OP0458. PIRAMO E TISBE (Hasse), Live Performance, 3 Nov., 1997, Venezia, w.Mario Merigo Cond. Accademia de San Rocco Ensemble; Marina Bolgan, Svetlana Sidorova & Emanuele Giannino. (E.U.) 2-Mondo Musica 10100. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 4026727101000
“Few composers were as famous in their time as Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783), only to disappear so quickly from public view after their death. For decades during the 18th century his Italian opera seria were far and away the most popular of all in Italy and Germany, and he was highly regarded and richly rewarded during his years in Naples, Venice, and Dresden. He had a good sense of stagecraft and was a master at writing long, flowing, vocal lines that allowed his singers to illuminate the words of his texts.
Most of his operas were setting of Metastasio texts, but the libretto for PIRAMO E TISBE, written in 1768, was by Marco Cotellini. It draws on the story from Ovid's METAMORPHOSES that Shakespeare burlesqued in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and is quite simple: the love of Pyramus and Thisbe is thwarted by the enmity of their families, and when Thisbe is told she must marry someone else, they decide to run away. Thisbe is startled by an animal near their meeting place, drops her jewel box and veil, and when Pyramus finds them, he thinks she is dead and stabs himself in despair. Thisbe returns, finds him dying, and thereupon stabs herself, and when her father discovers the bodies, he remorsefully kills himself as well.
In spite of this dreary tale, the music sparkles with life. By the time the opera was written, Hasse had abandoned the da capo aria in favor of freer and more irregular forms for the orchestra as well as the arias, and one lovely tune follows another….”
- Alexander J. Morin, Classical.Net
"Hasse's output includes 63 operas, but only two are currently recorded, yet inexplicably this is the second PIRAMO, albeit markedly livelier and with the bonus of its two ballet suites. Schneider’s perceptive booklet note comments that too readily we find such composers immature – ‘almost like Mozart’, rather than excitingly expressive and individual. Here even the subtitle 'Intermezzo tragico' is novel, implying a fusion of two traditions, comic and serious. The music is equally unconventional. Recitatives slip seamlessly into and out of arias, creating a strong sense of dramatic continuity. Colours are imaginative: flutes and bassoons paint a beautiful description of Piramo’s Utopia; natural horns roar rudely as the lion approaches – though he proves a rather likeable beast in his subsequent sinfonia....The domineering father confirms in his remarkably jolly suicide aria that the final tragico stage, littered with the corpses of all three characters, is not to be taken too seriously."
- George Pratt, ClassicalMusic.com