All posts by Nélida Nassar

Astounding Mezzo-Soprano Ann Hallenberg with the Venice Baroque Orchestra

Ms. Hallenberg convincingly brings out the tragic dimensions of the operas, her facial expressions marking the changing moods of the score, even in moments when she is silent. Supported by a supple orchestra whose members seem to breathe along with each of her notes and who provide a lush background for her pure soprano tone, she reminds anyone who still doubts it that the opera seria is above all theater, as she deftly paints the painful and vindictive figure of the dazzling eunuch Vagaus, or the anguished Tamiri. Her most admirable quality, perhaps, is the eloquence with which she voices the text – of which we perceive every word. Governed by such mast

An Early Music Voyage with the Legendary Jordi Savall

Nélida Nassar 02.07.2020

Jordi Savall , the extraordinarily gifted Catalan master of the viola da Gamba and director of the world-famous ensembles Hespèrion XX (known since 2000 as Hespèrion XXI) and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, is one of my musical heroes. For 30 years his recordings have been a source of joy and astonishment for music lovers around the world. When I learned that he is coming back to Sanders Theatre in Cambridge this evening, under the auspices of Boston Early Music Festival, for a concert devoted to “Splendor of the Iberian Baroque,” I hastened to include excerpts of his music-making on all my social media posts. He will take the audience on a journey to discover the roots of the musical culture of Baroque Spain in a concert featuring his GRAMMY-winning vocal ensemble, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and his famous consort of virtuoso instrumentalists, Hespèrion XXI.

How does he reinvent pieces from the past, dating back centuries? What is his magic recipe for making ancient music relevant today? It all depends on the era in question, whether the music is medieval, Renaissance or Baroque. The closer we get to our own times, the more information one can find concerning specific matters, such as bow technique, ornamentation, improvisation, and vocal techniques. There is a lot of information from around 1500 to the Romantic era. But the essential thing is to allow the music to convey something of the real life of a culture in a given period. When the orchestra performs, the goal is to enable us to feel emotions similar to those of the people of the time and bring us a little closer to their unique life stories.

Savall’s orchestras and his musicians possess an exceptional range of skills. They can play everything — from medieval music to Renaissance music, and from Baroque to classical.  Performing with musicians from Turkey, Syria, Greece, Morocco, Mali and Madagascar, as well as from closer to home, has been Savall’s hallmark. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the arts flourished in a “Golden Century” across the cultural melting pot of the Iberian Peninsula. Painting, literature, architecture, and music all thrived during this period of political and cultural ascendancy. The concert will evoke this rich history, joining music from the Arab tradition with Spanish music in a vibrant celebration of this glorious era.

Lucía Martín-Cartón, soprano
Viva Biancaluna Biffi, mezzo-soprano
Víctor Sordo, tenor
 Yannis François, baritone

Jordi Savall, treble viol
Viva Biancaluna Biffi, tenor viol
Juan Manuel Quintana, bass viol
Xavier Puertas, violone 
Xavier Díaz-Latorre, guitar & vihuela
Andrew Lawrence-King, triple harp
David Mayoral, percussion

Friday, February 7, 2020 at 8pm
Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, Cambridge

Pre-Concert Talk at 7pm.