Misteria Paschalia 2008
The fifth edition of the Misteria Paschalia Festival is an encounter with a sophisticated repertoire in brilliant renditions by leading European period performance artists.
The Festival was inaugurated with a world’s-first performance of Antonio Caldara’s Oratorio, Il Rè del Dolores, composed to Pietro Pariati’s libretto. The oratorio was performed by an international line-up of soloists: Maria Grazia Schiavo, Emanuela Galli, Josè Maria Lo Monaco, Mark Milhofer and João Fernandes, with the La Stagione Armonica choir and the Accademia Bizantina orchestra conducted by Ottavio Dantone. The undertaking was co-produced with a prestigious Italian Festival Creator – Faenza Musica Sacra.
One of the most charismatic interpreters of early music, Jordi Savall, gave a performance of a unique concert-mystery. The artist was accompanied by two legendary groups: Hespèrion XXI and Le Concert des Nations. Savall presented his amazing phonographic project, Lacrimae Caravaggio, in Krakow for the very first time. The project is based on presentation of monumental reproductions of seven paintings by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio connected with the subject of death (Sacrifice of Isaac, Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, The Entombment of Christ, Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, Madonna of the Pilgrims, Death of the Virgin, David and Goliath). Savall prepared his own musical improvisations inspired by connections between music and painting and selected materials rendering the spirit of the period of the Italian master of painting. The project is complemented with poetic commentaries by Dominique Fernandez read out during the concert by Jerzy Trela. The musical mystery connects seven huge canvases with music into a series of seven reflectively different stations.
Marc Minkowski had visited Krakow one more time. This time he introduced us to his band - Les Musiciens du Louvre–Grenoble. Ruby Hughes, Colin Blazer and João Fernandes performed as the concert soloists. The performance was a presentation of three parts of the Chandos Anthems series, composed by George Frideric Handel for Henry James Bridges, First Duke of Chandos.
Rinaldo Alessandrini from Concerto Italiano presented an excellent oratorio, La Vergine dei dolori by Alessandro Scarlatti. The soloists included Roberta Invernizzi and Sonia Prina, vocalists the Krakow audience is perfectly familiar with, as well as singers debuting in our city: Daniele Zanfardino and one of the most valued young countertenors – Martin Oro.
Philip Pickett with his band New London Concert gave their first performance at the Festival. The artists, with a select line-up of soloists (Faye Newton, Julia Gooding, Christopher Robson, Andrew King, Michael George), presented chosen pieces from Claudio Monteverdi’s Selva Morale e Spirituale collection, as well as one of the most unusual and exciting baroque works, Requiem, composed by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber.
Vincent Dumestre conducting the group Le Poème Harmonique performed in the Chapel of St. Kinga. Dumestre presented another project in conformity with the mystery tradition. It iwas a performance of moving Lamentations composed by a member of the Florentine Camerata and a precursor of Baroque, Emilio de’ Cavalieri.
Permanent guests of the Festival, Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, presented Antonio Vivaldi’s opera, Bajazet, composed to Agostino Piovene’s libretto. The concert inaugurated an European tour with the repertoire. The most important names of the Baroque stage: Vivica Genaux, Romina Basso, Christian Senn, Lucia Cirillo, Maria Grazia Schiavo and Marina de Liso took part in the concert as its soloists. The first complete recording of the opera, made by Fabio Biondi for Virgin Classics, won two prestigious awards in 2006: the Midem Classical Award and the Grammy Award.
Antonio Vivaldi’s three-year series Motetti e concertin, was completed by one of the favourite vocalists of the Krakow audience, Roberta Invernizzi. She was accompanied by the La Risonanza band conducted by Fabio Bonizzoni. The programme included motets: Sum in medio tempestatum, O qui coeli terraeque serenitas and In turbato mare irato, as well as orchestral concerts.
Philippe Jaroussky, Christina Pluhar, Giovanni Antonini, Marc Minkowski, Vivica Genaux, Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras are only some of the early music artists who came to Krakow in 2010 to participate in the 7th Misteria Paschalia Festival (the 29th of March – 5th of April). It is a true feast for music lovers and a special context for celebrations of the Easter Triduum and Easter.
