Il Pomo d'Oro and Jakub Józef Orliński: Facce d’Amore
Entrance to the talk "What happens outside the comfort zone" at 21.00 included in the concert ticketBUY TICKET
Facce d’Amore – the Faces of Love is the title of tonight’s concert with the Il Pomo d’Oro Baroque ensemble and countertenor Jakub Jósef Orliński. On the programme are arias from more or less famous operas by composers such as George Friederic Handel, Francesco Cavalli and Giuseppe Maria Orlandini. The countertenor – or what used to be a castrato – was often cast as a hero. In tonight’s performance we will meet him in his various emotional guises.
Il Pomo d'Oro
The ensemble il pomo d’oro was founded in 2012. It is characterized by an authentic, dynamic interpretation of operas and instrumental works from the Baroque and Classical period. The musicians are all well-known specialists and are among the best in the field of historical performance practice. The ensemble so far worked with the conductors Riccardo Minasi, Maxim Emelyanychev, Stefano Montanari, George Petrou, Enrico Onofri and Francesco Corti. Concert master Zefira Valova leads the orchestra in various projects. Since 2016 Maxim Emelyanychev has been its chief conductor, and since 2019 Francesco Corti is principal guest conductor.
Il pomo d’oro is a regular guest in prestigious concert halls and festivals all over Europe. After the worldwide success of the program «In War and Peace» with Joyce DiDonato, in 2020 il pomo d’oro and Maxim Emelyanychev presented My favorite things with the and is now on tour worldwide with Eden, the latest program and album of il pomo d’oro, Maxim Emelyanychev and the American Mezzosoprano. The discography of il pomo d’oro includes several opera recordings: G. F. Händel’s Agrippina, Serse, Tamerlano, Partenope and Ottone, Leonardo Vinci’ s Catone in Utica, and Alessandro Stradella’s La Doriclea. It features Recitals with the countertenors Jakub Józef Orliński, Franco Fagioli, Max Emanuel Cencic, and Xavier Sabata, with mezzosopranos Ann Hallenberg and Joyce DiDonato and with sopranos Lisette Oropesa, Emöke Barath and Francesca Aspromonte.
Among the instrumental albums the recordings of Haydn’s violin and harpsichord concertos as well as a cello album with Edgar Moreau received ‘Echo Klassik’ Awards in 2016. Further instrumental recordings are dedicated to the violin concertos and the harpsichord concertos by J.S. Bach, with Shunske Sato and Francesco Corti as soloists, and to virtuoso violin concertos with Dmitry Sinkonvsky. In 2021 new albums with Bach harpsichord concertos vol.2 with Francesco Corti, Ombra Compagna with Lisette Oropesa (Mozart concert arias) and Jakub Józef Orliński (Anima Aeterna) were released. In 2022 seven albums have been published: Handel’s Apollo e Dafne with Kathryn Lewek (Soprano) and John Chest (Bass), Mandolin on stage with Raffaele La Ragione (Mandolin), the new recital with Joyce DiDonato, Eden, Bach Harpsichord Concertos vol III with Francesco Corti, Violin Concertos by Benda, Graun, Saint-Georges and Sirmen with Zefira Valova as soloist, Roma Travestita with Soprano Bruno de Sá, and Handel’s oratorio Theodora with a stellar cast (Lisette Oropesa, Joyce DiDonato, Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian, Michael Spyres, John Chest) – also introducing the new vocal ensemble of il pomo d‘oro.
In 2022 il pomo d’oro started a long-term recording project of Mozart-Symphonies and selected solo-concerts with Maxim Emelyanychev conducting. The albums Anima Sacra with Jakub Józef Orliński, and Voglio Cantar with soprano Emöke Barath received the prestigious Opus-Klassik award, and the recording of G.F. Händel’s Serse, conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev, was awarded the Italian ‘Abbiato del Disco’. In 2018, the recording of Alessandro Stradella’s opera La Doriclea, conducted by Andrea di Carlo, recieved the German ‘Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik’. Virtuosissimo with Dmitry Sinkovsky, released in 2019, received a ‘Diapason d’Or’. In 2022, Eden with Joyced DiDonato received a ‘Choc’ from Classica and an ‘Opus Klassik’. Il pomo d’oro is official ambassador of El Sistema Greece, a humanitarian project to provide free musical education to children in Greek refugee camps.
Il pomo d’oro plays charity concerts and offers workshops and music lessons according to the El Sistema method on a frequent regular basis in various refugee camps in Greece. The name of the ensemble il pomo d’oro refers to Antonio Cesti’s opera from the year 1666. Composed to the wedding celebrations of Emperor Leopold I and Margarita Teresa of Spain, Il Pomo d’Oro was probably one of the largest, most expensive and most spectacular opera productions in the still young history of the genre. 24 different stage designs, a horse-ballet of 300 horses, a fireworks display of 73,000 rockets, numerous ‚special effects’- superlatives, which should make the Emperor’s court the highlight of cultural splendor in Europe.
