Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra open the season with the American premiere of a serenata not heard in the western hemisphere for nearly 300 years. Alessandro Scarlatti, Italy’s master composer of opera in the 18th century, wrote this lavish work to celebrate the birth of the heir to the Holy Roman Emperor.
The prince was John Leopold, son of Charles VI and his father’s only male heir. Since Charles had recently acquired the kingdom of Naples in a treaty, the Neapolitans commissioned their court composer (Scarlatti) to compose a grand serenata to celebrate the prince’s birth and gain favor with their new sovereign. Scarlatti wrote the piece within a few weeks and it was performed to adoring audiences in Naples immediately following the birth. Unfortunately, just months after the The Glory of Spring premiered, the celebrated infant died and the incredible work was forgotten. That is, until now.
That Scarlatti could have created such an elaborate and substantive work without visiting it again in the nine years remaining before his death in 1725 attests to the fecundity of his talent. Had he been given the opportunity to repurpose his serenata into an oratorio on the nativity of Christ, “La gloria di primavera” might not have had to wait for Philharmonia to bring it – once again – to the attention of the public. Nevertheless, The Glory of Spring is now reborn, and not to be missed! Don’t wait another 300 years to hear it.
La gloria di primavera
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Suzana Ograjenšek, soprano
Diana Moore, mezzo-soprano
Clint van der Linde, countertenor
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Douglas Williams, baritone
Members of the Philharmonia Chorale