Georg Philipp Telemann’s earliest surviving opera, the light and charming „Pastorelle en musique”, was produced and recorded at Musikfestspiele Potsdam-Sanssouci in 2021 with an excellent soloist cast and the Ensemble 1700 under Dorothee Oberlinger. The CD recording of this highly acclaimed live production was released June 3rd, 2022 by deutsche harmonia mundi.
The shepherd’s idyll was written by Georg Philipp Telemann around 1715 for one of the „considerablesten auch auswärtigen Hochzeiten” in Frankfurt am Main (one of the most prominent weddings inside and outside Frankfurt), where Telemann worked from 1712 to 1721. It tells the story of two young wedding couples, their emotional chaos, dubious offers and clear recommendations.
The entire course is determined by strong women. „Freedom shall be the watchword” is the motto introduced right at the beginning, emphasised by spirited coloratura, thus thematically setting the opposition of freedom and form. The opera score was lost after the Second World War and only resurfaced in Berlin in 2002 with the return of the Sing-Akademie archive from Kiev.
In summer 2021, the serenata-opera was produced to great acclaim by Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, under the baton of conductor and multiple award-winning recorder player Dorothee Oberlinger, who is also programmatically responsible for the production as artistic director. At
Schlosstheater Potsdam – located inside the baroque palace theatre Neues Palais Sanssouci -, the production had two highly acclaimed performances in a historically oriented staging by Niels Niemann, followed by further stops at Markgräfliches Opernhaus Bayreuth, the Festtage Alter Musik in Innsbruck and the Telemann Festtage in Telemann’s native city Magdeburg, all of whom collaborated in the production. In the serenata, Telemann – the master of the „goût melé” – also acts as his own librettist. With witty German-French texts based on Molière, the ambiguity of „Freiheit” is given plenty of scope.
The result was enthusiastically received by the critics: „Successful opera can be so easy”, wrote the FAZ. Lydia Teuscher, Maria Lys, Alois Mühlbacher, Florian Götz and Virgil Hartinger are an excellent cast of singers, who confidently, yet always individually, give the different types and characters an unmistakable musical face, with lightness and grace dominating, as does the Vocal Consort Berlin. The virtuoso Ensemble 1700 is animated to flexible playing by the impulse-giving conductor.
The recording was released on 3 June by deutsche harmonia mundi/Sony Music. It was produced during live performances and is a co-production of the Musikfestspiele with deutsche harmonia mundi and rbb Kultur.