We’re pleased to announce that we will be premiering Johann Christian Bach’s opera seria Carattaco in February 2020, with performances in the Netherlands in an historically-informed performance with period instruments and historical-researched baroque acting, costumes and staging. This early Classical opera has never been revived or recorded, but is richly orchestrated and full of quality music. In addition, we also seek to record and release this opera for the first time on CD and digital platforms.
About the opera
Carattaco is a 1767 opera seria by Johann Christian Bach about the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century A.D. It has three acts, and is about 3 hours long, and it has never been fully revived in modern times, unlike most of the other operas by J.C. Bach. Among one of the main themes of the opera is the virtue and rhetoric of Caratacus, a Silurian King who is betrayed and defeated by the Romans yet is pardoned by Claudius Caesar for his eminent virtue and loyalty to his people.
The opera was premiered on 14 February 1767 at the King’s Theatre in the Hay-Market. It was received extremely warmly by the public, and a contemporary newspaper reviewer wrote: “the masterly Stile of the Music, and particularly the Grandeur of the Chorusses, makes it to be wished that Signor Bach may meet with further Encouragement, as his Genius and Judgment corrupted Taste of our modern Music, and, like a second Handel, again seem admirably calculated to reform the present restore that Elegance and Perfection we have for some time been Strangers to.”
About Johann Christian Bach
In the Netherlands, there is no question that we love Johann Sebastian Bach. There is no doubt that he definitely passed down his gift to his youngest son Johann Christian Bach. Unlike any other member of the Bach family, he would move to Italy, become Catholic, and would distinguish himself as a composer of opera. He would be hired as Master of Musick to Queen Charlotte of Great Britain, and he would establish himself in London. From here, he developed the most fame of any member of the Bach family at the time, gaining international acclaim across Europe and even the American colonies. He was commissioned to write opera in Mannheim and Paris, and also wrote symphonies, concerti, and chamber works; many of which were published and widely distributed. Mozart was one of his greatest admirers, writing “I love him from my heart, and esteem him.”