Notes and Editorial Reviews
"Sopranos Ulrike Hofbauer and Barbara Kraus lack the polish of Doráti’s Norma Lerer and Linda Zoghby, but with that polish comes a formal, operatic vocal production that misses individual character. The near-suicidal distress of Constanze’s 13-year abandonment and the flowering of young love in the teenage Silvia come across better here."
- James H. North,
Fanfare, [Jan/Feb 2012]
"The Desert Island, subtitled a "theatrical action in two parts," is among the more unconventional and fascinating operas by a composer not primarily celebrated for his work in that genre. The Metastasio libretto on which it is based offered something of the familiar 18th-century imbroglio of
betrayal—though in this instance supposed rather than real—and reconciliation: a heroine left abandoned, like Ariadne, on a desert island for 13 years with only her younger sister for company, and a hero, abducted by pirates, eventually escaping from slavery to come back and rescue her. The most obviously unusual element is that there are only four characters (the hero's friend making the fourth). and Haydn responded to it with a work of penetrating psychological insight and a no less unusual structure; this is no mere succession of arias and recitative, but an almost completely through-composed musical drama, the recitatives orchestrally accompanied rather than secco, and their style melting seamlessly into that of the relatively few arias, which similarly avoid traditional da capo forms for something more flexible and individual."
- Bernard Jacobson,
Fanfare, [Nov/Dec 2001], (Describing the opera in a review of the Opus111 release, catalog 30319.)
Works on This Recording
Die wüste Insel by Franz Joseph Haydn
Christian Zenker (Tenor),
Barbara Kraus (Soprano),
Reinhard Mayr (Baritone),
Ulrike Hofbauer (Soprano)
L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra
Written: 1779; Austria
Length: 78 Minutes 20 Secs.
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