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Mayr: Gioas Oratorio / Hauk, Lauren-Brown, Sellier, Frey, Burkhart

Mayr / Simon Mayr Choir & Ensemble / Hauk
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572710   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giovanni Simone Mayr
Performer:  Robert SellierCornel FreyAndrea Lauren BrownAndreas Burkhart
Conductor:  Franz Hauk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera ChorusSimon Mayr Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MAYR Gioas Franz Hauk, cond; Andrea Lauren Brown (sop); Robert Sellier (ten); Cornel Frey (ten); Andreas Burkhart (bs); Bavarian St Op Ch; Simon Mayr Ch & Ens NAXOS 8.572710-11 (2 CDs: 111:22)


Only two issues ago (36:2), I had my first taste of music by Simon Mayr, on a Naxos CD featuring three of the composer’s concertos led, as here, by Franz Hauk, who seems to be somewhat of a Mayr specialist. In that review, I was forced to admit that I was not previously familiar with Mayr, most likely because his Read more main area of endeavor was opera, a field in which I claim no particular expertise. The review concluded by wondering if, as mainly a composer of opera, Mayr was best represented by a disc of his concertos, and with a promise to get back to the reader with an answer once I gained more familiarity with his work.


The wait wasn’t a long one. Here we have Mayr’s Gioas (Joash, King of Judea), designated a “parody oratorio,” so-called because it draws upon Mayr’s opera, I misteri eleusini for its material. I gather that the work bears certain similarities to the composer’s David in the Cave of Engedi , reviewed by Patrick Rucker in 32:4, and Samuele , both previously recorded for Naxos by Hauk. A parody oratorio, as I understand it, involves the practice of adapting popular operatic works to religious texts so they could be performed during Holy Week while his Holiness looked the other way.


Gioas dates from 1823 and is set to a libretto by an unknown author (or one who preferred to remain anonymous) that tells a story of internecine blood-letting over rights to the throne, treachery, and retribution, all of which through self-sacrifice and appeasement of various gods, goddesses, and priests—that’s the religious aspect—culminates in a happy ending. The work is appropriately referred to in the program note as “pseudo-sacred,” or, to call it what it is, a barely disguised excuse to present an unstaged opera in the guise of an oratorio. Mayr was not alone in fashioning such Church-sanctioned entertainments. The tradition persisted, mainly in Italy, through much of the 19th century, with Emilio Cianchi’s Giudetta , composed in 1854, being performed as late as 1912. Knowing this, it’s a bit difficult to follow the intrigues of the plot and to listen to the impassioned arias, the pattering recitatives, and the solemn and celebratory choruses without a smile and a smirk. No matter how much holy water you sprinkle on it, the opera that’s inside this oratorio won’t be exorcised. Considering that Gioas was written in the same year as Rossini’s Semiramide , Mayr’s work sounds rather dated for its time. But having been born in 1763, Mayr was almost 30 years Rossini’s senior. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Mayr’s style should more closely resemble Mozart’s than it does Rossini’s.


The music is delightful, often touching, and artfully crafted for the voice. It’s no wonder that Mayr was so celebrated for his operas. The four soloists are all very convincing in their roles and well matched vocally. Add to that enlivened playing from Hauk’s instrumental forces, and you have a winning performance. Unfortunately, Naxos has not provided a text or translation, but the album note gives a pretty good synopsis of the mishmash that calls itself a plot. If you can pretend while listening to Mayr’s Gioas that it’s not just an opera masquerading as a sacred oratorio, you will find much in the work and in this recording of it to enjoy.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Gioas by Giovanni Simone Mayr
Performer:  Robert Sellier (Tenor), Cornel Frey (Tenor), Andrea Lauren Brown (Soprano),
Andreas Burkhart (Bass)
Conductor:  Franz Hauk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Simon Mayr Choir

Sound Samples

Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Sinfonia
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Introduzione: Inno: Del raggio del purissimo (Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo: Coll'armi e l'arte in mano (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Cavatina: Ombre amate (Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo: E Adrasto ancor non viene? (Sebia, Adrasto)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo accompagnato: Come soave (Adrasto)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Aria: Cessate di piangere (Adrasto, Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo accompagnato: Vedo di Giojada al fianco (Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Cavatina: Sommo clemente Dio (Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo: E da tuo duol (Giojada, Sebia, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo accompagnato: Tu mi rammenti quei giorni fortunati (Sebia, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Duetto: Figlio mio (Sebia, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo: Che vidi (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Aria: Spesso in tacer si fugge (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Recitativo: Signore, Dimmi Adrasto dov'e? (Sebia, Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: Recitativo accompagnato: Qual timor, qual rispetto (Adrasto, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: L'arcano impenetrabile (Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: Recitativo: Adrasto, a te commessa (Giojada, Adrasto)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: Aria: Nume benefico (Gioas, Adrasto, Giojada, Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: Scena: Pieta, pieta (Gioas, Adrasto, Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: Duettino: Giusto ciel (Adrasto, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part I: Finale: Qual fragor! (All)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo: Per mano ostile (Adrasto, Sebia, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo accompagnato: M'odi (Gioas, Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Duetto: Sei di pietade indegno (Sebia, Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo: Fidi Leviti intorno al sacro altare (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo accompagnato: Ecco il sasso feral (Adrasto)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Aria: Confusa quest'alma (Adrasto)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo accompagnato: Dal Sacerdote (Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Aria: Desolata genitrice (Gioas)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo accompagnato: Questo no, non m'inganno (Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Aria: Non tradirmi in quest'istante (Sebia, Giojada, Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo: Dal delirar hai tu cessato ancora (Giojada, Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Aria: Il mortal s'attenta invano (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo: Hai risoluto (Sebia, Adrasto)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Terzetto: Dopo si barbare, si rie vicende (Gioas, Adrasto, Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo: Sebia non mi fuggir (Giojada, Sebia)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Quartetto: Ferma (Sebia, Giojada, Gioas, Adrasto, Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Aria: Lasciatemi, inumani (Adrasto, Gioas, Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Marcia
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: I pianti scendano (Chorus)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo: Cessi ogni timor (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Recitativo accompagnato: Dopo tante vicende (Giojada)
Innalzamento al trono del giovane re Gioas: Part II: Finale: Noi prostesi al Regio Trono (All)

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