Sara Mingardo and Francesca Biliotti at Wigmore Hall

Giorgio Dal Monte, Francesca Biliotti, Sara Mingardo, Giovanni Bellini

Three years after my first trip to Wigmore Hall to hear Sara Mingardo sing Italian laments and songs, she’s back, this time with Francesca Biliotti, another contralto under Sara Mingardo’s training wings (she’s been training a lot of the young generation to sing baroque, very endearing!) . Accompanying them is the young harpsichordist Giorgio Dal Monte who, if you follow Sara Mingardo, would recognize as the one in all of her masterclass photos (jeah, it’s getting to the point I now recognizing all younger singers and accompanists who collaborate often with SM 🙂 ), and another young theorbo player Giovanni Bellini, who i have not heard before (I’ve seen her often with Ivano Zanenghi, who I spotted in Venice) . The repertoire covers wonderful duets from Monteverdi. Thanks to Dehggi and her connection, we got row 4 !! from which i have to say how impressed i’m how powerful Sara Mingardo’s voice is, along with the amazing level of depth, details, colors, and resonance. We both had a feeling perhaps Biliotti was a bit to tight when things got started, while Mingardo was completely at ease — i breath Monteverdi in my sleep, [wink], [soft smile] (sigh). It’s also quite endearing the amount of contact she made to Biliotti at the end of each piece.

The first duet, I ‘d have to listen more to get used to as there was a lot of recit and “conversation”.. The bits not needing any re-listening to get used to is … o.m.g.. d.r.o.o.l.i.n.g… “Vorrei baciarti” . What i so love is also how into it S.Mingardo’s expression was, both vocally and physically in her body and facial expression. Actually here one could also distinguish that without knowing the words you can understand so much in SM’s depth compared to Biliotti, who I think will gain more expression with experience. Truly swoooooning… as soon as the piece finished i was already thinking: encore!! TWICE!! please!! This transitioned into “Voglio di vita uscir”, where, as you know, it’s got a fast tempo start, a very sharp turn into simply theorbo and S.Mingardo singing looong line of emotion and piani.. ahh… too precious.. The next two songs i’ll have to re-listen to catch on more details again.. The final being “Zefiro torna”, which D. apparently knew very well and reported having been waiting forever for mezzos/contraltos to sing in place of the only available CT version on tube.. well, this one was broadcast on bbc 3 radio, so yay! They were really having fun alternating their phrases, playful at times, so lovely to watch 🙂 . Imagine Yoda at a Monteverdi night club DJ-ing coloratora runs, jeah, that’s SM in this piece, with her knees bending, body swinging, and leaps in dynamics through those fast note runs. There were also 2 instrumental pieces, but you’ll have to excuse me as I didn’t really manage much, was all focusing on the luscious sound…

Claudio Monteverdi(1567-1643)
Settimo libro de madrigali
Ohimè, dov’è il mio ben, dov’è il mio core? ‘Romanesca’
Con che soavità, labbra odorate

Girolamo Frescobaldi(1583-1643)
Toccata nona

Claudio Monteverdi
Settimo libro de madrigali
Vorrei baciarti
Voglio di vita uscir, voglio che cadano
Settimo libro de madrigali
Non è di gentil core
O come sei gentile

Giovanni Kapsberger(c.1580-1651)
Canzone prima

Claudio Monteverdi
Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti

The noon concert ended with Sara Mingardo hugging and landing warm kisses to her young colleague… ahh, too warm to handel… of course we went back stage to say hi to her, she’s sooooooooooo sweet 🙂 , i of course mentioned I heard her in Detroit and Washington DC (oooooh woooow she replied 😉 ), then Penelope in Hamburg, and of course pointing to Dehggi who joined in for mentioning us hearing her in Dario in Turin, to both she was very happy to hear. I mean we both looked a little bit youngsters who oozed enthusiasm for Monteverdi (to which she said “I love” (singing Monteverdi)) and we parted with her extending her hands out to shake mine and Dehggi’s ❤ ❤ ❤ . ahhh… oh jes, we did ask her for a photo, she was soooooooo charming , with big smile: sure, without my glasses (sooooooooo cute) and so we flanked her.. i snapped it… to our disappointment the camera malfunctioned so in the end it did not register the photo we all saw in the preview… but altogether, yours truly left with smushy knees (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) and the lovely exchange in the green room after such a lovely intimate noon concert. ❤ . (no i don't need help yet). you can relisten to the program here. (please excuse spelling and grammar errors.. am off to download that broadcast to re-listen…)

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contraltos Ruggiero & Medoro ftw

for those getting a headache this past week in Venice from Medoro, let me offer a solution that works on so many levels, or as I say it, music written for contraltos sung by contraltos, ❤

do take a moment (or five) just to hear how WARM the sound is!!! as well as the acting!!

