DACAPO Recording of Mozart’s Lucio Silla gains Gramophone Editor’s Choice
November 11, 2008
“For me, an unknown Mozart opera is a contradiction in terms, I don’t understand why people don’t know it. Lucio Silla is so much better than all the other operas which were written at the time and it is a shame that it is not played more often.
“It is the syndrome of Mykerinus, the third pyramid in Cairo. There is the Cheops pyramid that everybody knows, the Kephren that everybody knows, and the Mykerinus that no one knows because it is smaller. It would be a sensation in Australia or Canada, or Russia—but in that place, close to the other bigger pyramids, people don’t pay attention.
“Also, opera seria is something which needs interpretation to bring it closer to the people today—it’s not so easy as something like an opera buffa such as Figaro or Così fan tutte, which are very modern.
“The recitatives and arias had a certain function—people who went to the opera performance for the music left the auditorium during the recitatives, and on the other hand those who went for a theatrical experience even left during the arias because it was too boring for them!
“Mozart’s opere serie were never as popular as his other operas—but of course popularity is one thing, and artistic level is another. There are parts that remind me of Don Giovanni in Lucio Silla, and I also hear The Magic Flute.
“Mozart was invited to Italy to write the opera. The story is that he had to rehearse with the singers, see how they were, and then write the arias for them. Then the tenor had to cancel, and they had to hire another tenor who was not as good, and that’s why the title-role is so short. Mozart wrote exactly for voices, so you now have to find the voice for the music.”
- Adam Fischer interviewed by Martin Cullingford, Gramophone, November 2008