Classical Opera

Established in 1997 Classical Opera is one of the leading exponents of the music of Mozart and his contemporaries.

Under the direction of founder and conductor Ian Page, and with their own specialist and highly acclaimed period-instrument orchestra, they regularly present benchmark performances of operas and orchestral works in some of London’s most prestigious venues and, increasingly, abroad. They attract extensive critical and public acclaim for the high quality of our performances on CD and in the concert hall, for their intelligent and imaginative programming, and for their ability to discover and nurture world-class young singers.

In 2012 they embarked on an unprecedented recording cycle of the complete Mozart Operas (20 releases in total, released at the rate of one a year), and in 2015, launched their ground-breaking MOZART 250, described by The Observer as “among the most audacious classical music scheduling ever”. MOZART 250 sets out to explore the music that was being written by Mozart and his contemporaries exactly 250 years previously, following the trajectory of his life, works and influences in chronological sequence. Spanning 27 years – from the 250th anniversary of his childhood visit to London to the 250th anniversary of his death – they aim to re-tread the steps of musical history, examining, contextualising and celebrating the life of arguably the greatest composer ever to have lived.

  • Continuing their complete Mozart opera recording cycle, The Mozartists’ latest release shines a light on two early opera works by Mozart. Grabmusik was reported to be the product of a test set by the prince of Salzburg, who: “... not crediting that such masterly compositions were really those of a child, shut him up for a week, during which he was not permitted to see any one, and was left only with music paper, and the words of an oratorio ... During this short time he composed a very capital oratorio, which was most highly approved of upon being performed.” Performed for Holy Week the title can be translated as ‘Cantata on Christ’s Grave’ (literally ‘Grave Music’), and the anonymous text takes the form of a dialogue between a tormented soul, who is desperately lamenting the tragedy of Christ’s death, and an angel. Bastien und Bastienne is the only one of Mozart’s operas to have been written for performance in a private house rather than a theatre. Commissioned at some point in mid-1768 by the renowned and controversial German physician Franz Anton Mesmer, it tells the tale of two young shepherds, Bastien and Bastienne, being reconciled in love by the fortune teller and magician Colas after Bastien has briefly been lured away by the attractions of a noble lady from the city. This new recording uses Mozart’s original 1768 setting of the libretto by F. W. Weiskern & J. H. F. Müller, the provenance of which was only established in the 1980s. The orchestra is the star of the show - BBC Music Magazine Ian Page and his crack team are clearly having a lot of fun, which comes across in this excellent recording. It's a treat to experience - Gramophone Page’s Classical Opera project goes from strength to strength - The Sunday Times If you are looking for a superb performance of one of Mozart’s young productions then this is very much the best place to invest - Music Web International A little jewel not to be missed! - Crescendo (France) Heavenly! - Stretto (Holland) Ian Page's subtle and dynamic gesture makes all the difference, and places his musical output among that of the best Mozartian interpreters of today - Classique News (France)
  • The Mozartists present an unprecedented survey of Mozart’s childhood stay in London from 1764-65. The wide-ranging programme includes Mozart’s remarkable first symphony (composed when he was eight years old), along with his two other London symphonies and his first concert aria. The repertoire also explores music that was being performed in London during Mozart’s stay, including works by J. C. Bach, Thomas Arne, Abel, Pescetti, Perez, George Rush and William Bates, many of which have not previously been recorded. The album features an outstanding line-up of soloists comprising sopranos Ana Maria Labin, Anna Devin, Rebecca Bottone, Martene Grimson and Eleanor Dennis, mezzo- soprano Helen Sherman, tenors Ben Johnson and Robert Murray and harpsichordist Steven Devine. The album was recorded live during a weekend of performances at London’s Milton Court in February 2015 as part of the opening season of MOZART 250, and includes over a dozen world premiere recordings. Presto Classical's Top 100 Recordings of 2018 This ingenious “musical exploration of Mozart’s childhood visit to London” interweaves three early symphonies and the concert aria K21 with music performed in the city during the family’s stayThe Sunday Times Vigorous vocal music by Thomas Arne, a dazzling harpsichord concerto from JC Bach, and a Carl Friedrich Abel symphony as tastily rich as a chocolate éclairThe Times Ian Page with his handpicked orchestra of around 20 players, is a dab hand at this sort of stuffClassic FM Page draws lively and engaging performances from his orchestra, and the results certainly charm, whilst the programming ensures that there is much of interest as it illuminates musical life in 1760s London so wonderfully - Planet Hugill As ever, Page draws lively and engaging performances from his orchestra, and the results certainly charmThe Epoch Times
  • Classical Opera continue their continuing complete Mozart opera recording series with the one-act dramatic serenade Il sogno di Scipione, K. 126. Composed in 1771 as a celebratory homage to Prince Archbishop Sigismund Schrattenbach of Salzburg, the Archbishop died before the piece could be performed. In the spring of 1772 Mozart amended the work so that it could be used in honour of Schrattenbach’s successor, Hieronymus Colloredo – the only necessary change was to alter the name of the dedicatee in the nal recitative. The story of Scipio’s Dream takes place in c.148 BC, while the celebrated Roman general is a guest in the palace of his ally Massinissa, King of Numidia (in modern day Tunisia). As Scipio falls into a deep sleep, he dreams that the allegorical figures of Fortuna (Fortune) and Costanza (Constancy) appear to him in Elysium and demand that he should choose one of them to follow for the rest of his days. ★★★★★ The singing, indeed the general musicianship throughout, is really good - Classical Ear ★★★★ This is a rewarding set, gracefully paced… An impressive achievement - BBC Music Magazine ★★★★ Provides another fascinating insight into the compositional skills of the young Wolfgang and comes up to the high standards we have come to expect from Ian Page and his groupiClassical ★★★★ The virtuoso arias demand singers of agility, which Classical Opera's cast, headed by tenor Stuart Jackson, supplies in abundance. Ian Page is the lively conductor - Financial Times ★★★★ An engaging and fully dramatized reading of the music… Page brings fluency and character to their generous instrumental introductions and succeeding vocal displays - Classical Source Ian Page presides over a charming performance, with well-paced recitatives and appropriate, sometimes extravagant decoration. This is minor Mozart, done supremely well - Gramophone Not for the first time in this series I find myself returning in the final analysis to Page’s direction of his outstanding orchestra… beautifully nuanced and balanced playing - Opera Magazine
  • Perfido!

