Mozart Reimagined – Apollo et Hyacinthus

22 Jul

Mozart Reimagined by Tyson Vick will feature four illustrations of Mozart’s “Apollo et Hyacinthus”, which is a Latin opera by a child Mozart.

Mozart Reimagined features four photos by Tyson Vick from the opera Apollo et Hyacinthus

Mozart Reimagined features four photos by Tyson Vick from the opera Apollo et Hyacinthus

Mozart Reimagined showcases nearly 100 photos that bring to life Mozart’s operas through photography. I spent a decade building props and sets, meeting models and photographing across the country to showcase what Mozart’s music has meant to me. The book also features essays written about each opera from my own unique perspective. The book humorously points out plot-holes, gives insight into past and present performances, recites a little bit of History and overflows with my own passion for the music of Mozart.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter accompanying these images:

“The strangest thing to note about Apollo et Hyacinthus, is that, although numerous people are murdered, neither the characters nor the music seem to much notice this fact. Everything just goes on willy-nilly as if nothing happened. “

Apollo et Hyacinthus, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Apollo et Hyacinthus, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

You can read about how I created the picture above of Zephyrus blowing away on the wind with a step-by-step Illustration here!

The photos feature my returning friend Jacob Federspiel-Smith as well as some other models.

I’m going to be giving you a preview of photos from every chapter of Mozart Reimagined over the next month, and then it will be time for pre-orders. I will be launching pre-orders on Kickstarter on September 14th, 2015! Until then, I wanted to give you a glimpse of some of the photos and excerpts from the book so you can see what’s in store! Subscribe to the blog for every update, or check back on September 14th for the launch of the book.


One Response to “Mozart Reimagined – Apollo et Hyacinthus”

  1. Roo Bookaroo July 22, 2015 at 5:22 am #

    “Although numerous people are murdered, neither the characters nor the music seem to much notice this fact.”
    ​This statement is most bizarre.

    There are only 5 characters in this libretto.

    Oebalus, Lacedemoniæ Rex, Tenor – King of Sparta
    Melia, Oebali Filia, Sopranus – The king’s daughter
    Hyacinthus, Oebali Filius, Sopranus – The king’s son, Melia’s brother
    Apollo, ab Oebalo hospitio exceptus, Altus – Venerated god of Sparta
    Zephyrus, Hyacinthi intimus, Altus – Close friend of Hyacinthus​

    Only one character is “murdered”, that is Hyacinthus, killed by Zephyrus during a game of discus throw. This is happening OFFSTAGE.
    The death is only reported by Zephyrus, who accuses the god Apollo. Apollo returns, and is incensed by Zephyrus’s duplicity. In his anger, Apollo turns Zephyrus into a wind.
    When Oebalus is lamenting his son’s death and Melia her brother’s death, Apollo reappears and turns Hyacinthus’s body into a bed of flowers.
    The music expresses magnificently the fluctuations of feelings and passions of the characters: hope, affection, love, jealousy, duplicity, rage, mourning, apologies, clemency, happiness.
    The assumption that “neither the characters nor the music seem to much notice this fact.”
    This statement betrays a complete ignorance of the music of this opera.

    A complete synopsis with step-by-step analysis of the action and music can be found in my Amazon review of the opera at Roo Bookaroo’s Review of Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus
    and a fine evaluation of the opera by conductor Ian Page at