Zefira Valova, concert master
Zefira Valova was born in Sofia where she obtained a Master’s degree at the National Music Academy. From 2009 until 2011 she specialized IN baroque violin at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, having studied with Lucy van Dael.
From 2003 until 2008 she was concertmaster of several orchestras in Bulgaria including The National Youth Orchestra of The Netherlands. She appeared as a soloist with the Academic Symphony Orchestra Sofia, Classic FM Radio Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Orpheus, and Ars Barocca Ensemble – awarded by the Bulgarian National Radio with the prize “Ensemble of 2007”.
Zefira Valova is among the founders of the Sofia Baroque Arts Festival; the only annual event dedicated to early music and historically informed performance in Bulgaria. As a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 2008, working with Roy Goodman, Lars Ulrik Mortensen and Enrico Onofri, she started her experience in the historical performance practice.
She has been concertmaster of Il Pomo d’Oro since 2015, mainly under the direction of Maxim Emelyanychev. Since 2016, she has conducted the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra within their early music series.
Last season she appeared as concertmaster of Il Pomo d’oro performances with Joyce di Donato, Ann Hallenberg, Franco Fagioli, Jakub Orlinski, and Edgar Moreau. She collaborates with Helsinki Baroque Orchestra for wide range of baroque, classical and romantic repertoire.
She has also collaborated with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, La Chambre Phillharmonique, B’Rock, Les Ambassadeurs and others. She appears in chamber music ensembles with pianists Olga Pashchenko, Vasily Ilisavsky, guitarist Izhar Elias and recorder player Erik Bosgraaf.
Zefira Valova was awarded in the competition of the Jumpstart Jr. Foundation, which provided her with a violin Lorenzo & Tomaso Carcassi 1760, Florence.
Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński has established himself as one of the world’s leading artists, triumphing on stage, in concert, and on recording. An exclusive artist on the Warner/Erato label, his first rcording, entitled Anima Sacra, earned him the prestigious Opus Klassik award for Solo Vocal Recording, while his second, Facce d’amore, earned him the Recording (Solo Recital) of the Year at the 2021 International Opera Awards. His sold-out concerts and recitals throughout Europe and the United States have attracted new followers to the art form, and his live performance of Vivaldi’s “Vedrò con mio diletto,” filmed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, has amassed nearly ten million online views. Television appearances, including the “Concert de Paris” at the Eiffel Tower and “Rebâtir Notre Dame de Paris,” both with the Orchestre National de France and Les Victoires de la Musique Classique awards concert accompanied by the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, have been broadcast to millions worldwide. In 2019, he was the subject of a major profile in The New Yorker and featured on the cover of Polish Vogue. His third album – entitled Anima Aeterna, featuring sacred arias and motets from the Baroque era – was released in October 2021 and toured throughout Europe with Il Pomo d’Oro.
In the 2022/23 season, Orliński makes his role debut at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in the title role in Orfeo ed Euridice, under the baton of Thomas Hengelbrock and reprises the role at San Francisco Opera in a new production by Matthew Ozawa. He also sings the roles of Arsamene Serse at Opéra de Rouen under the baton of David Bates and Athamas in a new production of Semele by Claus Guth at Bayerische Staatsoper. On the concert stage, he joins Il Pomo d’Oro, Il Giardino D’Amore and his longtime collaborator, pianist Michał Biel for concerts and recitals across Europe.
In his spare time, Orliński enjoys breakdancing, in addition to other styles of dance.
Concert length: 1 hour and 40 minutes including intermission
FRANCESCO CAVALLI: Sinfonia & Erme e solinghe… Lucidissima face from La Calisto
GIOVANNI ANTONIO BORETTI: Chi scherza con Amor from Eliogabalo
GIOVANNI ANTONIO BORETTI: Sinfonia & Crudo amor non hai pieta from Claudio Cesare
GIOVANNI BATTISTA BONONCINI: Infelice mia costanza from La Costanza non gradita
GIOVANNI BATTISTA BONONCINI: Sinfonia from La Nemica d'Amore fatta amante
FRANCESCO BARTOLOMEO CONTI: Odio, vendetta, amor from Don Chisciotte
LUCA ANTONIO PREDIERI: Dovrian quest’occhi piangere from Scipione i Giovane
The musician and composer Antonio Luca Predieri (1688–1767) came from a well-known family of musicians in Bologna where he became first violinist and alto violinist at the Basilica di San Petronio. His first opera, Partenope (1710), was a success. He subsequently became one of the most famous opera composers of his generation together with Vinci, Pergolesi and Porpora.
