The almost pious baroque

The almost pious baroque

Thanks to Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Orchestra, we can finally hear the music of Rameau and Charpentier, two rare guests in our town. Handel, the Third Man of the program, is a little more frequent in these parts, but tends to visit as the Messiah and the Water Music. (How about a Handel opera in concert, Tafel? Ariodante or Alcina or an all-female Serse? And please no casting countertenors where the female trouser roles should be. Alright, I’m off the soapbox.) Officially, all three works on the program are sacred music — Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Rameau’s Grand Motet “In convertendo” and Charpentier’s Salve, Regina — but don’t take them for their word.  No piety will be in evidence, luckily. I have the Dixit Dominus CD by The Scholars Baroque Ensemble (with, ahem, countertenors instead of altos… my luck) and it sounds like Vivaldi got really drunk one night and decided to compose an opera in Latin. With dance numbers. You think I’m exaggerating, but go hear for yourself, the muscle cramp-inducing seats at Trinity St. Paul be damned.

Among the many attractions of the performance, the Dutch soprano Johannette Zomer.

Now, I doubt that she will wear that, but who knows, it’s baroque. Above is the picture from the Dutch National Opera’s imaginative 2009 production of Cavalli’Ercole Amante in which La Zomer played three roles.  To have a taste, listen to her Pasitea here or the entire fabulous opera, which outs Hercules as a WWF wrestler and caveman, here in HD. Her recordings are full of good choices and are getting good reviews. The CD of Handel Arias Love and Madness contain stuff from Ariodante, Il trionfo del tempo e disinganno, Rinaldo and Amadigi, paired with the baroque oboe.

[As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Dixit Dominus — the Gloria is raving maaaaad. I’m putting it on Repeat right now.]

Or Zomer’s Caccini CD with Nuove Musiche. Here she’s explaining why she  simply had to include ‘Amarilli, mia bella‘:

What should also take you to the TSP church this week is Rameau’s ‘In convertendo’. Here’s one of the movements, Qui seminant in lacrimis, performed by Les Arts Florissants with soloists, conducted by William Christie.

The entire luscious piece is, thanks to the Mezzo television channel and protestant7, available on YouTube and starts here.

Concert tickets, dates, details.

Nov 11-14, Trinity-St. Paul

Johannette Zomer, soprano

Vicki St. Pierre, mezzo-soprano

Lawrence Wiliford, tenor

Peter Harvey, baritone

Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Orchestra directed by Ivars Taurins


6 thoughts on “The almost pious baroque

  1. quote: “And please no casting countertenors where the female trouser roles should be.”

    Is there any way to have both? 🙂 I would really fancy Julius Caesar with reversed roles.

    Inspired by

    …If I remember correctly a recording where all male roles were sung by ladies and all female roles by countertenors…

    Mmm.. thinking about a cast that would make me drool… Unsure about Caesar.
    But it would definitely include Jaroussky as Cleopatra 😀

    something like that…

    And De Niese as Sextus for a change? Breeches become her 🙂

  2. I knew that remark would get me in trouble with you, Lank! L’Incoronazione di Dario? Never heard of it before, I’m glad I discovered it.

    But you know what I really like? Countertenors in supporting roles and playing female characters, like Nutrice and Arnalta in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, or in the main female roles, like Rameau’s Platée: There should be more ‘skirt roles’ for men.

    This is the best Arnalta I’ve heard. His ‘Adagiati Poppea’ is amazing:

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