The Sunday Opera: "Cleofide" by Johann Adolph Hasse
We have a historical rarity on this week’s Sunday Opera (1/10 3:00 p.m.) with Johann Adolph Hasse’s “Cleofide.” Hasse, who was incredibly popular during his time, is all but forgotten now as is his catalogue of sacred music and some seventy operas of which “Cleofide” was his seventeenth, premiering in 1731 and not really surfacing again until 2005. The subject matter is the clemency of Alexander the Great during the time of the war with King Porus in India which Hasse would revisit again later with an entirely new score. True to many Baroque operas, the storyline is rather convoluted but deals mainly with men who misunderstand the actions of the women in their lives who are doing what they think is best to save their kingdoms. The cast on this 1988 recording includes Emma Kirkby as Cleofide, Derek Lee Ragin as Porus, Agnes Mellon as Erissena, Dominique Visse as Alessandro (Alexander the Great), Randall K. Wong as Gandarte, and David Cordier as Timagene. William Christie conducts the Cappella Coloniensis. Join us for an afternoon of delightful music and excellent singing.