In 1737 he moved to Vienna as deputy director of the Hofmusikkapelle, and in 1741 he was appointed director of music, but in his old age he moved back to his native city.
Predieri wrote about thirty operas that were performed in Bologna, elsewhere in Italy and in Vienna. The libretti reflect the first Arcadian opera reform, which was characterized by a more intimate relationship with the text and a broader range of emotional expression.
Structure and meaning were emphasized and placed in a musical context. Perdieri accentuated the text by a frequent use of interesting dynamic shifts within the arias. His music is in many respects influenced by the elegant style of the Bologna school. In Vienna Perdieri moved towards a more polyphonic and less structured score.
The opera Scipione il giovande (The young Scipio), with libretto by Giovanni Francesco Bortolotti, premiered at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice on 19 November 1731. The famous castrato Antonio Bernacchi – who was also one of Handel’s favourites – sang the principal part.
In the third act Scipio sings the emotional aria “Dovrian quest’occhi piangere” (These eyes shall weep): “Never again will I see my beloved’s face, but your faithful love makes me hold back my tears. Behold my fortitude, and tremble, you false deceiver.”
Text: Andreas Konvicka
GEORG FRIEDRICH HÄNDEL: Spera che tra le care gioie from Muzio Scevola
NICOLA MATTEIS: Ballo dei Bagatellieri from Don Chisciotte in Siera Morena
JOHANN ADOLPH HASSE: Sempre a si vaghi rai from Orfeo
The opera Orfeo (1736) by the Neapolitan composer Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) is a “pasticcio”, a series of pieces by several composers, including Vinci, Veracini and Giacomelli, joined together by Porpora who also contributed.
This was common practice in the 18th century. Time was short and it was possible for the members of an ensemble to show off with the arias that suited them best. Orfeus was performed at King’s Theatre Haymarket in London with an outstanding ensemble. It was tailor-made for the famous Italian castrato Farinelli as a kind of “greatest hits”, including some of the best-known arias from his career. To sing the role of Orpheus, classical mythology’s greatest singer, was a prestigious task, and it suited Farinelli who was known for his gripping renditions. One of the foremost sopranos of the Baroque period, Francesca Cuzzoni, sang Eurydice, and Farinelli’s contender Senesino performed the role of Aristeo. With such a star-studded cast success was a given.
Paolo Rolli’s libretto tells the story of Orpheus and Aristeo from the beginning – they are both in love with Eurydice. It is not until the third act the well-known story in the underworld unfolds – and it all ends well with a double wedding.
For a long time it was believed that “Sempre a si vaghi rai” was written by Porpora himself, but it was recently revealed that it was originally composed by Johann Adolf Hasse (1699–1973), and that it was included in one of the operas he wrote in Venice for Farinelli. Most of Hasse’s original music was destroyed in a fire at his home during his lifetime, so we do not know to which opera the aria belongs. Hasse was born in Hamburg and started out as a tenor, but after he began to experience problems with his voice he became highly successful composer.
In ”Sempre a si vaghi rai”, from the second act, Orpheus confesses his love for Eurydice: “My soul will always be faithful to these beautiful eyes. In love you will never find truer soul.
“May all my desires and all my feelings, dearest, fly to where you are. I have no other wish.”
LUCA ANTONIO PREDIERI: Finche salvo e l’amor suo from Scipione i Giovane
Luca Antonio Predieri (1688–1767) was born into a prominent family of musicians in Bologna, where he later worked as a violinist and composer.
After his successful debut as a composer with the opera Partenope (1710), his popularity grew, and he began to receive commissions for operas from across Italy. His reputation eventually reached Vienna, where he moved in 1737. In 1741, he was appointed director of music at the Habsburg court, a position he kept for the following ten years.
When his position at court became less favourable, Predieri returned to Bologna, and spent the rest of his life there.
Predieri was a prolific composer of operas, he wrote about thirty, but he was also known for his sacred music and oratories.
Although he mastered several styles, he mostly based his compositions on his training in the Bologna school of music. The text was important, it had to get through to the listener, so his operas were characterized by carefully composed recitatives. His arias show a remarkable dynamic palette, which prevented the listeners from falling asleep.
The aria “Finche salvo è l’amor suo” (As long as love is certain) is taken from the first act of Scipione il giovane (The young Scipio). The libretto was by Giovanni Francesco Bortolotti, and the opera premiered in Venice in 1731 with the famous castrato Antonio Bernacchi in the principal role. It is hard not to be charmed and infected by the love that fills Scipio when he sings about the way his loved one’s love, even in the fiercest storm, makes him safe and calm.
Text: Andreas Konvicka
GUISEPPE MARIA ORLANDINI & JOHANN MATTHESON:Che m'ami ti prega from Nerone