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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Apollo et Hyacinthus is an opera, K. 38, written in 1767 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was 11 years old at the time. It is Mozart's first true opera (when one considers that Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots is simply a sacred drama). It is in three acts. As is suggested by the name, the opera is based upon Greek mythology as told by Roman poet Ovid in his masterwork Metamorphoses. Interpreting this work, Rufinus Widl wrote the libretto in Latin.

KV 38 - Apollo et Hyacinthus

- Intrada (0:00)
- Coro e solo (Chorus, Oebalus) Numen o Latonium (2:45)
- Aria (Haycinthus) Saepe terrent numina (7:13)
- Aria (Apollo) Iam pastor Apollo (15:03)
- Aria (Melia) Laetari, Iocari (18:48)
- Aria (Zephyrus) En! duos conspicis (25:29)
- Duetto (Melia, Apollo) Discede crudelis! (29:10)
- Accompagnato (Hyacinthus, Oebalus) Non est - Quis ergo (35:29)
- Aria (Oebalus) Ut navis in aequore luxuriante (38:04)
- Duetto (Oebalus, Melia) Natus cadit, atque Deus (44:23)
- Terzetto (Apollo, Melia, Oebalus) Tandem post turbida fulmina (50:05)

Performed on May 13, 1767 at the Great Hall of Salzburg University. 


Oebalus, King of Lacedaemonia
Melia, Oebalus's daughter
Hyacinthus, Oebalus's son
Apollo, entertained by Oebalus as his guest
Zephyrus, Hyacinthus's confidant
First Priest of Apollo
Second Priest of Apollo



Following the short intrada in D major, the work opens with the prologue where Hyacinth confides in Zephyr of the youths attachment to Apollo and of Zephyr's jealousy. Next, King Oebalus and Melia appear at an altar where they are preparing a sacrifice to Apollo. A storm soon begins to brew and destroys the altar with lightning. Oebalus's son assures him that they have done nothing to conjure the wrath of Apollo. Towards the end of the prologue, Apollo appears, disguised as a shepherd. He announces that Jupiter has banished him and he asks for Oebalus's friendship, which he is quickly given. Soon, a mutual attraction is aroused between Melia and Apollo and he asks of evidence of her love for him.



Oebalus tells Melia that Apollo has requested her hand and Melia is overjoyed. However, Zephyr soon enters with the terrible news that, while sporting in the woods, Apollo threw a discus and fatally struck Hyacinth in the head. Oebalus, in a rage, orders Apollo to be banished from his kingdom. Zephyr, in an aside to the audience, confesses his guilt but eagerly obeys Oebalus's order and then proceeds to make advances on Melia in Apollo's absence. Melia refuses to consider Zephyr's advances. While he is making these inappropriate advances on Melia, Apollo appears, professes his innocence and turns Zephyr into a wind. Melia still believes Apollo to be the murderer of her brother and now begins to deny Apollo's advances.



The final act begins with the final breaths of Hyacinth where he describes the real cause of his murder to his father. Oebalus realizes Zephyr's guilt while he watches his own son die. Melia then enters and tells her father that she has denied Apollo before she learns of Zephyr's guilt as well. Oebalus and Melia wallow in their misfortune and the loss of the favor of their protecting god before Apollo again appears, claiming that love has compelled him to return to Melia. Beautiful flowers then rise from Hyacinth's grave, Apollo and Melia are engaged and Apollo ensures that the kingdom will flourish forever under his protection.

Apollo and Hyacinthus by Caravaggio

Apollo  is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.

Hyacinth is a divine hero from Greek mythology. A temenos or sanctuary grew up around what was alleged to be his burial mound, which was located in the Classical period at the feet of Apollo's statue. The literary myths serve to link him to local cults, and to identify him with Apollo. In Greek mythology, Hyacinth was given various parentage, providing local links, as the son of Clio and Pierus, or of king Oebalus of Sparta, or of king Amyclas of Sparta, progenitor of the people of Amyclae, dwellers about Sparta. 

In the literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by Zephyrus, the West Wind. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo's discus off course to kill Hyacinth.

The Death of Hyacinth by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

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