16-23 Dec 2005. Conducted by Ottavio Dantone, directed by Michal Znaiecki, with Patrizia Ciofi, Anna Bonitatibus, Elizabeth Norberg-Schultz. First performed in 1771, on a libretto by Giuseppe Parini based on Count Claudio Nicols play. It is one of Mozarts earliest operas and it reportedly prompted Johann Hasse (whose own last opera had had its first performance the previous day) to remark "this boy will make us all be forgotten".
The Teatro Comunale di Bologna commemorates the birth of Mozart by performing Ascanio in Alba (16-23 Dec). Mozart composed the opera when he was 15 years of age to celebrate the imperial wedding between the houses of Hapsburg and dEste. The work was extraordinarily successful and Mozart received a gold watch with diamonds as a gift. It is a youthful opera, perhaps still a bit rough around the edges, but with beautiful choruses and remarkable arias; "Infelici affetti miei" is a true gem. The director of the production in Bologna, Ottavio Dantone, is an expert of 16th and 17th-century music. The singers are equally well trained for this repertoire. Paolo di Nicola.