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Majo: La gara delle grazie at the Grachtenfestival 21.00

13/08/2020 @ 21:00 - 22:00


Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester under the direction of Anders Muskens has been invited to premiere Gian Francesco de Majo’s mid eighteenth-century short opera serenata: La gara delle grazie, at the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam in August 2020.

Gian Francesco de Majo’s mid 18th century short opera serenata: La gara delle grazie, is a short, one hour long opera dates to approximately the 1760’s and is an allegorical celebration for a baptism of a newborn daughter (presumably written for one of Majo’s patrons), where the Three Graces from Greek mythology: Aglaea (“Shining”), Euphrosyne (“Joy”), and Thalia (“Blooming”), are tasked by Jupiter with raising the  newborn girl virtuously. This charmingly beautiful early-Classical work has never been revived in modern times, and we are proud and privileged to premiere it in the festival.

Although Neapolitan composer Gian Francesco de Majo (1732-1770) is largely forgotten nowadays, he was highly regarded in his time as a prominent composer of opera who tried to reform the genre in accordance with the leading ideas of his day. He began his musical studies with his father Giuseppe, who was from 1745 onwards primo maestro of the royal chapel in Naples, and he would assist his father with his duties from his position as organista soprannumerario. His first opera, Ricimero, re dei goti, was received with great acclaim in Rome, and he would go on to receive prominent commissions to write opera in Naples, Livorno, Venice, Turin, Vienna, and Mannheim, where  he would work with the finest singers, librettists, and instrumentalists of the day. His sacred music was also praised for its dramatic quality. When Mozart heard Majo’s music in a church in Naples, he described it in a letter of 29 May 1770 to his sister, as ‘bellissima.’ Unfortunately, in 1760, Majo was struck by a bout of tuberculosis, and this sickness would follow him to his early death in 1770. This short portrait of Majo’s career should highlight the merit of his great music and prove that it deserves revival for modern listeners.


Director, kapellmeister: Anders Muskens

Eufrosine (soprano): Josefin Bölz

Aglaia (soprano): Noëlle Drost

Talia (mezzo-soprano): Maria Koshiishi

and Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester


21:00 - 22:00
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