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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009

IU Baroque Orchestra to perform 're-discovered' work last staged in 1741

Semi-staging of opera in Bloomington and Wabash follows 268-year-silence

Feb. 5, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a unique collaboration between the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute and musicology professor Lawrence Bennett at Wabash College, Ind., the IU Baroque Orchestra and singers from the Jacobs School will offer two semi-staged performances of Ignaz Holzbauer's dramatic opera Hypermnestra. Considered as perhaps the first German language opera composed for Vienna, the work has not been performed since 1741.

A statue of mythical Hypermnestra, dating from 40-30 B.C.

Print-Quality Photo

The 21st century premieres will take place on Sunday, February 22, at 3 p.m. in Salter Concert Hall, Wabash and on Sunday, March 1, at 4 p.m. in Auer Concert Hall at the IU Jacobs School of Music.

"We're very pleased to be working with Lawrence Bennett, the 'discoverer' of this dramatic opera," said Michael McCraw, director of the Early Music Institute at IU. "Thanks to his efforts, the work will also be published in the most important collection of Austrian music, Denkmaeler der Tonkunst in Oesterreich (Monuments of Austrian Music)."

Based on a Greek tragedy in which a young woman is compelled to choose between loyalty to her father and love for her husband, the piece was re-discovered by Professor Bennett in 1995 during a research project in Meiningen, Germany. Bennett calls the opera "a darned good piece of music with all the goodies you expect in an opera -- treachery, jealousy, love -- along with awe-inspiring writing for voices."

The orchestra, directed by Jacobs professor Stanley Ritchie, will perform on instruments modeled from the 18th century in an appropriately stylized manner.