The Misteria Paschalia is one of the most important early music festivals in Europe and, at the same time, a music arena for presentation of the best groups and the most amazing voices of the historical current. The leading representatives of Baroque interpretation meet in Krakow every year to present the most interesting musical projects prepared especially for the needs of the Festival. Easter in Krakow is “great music in great interpretations,” imbued with paschal and Resurrection atmosphere and subject, rich in contexts and references to the most important Christian topoi. Highly estimated in the rankings of the most important musical events of the last couple of years, the Festival has become the first European stage on which indefatigable musical archaeologists present works dug out from the corners of world libraries and archives. Krakow’s performances of many such pieces are their world or Polish premieres, moreover, they are presented by the best line-up of musicians who work out the found works especially for the needs of the Festival, and soloists who bring them back to life with their amazing voices.
2010 was no different. We had an opportunity to listen to the most highly valued bands which had given performances in Krakow before: Il Giardino Armonico, Accademia Bizantina, Europa Galante, Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, Hesperion XXI, Le Concert des Nations, as well as making their Krakow debut, Italian La Venexiana and French L’Arpeggiata. Krakow also saw the following outstanding soloists: Vivica Genaux, Philippe Jaroussky, Claire Booth, Maria Grazia Schiavo, Romina Basso, Montserrat Figueras, Roberta Invernizzi, Pino de Vittorio, Gerd Türk and Marina de Liso.
The Festival was inaugurated by the Neapolitan repertoire specialists – Capella della Pietà de’ Turchini conducted by Antonio Floro. Accompanied by the most beautiful Baroque voices of Maria Grazia Schiavo and Romina Basso, as well as Patrizia Bovi and Pino de Vittorio, they presented Intorno Allo Stabat, a work consisting of Italian and Latin sequences and psalms for the Holy Week, most of which premiered in Krakow. Accademia Bizantina – one of the most highly valued Italian groups – which have very successfully interpreted Pergolesi’s, Handel’s and Monteverdi’s operas, this time came to perform an amazing oratorio by Antonio Caldara entitled Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo. The performers included Claire Booth – an outstanding British singer, a real phenomenon in vocal art, whose passion are both Baroque and contemporary works.
The great Catalan searcher, Jordi Savall, who presented his amazing work entitled Jerusalem (granted the Midem Classical Award in 2010) in Krakow in 2009, this time came to our city, accompanied by Japanese artists, with the La Ruta de Oriente project. The musical journey following the tracks of Portuguese missionaries to the Land of the Rising Sun was also participated by Savall’s wife, loved by the Krakow audience, Montserrat Figueras.
Nevertheless, the musical centre of mystery deliberations was the Good Friday performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion, interpreted by Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble conducted by Marc Minkowski. Minkowski invited perfectly harmonised voices of soloists, who also performed the choir parts: sopranos Joanna Lund and Judith Gauthier, mezzo-soprano Delphine Galou, countertenor Owen Willetts, tenors Markus Brutscher (the Evangelist) and Nicholas Mulroy as well as basses Christian Immler and Benoît Arnoult, to take part in the project. La Venexiana, called the “New Orpheus of the Italian madrigal repertoire” debuted in Krakow by performing a series of seven cantatas: Membra Jesu Nostri by a master from Beck, Dieterich Buxtehude – the organo virtuoso and a teacher of J.S. Bach. The second group debuting in Krakow was French L’Arpeggiatta founded and conducted by a theorbo and Baroque harp virtuoso, Christina Pulhar. Pulhar’s musicians, including Philippe Jaroussky, believed to be the most outstanding contemporary countertenor, presented a refined programme, consisting of Italian Baroque works, in the Wieliczka Salt Mine St. Kinga Chapel.
Charismatic Giovanni Antotini and his Il Giardino Armonico performed a piece the Krakow audience had been waiting for a very long time - George Frideric Handel’s La Resurezzione, prepared especially at the Festival’s order. During the cheerful finale on Easter Monday, the favourites of both Krakow and world audiences, Vivica Genaux and Fabio Biondi, presented a selection of the most beautiful arias from Antonio Vivaldi’s oratorios and operas – a material recorded by the Virgin Classic recording company under the meaningful title Pyrotechnics .