The other opera, Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, is much more accessible -- full of humor and coloratura (what's not to like?!). It has more preaching than plot, but it's certainly worth listening to.

I entirely agree with the earlier (negative) review that compliments Christiane Karg (Melia in A&H, Worldliness in Sch) -- she's the star of what is over-all an outstanding cast. Fans of baroque or early classical opera will enjoy this.
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