Antonio Salieri: 'Lost' ballet to be performed for first time in centuries
Baku, November 27, AZERTAC
Rediscovered music by Italian composer Antonio Salieri is to be performed for the first time in more than 200 years, according to BBC news.
University of Huddersfield student Ellen Stokes found the work, written for Salieri's opera Europe Riconosciuta, in the archive of an Austrian library.
It will be performed by the Lincoln Pro Musica Orchestra on Sunday.
Ms Stokes, studying for a PhD, said: "To have found something thought to be lost was amazing."
She travelled to the Austria National Library in Vienna where she discovered the piece, written for a ballet, called Pafio e Mirra, "jumbled up" within the pages of four manuscripts.
Ms Stokes said: "I believe that I have restructured one of his ballets. It was his first international opera, commissioned by Gluck, and was his international break, with the ballet coming in the middle of the opera. This ballet was believed lost in its full state, and scholars thought it only existed in a fragmentary form."
The opera premiered in Milan in 1778 and was performed again in 2004 but without the ballet section.
Ms Stokes said in the 18th Century it was "very rare" for a composer to write the ballet for his own opera.
The ballet was seen was being of "lesser importance", she explained.
Ms Stokes added: "To my understanding it [the ballet piece] has not been performed in its full version in modern times.
It is a really exciting prospect to get to hear it after so many years, when it will be expanded into a piece for an 18th Century-style chamber ensemble."
Ms Stokes, who praised the Austrian library's online researches, said she was amazed at the amount of information she found.
"I must have looked a bit like a mad woman in the library archives, as I was lifting every page [of the manuscripts] to look at the watermarks for hours," she said.
Seeing Salieri's own notes, scribbled in Italian around the edge of the manuscripts, helped Ms Stokes complete the picture.
She said: "The instructions showed that it was the start of the libretto, so I knew that movement was definitely from the ballet. Looking at another manuscript, there was a watermark that can only be found in Milan."
Dr Steven Jan, Ms Stokes' PhD supervisor, praised her persistence and research.
He said: "It shows how important the skills of musicology are, in that researchers can be presented with evidence, and still have to do a lot of digging and lateral thinking to make it coherent."
Salieri was one of Europe's best-known composers at the time of his death in 1825, but the Italian gained notoriety after rumours surfaced that he was involved in the death of his rival Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The rumours were further embellished and dramatized in Peter Schaffer's play Amadeus, which was turned into an Oscar-winning film in 1984.