Melodramma tragico by Giovanni Simone Mayr

Libretto by Felice Romani

First performed 28 November 1813,
Teatro San Carlo, Naples

Medea       Jennifer Rowley
Creusa      Teresa Castillo
Giasone    Derrek Stark
Egeo           Mingjie Lei
Creonte    William Lee Bryan
Ismene      Elena Snow
Tideo         Junhan Choi
Evandro   Christopher Bozeka

Teatro Nuovo Chorus and Orchestra
Jonathan Brandani, maestro al cembalo
Jakob Lehmann, primo violino e capo d’orchestra

Giuditta Pasta as Medea

Past and future

Johann Simon Mayr was born in 1763, before young Mozart had yet written an opera, and lived to 1845, when the newest hits were Verdi's I due Foscari and Ernani. He moved to Italy as a young man and spent the rest of his life there as "Giovanni Simone."  Mayr is remembered today mostly for being the sole teacher and lifelong friend of Gaetano Donizetti, but in his prime years he was Italy's most important composer, yielding that position only to his friendly rival Rossini. Mayr's operas brought the harmonic and instrumental sophistications of Mozart to the Italian stage. He is the "missing link" between Mozart and Bel Canto - but also a harbinger of the future. Serious opera in the Romantic era meant tragedy; the stark vision of Medea in Corinto showed the way.  

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