    £12.00
    A programme of concert arias by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven
    Leading British soprano Sophie Bevan performs a sumptuous programme of concert arias by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Bevan is accompanied on this new recording by The Mozartists, recently launched by Ian Page’s internationally renowned period ensemble Classical Opera as an expansion of its continuing exploration of Mozart and his contemporaries. Complementing Classical Opera’s ongoing recording series of the complete operas of Mozart, the creation of The Mozartists reflects the group’s expanding repertoire and ambitious plans, and they can be heard in concert from September 2017.
  • Continuing the company’s critically acclaimed complete cycle of Mozart operas on Signum Classics is the release of Zaide. One of very few of Mozart’s works to be written without a commission, Mozart completed fifteen numbers before abandoning the work to fulfil the commission for Idomeneo. These include two searing melodramas, some superb ensembles and a sequence of arias including the celebrated “Ruhe sanft”.   Zaide Sophie Bevan (soprano) Gomatz Allan Clayton (tenor) Soliman Stuart Jackson (tenor) Allazim Jacques Imbrailo (baritone) Osmin Darren Jeffery (bass-baritone) Vorsanger Jonathan McGovern (baritone)  
  • Classical Opera explore a wealth of arias by Handel and his contemporaries William Boyce, John Christopher Smith and Thomas Arne, all of which were composed for the celebrated 18th-century tenor John Beard (1716-1791). For this recording Allan Clayton steps ably into this role, performing alongside the Orchestra of Classical Opera under Ian Page. The disc also features a duet with Mary Bevan, from Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.
    ★★★★ Rousing renditions - The Times A must for early music devoteesGramophone A delight... I cannot recommend it too highly - Classic FM The outstanding young tenor [John Beard] fulfils his early promise - The Sunday Times
  • Classical Opera continue their recording cycle of the complete operas of Mozart with Il Re Pastore – a youthful work that shines with the richness of its orchestration, its inexhaustible melodic inspiration and its dazzlingly ingenious score.
    Disc of the Month: A major reason for the success of the series to date is the strong sense of ensemble Ian Page creates among his singers, with many of whom he works regularly...beautifully paced and sung, the ensemble is both directed and sung to near perfectionOpera Magazine Effortlessly entertaining...so much zip and zest from the playersBBC Radio 3 CD Review Classical Opera [treat] this work seriously on its own terms, and they reveal its many beauties with a touch of loveMusic Web International Performed with energy and spirit by Ian Page and his lively forcesThe Sunday Times Wonderful music so beautifully performedEarly Music Review Mozart's delightful early opera comes up fresh as new paint in this fleet, beautifully recorded new setClassical Music Magazine It is hard to imagine hearing another performance as convivial and life-affirming as thisGramophone
  • Classical Opera continue their series of Mozart Operas on Signum with Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto, K. 87 (74a). As well as the complete opera, this 4CD digipak release includes a bonus disc featuring the original versions of a number of arias from the opera that Mozart subsequently changed in the final version.
    This splendid achievement, a genuine rival to Christophe Rousset's star-studded 1999 Decca version, is given added documentary value by the inclusion of a fourth CD containing the original versions of eight arias the teenage Mozart changed at the behest of his castOpera Magazine Nobody has done more to open our ears to the seeds of genius in the young Mozart than Ian Page, by the simple expedient of taking his early music seriously - Opera Now This performance is as committed and engaging if you could wish for; the hours – almost four if you include those extras – fly by. It’s almost budget price as well with essay texts and translationsBBC Radio 3 Record Review Ian Page nurtures a performance that crackles, beguiles, thrills and moves by turns exactly as Mozart's opera requiresGramophone This excellent recording is probably the one that Mozart completists will want to haveDaily Telegraph
  • Featuring Rebecca Bottone, Cora Burggraaf, Allan Clayton, Klara Ek, Martene Grimson, Jennifer Johnston, Susan Gritton, Anna Leese, Matthew Rose, Andrew Staples & Mark Stone Signum are proud to reissue Classical Opera’s debut CD, ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’, selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice in 2007. Based on the coincidence that Mozart’s first opera (Apollo et Hyacinthus) begins with ‘A’ and his last (Die Zauberflo?te) with ‘Z’, this disc takes the listener on a chronological journey through Mozart’s operatic canon, featuring an aria or ensemble from fifteen of his operas. My personal pick for giving this year is the Classical Opera Company’s glorious The A-Z of Mozart Opera, which is fresh, diverse, insightful and illuminatingGramophone
    Ian Page and the Orchestra of Classical Opera accompany everything with style and charm, and the cast of singers give us a sequence of finely lyrical performances. All in all this is a lovely disc which manages to introduce both Mozart's genius and a range of lovely lyric voices, all in stylish performances which certainly make you want to hear morePlanet Hugill Page, to my mind one of the most talented of today's younger British conductors, immediately announced himself with this CD as a natural MozartianEarly Music Review
     
