Mozart/Oliver: The Goose of Cairo

Mozart/Oliver: The Goose of Cairo
London Mozart Players
St John’s Smith Square. 14 April 2016

Billed as a ‘completion’ of Mozart’s unfinished opera, L’oca del Caïro, Stephen Oliver’s approach to the task of making Mozart’s remnants performable is more of a complete re-working of the original. The resulting two-act, 90 minute opera is half Mozart, half Oliver. It blends and merges the two distinct musical style in a compelling manner. Composed for, and first performed (fully staged) at the Musica bel Chiostro festival in Batignano in 1991 (a year before Stephen Oliver’s untimely death), this concert performance was its British premiere, and its first performance in a new English translation.

The story of how this comic opera came to be discarded by Mozart reveals something of the tension between composers and librettist. Varesco was librettist for I re pastore and Idomeneo, the latter already causing ructions when Mozart changed the text to suit his music. This conflict was carried on with some gusto into Continue reading