Everyone Loves Mozart Operas. Too Bad You’re Not Going to Hear One.
If you’re looking for a delightful night of Mozart, a little 18th-century bel canto diversion, Ensemble ACJW's March 31 performance of Zaide is probably not your concert.
The first thing you’ll hear won’t even be Mozart: The fluttering rush of orchestral color will be music that one-time New York composer Berio (he was a Juilliard faculty member from 1965 to 1971) wrote in 1995 to fill out the incomplete singspiel. He also wrote an epilogue and two interludes; in all, about a third of the music is his.
Onstage, Italian text written on blackboards will remind you that what you’re about to hear is a work of fiction, set by a young musical visionary from the Classical period for the audiences of his time. You'll see those blackboards a lot, and they’ll be as jarring as Berio’s funhouse-mirror modernism.
The March 31 Zaide will probably be more like walking through Jean-Claude and Christo’s The Gates in Central Park. Interspersed throughout a piece rich with historical resonance is a separate work, one that in its obvious distinctiveness helps highlight the significance of both.