  • The first release in a new partnership between Classical Opera and Signum Records begins with Mozart’s remarkable sacred singspiel Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, composed when he was just eleven. The music is full of tender beauty, dynamism and descriptive flair, and the young composer’s innate sense of understanding and sympathy for the human condition already shines through.

    The story follows the efforts of The Spirit of Christianity (Andrew Kennedy) – aided by Divine Justice (Cora Burggraaf ) and Divine Mercy (Sarah Fox) – to win back the heart of a Lapsed Christian (Allan Clayton) as he lies fast asleep. In opposition to this however stands The Spirit of Worldliness (Sophie Bevan), who urges the Christian to forget what The Spirit shows him and to follow her pleasure-seeking philosophies. As Justice and Mercy withdraw to observe, The Spirit of Christianity seeks to win back the lapsed Christian, but will this lost soul be able to resist the temptations of indulgence and short-term satisfaction that Worldliness offers?

    After listening to this recording of such a rarity, I began to wonder whether this work has ever had a finer performance than this one. We'll never know what Mozart's original team sounded like, but he'd have been lucky to have assembled a team as skilful, well balanced and neatly contrasted as this oneMusicWeb International

Please note, we cannot guarantee that any orders placed after December 17 will arrive before Christmas, or that any orders placed after December 18 will be dispatched before the New Year. Dismiss