Just had a wonderful experience playing with Maria Pia de Vito at Teatro San Carlo in Naples.
An incredible building, its Europe’s oldest opera house, built in 1737. Its not everyday that you play at a venue where Mozart and Beethoven also performed!
We had 2 days rehearsal and 2 concerts…the programme included an opening set of our own arrangements of late renaissance music and then a performance of a one act opera “Diario Dell ‘Assassinata” by Gino Negri. Written in the 70’s there was no piano in the original score, but they very kindly allowed me to improvise my own part! The plot describes the infamous scandal of the murder of Maria D’avalos and her lover, by husband Carlo Gesualdo in 1590. Carlo Gesualdo, of course, was one of the most important madrigalists of the time; with an advanced chromatic style that seemed way ahead of its time. I’m not sure how sucessful the Negri piece was, but fantastic to be involved in such an intensely Neapolitan experience. Just the night before, walking back to the hotel, we passed a dimly lit building undergoing refurbishment…it was Palazzo D’avalos-residence of Maria D’avalos!
Hugely enjoyable (and challenging) to work on the other material too. Music by Benedetto Ferrari, Cipriano de Rore, Dowland and an amazing piece by Sigismundo d’India “odi qeul rossignolo”. A vocal tour de force, it uses a literal approach to describing the song of the nightingale, to which we added our own textures and improv! Look forward to maybe recording some of this repertoire soon…