Geistliches Singspiel (1767)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Text by Ignatz Anton von Weiser
Opera in concert in German
Tuesday, 27 March 2018, 7 pm
As early as 1767, the eleven-year-old Mozart completed his first commission for the theatre. He had been given the job of setting the first part of the sacred Singspiel Die Schuldigkeit des ersten und fürnehmsten Gebottes to music for the Archbishop of Salzburg, Sigismund Graf Schrattenbach. The commissions for the second and third parts went to Michael Haydn and Anton Cajetan, and are now lost. But Mozart’s work, whose score shows clear evidence of the assistance provided by his father Leopold, is long enough to fill an evening’s performance on its own. As a libretto, Ignaz Anton Weiser wrote a parable: the allegorical figures of Weltgeist and Christgeist compete for the soul of the Christian man. Christgeist paints a vivid picture of the horrors of death and eternal damnation in an effort to persuade the man to repent and renounce the life he has so far led, which is dedicated to pleasure. In the end, the man, bearing the scars of his dissolute existence, returns remorsefully to God.