Mayr: Telemaco

Reviewed on Fri 24 Mar, 2017

The performance is delightful throughout. Markus Schäfer is very much the authoritative figure and Andrea Lauren Brown is convincingly nasty in much of her recitative.

The goddess Calipso, spurned by Ulysses, determines to avenge herself on his son Telemaco who is shipwrecked on her island. She desires his love or his death but as he and the nymph, Eucari, have fallen in love they are both in great danger. He is rescued by Mentore, his tutor, and Eucari is pardoned by Calipso who ends the opera in despair. Johann Simon Mayr’s opera seria was much influenced by French opera. Telemaco exemplifies this with its dances, choruses and emphasis on recitative. There are some beautiful arias and cavatinas as well as duets, and the performance is delightful throughout. Markus Schäfer is very much the authoritative figure and Andrea Lauren Brown is convincingly nasty in much of her recitative. Franz Hauk’s harpsichord accompaniment is sensitively played and the two choirs give pleasing substance to the sound, as does the Concerto de Bassus. Unfortunately, Naxos merely supply the libretto online and only in Italian. This is very frustrating as there is so much recitative and understanding the words is important. The track links in the synopsis are helpful but not brilliant.
–Ruth Piatkus