And while we are at it, please feel absolutely free to imagine Lucia Cirillo’s Alcina to this Ruggiero…

to jog our memory, at about here, Alcina is caressing Ruggiero on top of the steps…

while the adorable hippogriff kneeling to Bradamante…

Mingardo and Invernizzi radio alert

link

It was earlier today from Amsterdam, luckily still available for relistening, very lovely, Scalatti’s Stabat Mater. Don’t miss the (waaaaay too short) very charming interview at intermission to both Roberta Invernizzi and Sara Mingardo. Too bad, because it was in English, there wasn’t much the singers could say… but still quite lovely to “hear” how these two singers interact.. and the funny thing that they have to travel all the way to Amsterdam to sing this lovely piece.

The orchestral piece during intermission is also super lovely, by the same orchestra Cappella Neapolitana led by Antonio Florio.

I now on 3rd repeat.. but will continue to the end, for Veneziano – La passione secondo Giovanni.
(i quit, couldn’t handel their voice for too long.. and excerpts include two CTs in very small voices.. whatever.. please listen to the excerpt below for why I’d like to hear more mezzos/contraltos in Bach… and please, when will i ever get to hear SM singing it?!)

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While there, you can also check out Ton Koopman’s conducing Bach Matthäus Passion today, with a contralto (Wiebke Lehmkuhl) . It’s even quite rare now to find a mezzo/contralto singing Bach Matthäus and St. John Passion! So i’m listening with open ears. And I’ve already liked Klaus Mertens , in his previous recording with Koopman.

J.S. Bach – Matthäus Passion BWV 244
Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest
Ton Koopman, dirigent
Tilman Lichdi, tenor (Evangelist)
Manuel Walser, bas (Christus)
Christine Landshamer, sopraan
Wiebke Lehmkuhl, alt
Mauro Peter, tenor
Klaus Mertens, bas
Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Nederlands Kamerkoor
Nationaal Kinderkoor

ah yes, veeeery warm and nice tone, and a nice bounce to this lovely aria:
Buß und Reu (alto)

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of course, i should take an opportunity to mention the last time i saw these two singers together…

music for the night


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Monteverdi “Voglio di vita uscir” (I want to depart this life)

Voglio di vita uscir, voglio che cadano
Quest’ossa in polve e queste membra in cenere,
E che i singulti miei tra l’ombre vadano,
Già che quel piè ch’ingemma l’herbe tenere
Sempre fugge da me, ne lo trattengono
I lacci, ohimè, del bel fanciul di Venere.

Vo che gl’abissi il mio cordoglio vedano,
E l’aspro mio martir le furie piangano,
E che i dannati al mio tormento cedano.
A Dio crudel, gl’orgogli tuoi rimangano
A incrudelir con gl’altri. A te rinuncio,
Né vo’ più che mie speme in te si frangano.

S’apre la tomba, il mio morir t’annuncio.
Una lagrima spargi, et alfin donami
Di tua tarda pietade un solo nuncio,
E s’amando t’offesi, homai perdonami.

I want to depart this life, I want my bones
to fall into dust, and my limbs into ashes,
and my sobs to disappear among the shadows,
since those feet, which adorn the tender grasses,
are always fleeing from me; nor are they restrained,
alas, by the bonds of the lovely son of Venus.

I want the depths of hell to see my sorrow,
and the Furies to weep for my harsh agony,
and the damned to acknowledge my torment.
Farewell, cruel one, let your pride remain
to torture others; I renounce you!
I no longer want you to dash my hopes to pieces.

The tomb opens: my death is at hand.
Shed but one tear, and at the last give me
a single sign of your pity (now too late);
and if my love has offended you, forgive me now!

(now i’m hoping to eventually get a clip of her singing “lasciatemi morire” …)

Nathalie Stutzmann (and Sara Mingardo) stream alert

Edit: live-stream on youtube here.
Tomorrow, Friday, 1/Dec/2017 , live video stream from Dublin at 1930 GMT, 1430 East coast time, Nathalie Stutzmann conducting the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra:

(ps- now that i know there is always a stream from Dublin and São Paolo, am hoping soon she’ll also conduct Händel Messiah with Sara Mingardo singing 🙂
and Bach Matthews Passion too!).

music to start the very long weekend

we still have a meeting today at 10am.. not sure how i’m going to make it at all… and then another meeting at 2pm methinks.. whatever.. i’m ready for a very long weekend to just sleep in. and jeah, sorry, if you’re looking for a relief from Sara Mingardo’s discussion, this is the wrong place. Every time i see her live it seems to trigger even more diving in.. Especially now that i’ve learned she’s teaching a lot more baroque singing to young students, and in parallel performing really intimate pieces in small churches scattered in Italy. So, time to continue dwelling in the vault. The night has been spent searching for her pianissimo.. Here, to start the long weekend. It is on my list of the things I’d like to hear SM live in. It’s really nice to have a conductor who can clear out everything for these moments. ❤

There's also a whole playlist here.

more monteverdi snippet

ok, so i’ve just found out that more people are now taping “live” S.Mingardo’s performances, yay. Wish this thing below is in full.. but snippet is what we’ll settle for now. There’s also this other full thing which I’ve already posted in some comment section, but it never hurts to share again the goodie, and along with it a lovely write up (based on translation).

(Note the video below: the volume is by default mute, you just have to switch it on. also on mobile the vid doesn’t show up, so it’s now linked to the picture above.)