Apollo et Hyacinthus (‘Apollo and Hyacinthus’)
- Julian Rushton
(‘Apollo and Hyacinthus’)
Intermezzo in three acts, K38, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a Latin libretto by Rufinus Widl; Salzburg, Benedictine University, 13 May 1767.
Mozart’s first stage work, Apollo et Hyacinthus is an intermezzo, written for performance by students with the five-act Latin tragedy Clementia Croesi by the Benedictine Gymnasium teacher, Widl.
Hyacinthus (boy soprano), son of Oebalus (tenor), King of Lacedonia, is murdered by Zephyrus (boy alto) to incriminate Apollo (boy alto), his rival for the hand of Oebalus’s daughter Melia (boy soprano). She denounces Apollo; but the dying Hyacinthus, in a moving recitative, reveals the truth. Zephyrus is banished, Apollo and Melia marry, and the god turns Hyacinthus into the flower that bears his name.
The musical idiom is not yet characteristic, but is never less than expressive. Although the singers were aged between 12 and 23, the solo numbers (an aria for each character, two duets and a trio) are neither short nor particularly easy. There is a single-movement overture and an opening chorus....