Northside Opera Study Group: The Operas of Michael Haydn



Michael Haydn (1737 – 1806) has long lived in the shadow of his older brother Franz Joseph Haydn; yet, during their working lives, the younger Michael was considered a superior church musicians to the older Joseph.

Michael’s output of sacred music was substantial. However, discussion of his work often overlooks his output of secular works – in particular the operas he wrote. 

For their March 1oth meeting, Northside Opera Study Group presents Dr Robert Forgacs who will talk about the Operas of Michael Haydn. He says:

“Michael Haydn’s two short German comic operas  “Die Hochzeit auf der Alm” (The Wedding on the Alpine Pasture) and “Der Baßgeiger zu Wörgl” (The Bass player of Wörgl) were  composed for performance in conjunction with Neo-Latin Dramas staged by students at the University of Salzburg and the Grammar School at Kremsmünster respectively during the later 18th century. Both were so successful that they took on an independent life as self-contained operas. They are full of charming, witty and lyrical music, the first a fully-fledged pastoral romance, the second a satirical chamber operetta. I became interested in these works while I was a visiting Fellow at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies at Innsbruck between May and July 2014, doing research into the music composed for the Neo-Latin Dramas of the Benedictines and Jesuits in 18th century Austria and Germany. Both works have only become available relatively recently through modern editions and CD recordings.”

Northside Opera Study Group meets each Monday morning in Lindfield. The group welcomes both long-term opera enthusiasts as well as newcomers who want to learn more about the subject, and those who would like to share their interest in music and opera.  

Their programmes are wide and varied and cover traditional as well as contemporary opera. The weekly lectures are presented by distinguished artists, musicians and academics using the latest audiovisual equipment and include performances by up and coming singers as well as an annual concert by students from the Conservatorium of Music. 

Visitors and new members are always welcome. The first visit is free. Subsequent visits are $20 per lecture or $100 per semester.This includes morning tea and access to their extensive library of DVDs, CDs and books.  


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