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Meaning ‘The obligation of the first commandment’ and premiered in 1767, this allegorical piece is the eleven- year-old Mozart’s first extended dramatic work. It shows, for both good and bad reasons. The orchestration is already of interest, particularly the accompanied recitatives which have a vitality and dramatic urgency that help imbue some life into the work. But the arias are weaker affairs, the vocal lines lacking the memorable qualities that the young composer was soon to display. Plus, the libretto is unexciting and it’s difficult not to feel sorry for performers who have to eke out a few dull lines over several minutes of music. Ian Page conducts the Orchestra of Classical Opera and makes as persuasive a case as possible, with crisp playing and sprung rhythms. Andrew Kennedy is a fine Der Christgeist and Sarah Fox a highly capable Die Barmherzigkeit, her soprano light and sweet. Sophie Bevan makes heavier weather of Der Weltgeist and Cora Burggraaf ’s shallow tone sounds uncomfortable as Die Gerechtigkeit.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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