    About the music, Ian Page writes:
    “Apollo et Hyacinthus displays remarkable maturity, individuality and virtuosity, and there are constant reminders that the eleven-year-old composer had already written a substantial and impressive body of works. The opera’s orchestral introduction was entitled ‘intrada’ rather than the usual ‘sinfonia’ or ‘overture’, presumably to reflect its brevity and modesty of scale, but its charm and vivacity provide an auspicious start to the composer’s operatic canon. It also features divided violas, a favourite device of the young Mozart which recurs in five of the nine subsequent numbers. The chorus which follows the opening recitative possesses an austere grandeur and formality reminiscent of Gluck, and there is a genuine sense of devotion and sincerity in the music. Each character has one aria, and even at such a young age Mozart has an unerring ability to create characters with real and heartfelt emotions. The word-painting and use of the orchestra to heighten meaning and atmosphere are already highly accomplished, although this is always achieved with the playfulness of a child discovering a new toy. Thus Hyacinthus’ aria is full of orchestral outbursts illustrating how the gods alternately threaten us and smile on us, while Oebalus’ aria at the beginning of the final act is a wonderfully vivid evocation of the mourning father’s anger and despair, with flashing violin scales magnificently capturing the turbulent sea imagery. Zephyrus’ aria is admirably sparse and sinister, the string texture reduced to a chromatic unison as he asks Melia which of her two admirers she favours, while in Apollo’s aria Mozart resists the temptation to provide him with vocal pyrotechnics, instead focusing
    on the character’s pastoral disguise in a number notable for its bucolic elegance and understatement; gods, after all, are not accustomed to having to prove themselves. Meanwhile Melia’s aria, in which she rejoices at the news of her imminent marriage to Apollo, has a vivacious virtuosity not dissimilar to Morgana’s ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’ from Handel’s Alcina – the twelve-year-old who created the role must have been unusually accomplished.
    No less remarkable is the duet between Melia and Apollo, in which the opposing strands of Melia’s venomous hatred and Apollo’s placating calmness are able to coexist within the same music. But the emotional climax of the score is surely the duet between Oebalus and Melia. Mozart’s fledgling genius is already apparent in the beauty not only of the melody but also of the scoring: muted first violins, lapping violas and pizzicato second violins, cello and bass are gently supported by horns, creating an exquisite texture over which father and daughter lament their plight. It forms
    the centrepiece of a final act in which we are entirely able to forget that this is the work of an eleven-year-old, and to savour the glories of an opera which would justify occasional revival even if its creator had been four times the age when he wrote it.

    Ian Page

    About the famous duet between Oebalius and Melia, which expresses the unfathomable depth of their despair, I wrote in my review:

    No. 8 Duetto: “Natus cadit, atque Deus” (Oebalius, Melia)***

    – Oebalus: “My son is dead, and the god, without my knowing it, without my wanting it, is deeply offended and has left. Without his protection, this kingdom cannot survive. God, oh God, I pray you, return to us.”
    – Melia: “My brother is dead, and my lover, on your order, with my regret, is gone. A bride without a groom, whom can she then love now? Do not punish the woman, God, oh, return to us.”

    [Both Oebalus and Melia lament and mourn the death of Hyacinthus, but are terrified at their wrong behavior towards Apollo. They fear the future and the wrath of the god whom they have wronged.
    This is a sublime andante duetto, the crown of the opera, of ineffable and intense beauty. The music is most magnificent and deeply moving. One of the great duettos of Mozart, and of all opera. Abert finds “real warmth and life” in this aria, and notes the masterly scoring of “muted first violins, pizzicato second violins and divided violas”, while “cello and bass are gently supported by horns, creating an exquisite texture” (Ian Page).

    But Abert, encumbered with heavy scholarship, can’t escape a somewhat blasé tone: “and while the saccharine wistfulness and little chromatic sighs of the melodic writing infallibly recall J.C. Bach, the expression is natural and genuine”.

    In truth, the duet is a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty worthy of any consummate composer. Adeline Muller (A Köchel a Day) notes: The “floaty feeling” is similar to “Soave sia il vento” in Così fan tutte; and “the first violas break away from their accompaniment texture and take up Oebalus’ line, so that it’s a true duet in the orchestra as well as in the voices.” This is Mozart’s first “cantabile”, expressing the deep melancholy of the slow movements that will reappear in the later keyboard concertos (Brampton Classical Opera).

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