Monteverdi Festival 2018

A year later… A year after the celebrations for Monteverdi’s anniversary, here we are with a new intriguing and rich edition of the Monteverdi Festival. 

Orpheus the bard, demigod ascended to the Olympus with his father Apollo, gives way to a man. A man who, in Monteverdi’s opera, goes back home after many adventures, and finds his loyal wife Penelope and his son Telemachus waiting for him. But before that… Ulysses was a man who became a hero, myth of all time. Ulysses is cunning to learn but he is also the symbol of how life is uncertain against Nature or God’s will. Ulysses fights between harmony and chaos, light and darkness, woman and mermaid, known and unknown… And we, modern Ulysses, we fight with him. This is the main theme of the Festival 2018: eager to learn, we will discover new ensembles, new music, new venues… We will entrust our true heroes, we will rely on old stories and listen to great music. 

Many are the early music heroes who will enchant the Festival, many the virtuoso players and singers who will inspire and guide us with their deeds, starting from Vivica Genaux and Sonia Prina who will interpret the roles of Glory and Hymen for the opening concert, together with the dazzling ensemble Europa Galante conducted by Fabio Biondi (5th May). We will listen to the deeds of Peace, Painting and Music, the misfortunes of Eurydice and Dido, embodied by Francesca Aspromonte and Il Pomo d’Oro lead by Enrico Onofri (6th May), Ian Bostridge’s tenor adventures in search of Neapolitan operas with Antonio Florio’s Cappella Neapolitana (26th May); Gemma Bertagnolli’s furious battles with Händel, Pergolesi and Vivaldi’s cantatas (25th May). Vivaldi, Albinoni and Marcello are the Venetian heroes revered by the charismatic Ottavio Dantone and Accademia Bizantina (19th May). 

Our first and unique timeless hero, our mentor and guardian angel is Claudio Monteverdi: Christina Pluhar’s Arpeggiata returns to Cremona for a polished and vital performance of the Vespers, a recurrent and awaited appointment of the Festival (12th May). Close to Monteverdi were Caccini and Rossi, being all profound innovators and pioneers of the 17th century that was truly a revolutionary age. The Quartetto di Liuti da Milano pays a very special ‘plucked’ tribute to Giulio Caccini and his ‘new music’ on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death. We will explore the double life of the Jewish Salomone Rossi, as court composer of madrigals for the Gonzaga family and as liturgical musician for the Sinagogue in Mantua: an intriguing journey both sacred and secular with contemporary incursions composed and performed by the Profeti della Quinta (Across, 13th May). 

On Sundays, churches, courts and palaces will be enlivened by the young ensembles selected thanks to the European collaboration of the Centre culturel de rencontre/Festival d’Ambronay (EEEmerging Project) and of the International Competition Musica Antiqua/MA Festival Bruges (Orizzonti). We will discover the heroes of the future, exploring the new horizons of early music: the Concerto di Margherita, in an original self-accompanied concert dedicated to Alfonso II d’Este (20th May) and the virtuoso violinist Evgeny Sviridov sailing on the stormy waters of Geminiani, Locatelli and Veracini’s music (27th May). 

One learns the art of being a musician, not only with the study, but also with the practical experience of going on stage and into the pit: together with other educational institutions, the Monteverdi Festival starts up a new section called Young Barocco, featuring young but bold musicians. We will listen to: the final concert of the baroque workshop organised by the Conservatoire of Cremona and lead by Sonia Prina, Enrico Gatti e Gaetano Nasillo (10th May); the instrumental programme performed by the young baroque orchestra of the Civica Scuola di Milano conducted by Daniele Bragetti (8th May); the Corelli concert concluding the young artists residency with Alessandro Tampieri (18th May). Young Barocco will also set up Antonio Draghi’s comic opera La patienza di Socrate con due mogli, conducted by Roberto Perata and staged by Ilaria Sainato (21st and 22nd June).

The 500th anniversary of the death of Loyset Compère, one of the most important Franco-Flemish composers, together with Josquin, Ockeghem and Dufay, is the spur for an enchanting journey back to the 16th an 17th century undertaken by the renown Orlando Consort (11th May). To the men of the Renaissance, armed men, ancient heroes, princes and mentors, the beloved Tallis Scholars pay a breath-taking tribute, as a refined conclusion of the Festival (31st May). 

During the Festival, the Monteverdi OFFicine open up with a meet with the artists of Draghi’s opera and suggest gastronomy tours in collaboration with Strada del Gusto Cremonese.

Finally, you will be the authentic Ulysses of the Festival, travelling heroes on the music cruise, in search of Monteverdi: a convivial weekend, admiring the beautiful landscapes on the placid flowing of the Po river, with concerts on the deck between Cremona, Mantua and Venice (1st and 2nd June).

Buon viaggio a tutti gli Ulisse
del Monteverdi Festival!

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