With his album “HAYDN. italian Arias” Grammy® award “Singer of the Year” 2006 Thomas Quasthoff wants to rehabilitate Haydn as an opera composer with a recital of arias drawn from his stage works. As such, it is intended to do justice to the whole range of Haydn’s abilities as a pioneering music dramatist.
Haydn himself wrote no fewer than seven full-length operas during the years when the theatre was fully operational: L’incontro improvviso (1775), Il mondo della luna (1777), La vera costanza (1779, rev. 1785), L’isola disabitata (1779), La fedeltà premiata (1781), Orlando paladino (1782), a “dramma eroicomico” that was successful far beyond the confines of Eszterháza and, last but not least, Armida (1783), the only genuine opera seria in this group of seven works. Prior to this, Haydn had also set musical comedies for special occasions. In 1791, he also wrote L’anima del filosofo (Deutsche Grammophon) for the reopening of the King’s Theatre in London, but the opera had to wait until 1951 for its first staged performance, when the role of Eurydice was sung by Maria Callas. But the Eszterháza operas form the nucleus of his writing for the theatre. They are worthy of staging alongside the works of his famous Italian contemporaries. As Thomas Quasthoff notes: “It is genuinely fascinating to observe how Haydn is on the one hand indebted to the traditions associated with the genre, while on the other consciously going his own way by setting the text with unusual subtlety and precision. Above all, however, these arias are glorious music that give me more and more pleasure each time I sing them.” (Deutsche Grammophon)
Thomas Quasthoff : Haydn Italienische Arien