Mozart's Apollo & Hyacinthus

May 21 – 22, 2022

Hamon Hall

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Presented by American Baroque Opera Co.

Run time: 1 hour and 35 minutes including intermission
Sung in Latin with English supertitles

Apollo & Hyacinthus was written in 1767 when Mozart was 11 years old, and premiered at the Benedictine University in Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg. Father Rufinus Widl wrote the libretto in Latin, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but changed the story to eliminate the controversial homosexual themes in the the original myth. Though the performance was a success, the opera received only one performance during Mozart’s lifetime. American Baroque Opera Co. is excited to present the first period instrument performance of the work in North America.


King Oebalus of Lacedaemonia and his son, Hyacinthus are preparing a sacrifice to Apollo when their altar is struck by a bolt of lightning. Apollo himself arrives to offer his friendship to young Hyacinthus and love to his sister, Melia. Melia’s euphoria over the prospect of marrying a deity is shattered, however, when Zephyrus runs in to report that Apollo had killed Hyacinthus with a discus. Just as Zephyrus is finishing his story, Apollo himself blows in and sends the liar off with a blast of the west wind. The distraught Melia doesn’t know what to believe and shuns the god as she leaves to find her brother. As it turns out, Hyacinthus manages to identify Zephyrus as his killer to his father as he is dying. Oebalus and Melia sing a duet of grief that so touches Apollo that he turns the boy’s body into the flower hyacinthus (with its signature marking), and reaffirms his love for Melia.