Duetti da camera: Jewels of the 17th and 18th centuries.
George Frideric Handel was trained in the school of the grand Italian opera, where the transcendent bel canto style of singing was enjoying its golden age.
This concert invites the listener to revel in duetti performed in a “da camera” version – superb examples of transcendent vocal style where virtuosity and vocal prowess are agents of pure emotion – written by Handel and some of his contemporaries representative of the different Italian musical schools: the Neapolitan Francesco Durante (1684–1755) or the Venitian Agosto Steffani (1654–1728).
In order to illustrate the virtingious development in vocal writing for duos at the time, these jewels of the 18th century have been programmed along with pieces from the preceding century, chosen from amongst the most remarkable ones in the genre. Although in a very different style, the airs and duos of Claudio Monteverdi, Luigi Rossi, Sigismondo d’India or the very unknown Antonio Bertali, display equally remarkable beauty and leave a hint of where the seeds were sown for this chamber form and used by future generations. The performance of these duetti will be punctuated with Italian instrumental music of both centuries written by Handel, Tomaso Antonio Vitali, and Tarquino Merula.
To give life to these jewels, William Christie, cembalist, conductor and founder of reputable early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants, joins with sopranos Katherine Watson and mezzo-soprano Eva Zaicik, both former laureates of the Jardin des Voix, and a handpicked ensemble of brilliant young instrumentalists.