Apollo e Dafne
Guest in the HPO Concert Series
Silvia Frigato, soprano
Gyula Orendt, baritone
Georg Kallweit, violin and leader
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
The Finnish Baroque Orchestra visits Helsinki Music Centre as a part of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s program, which in the season of 2019–2020 concentrates on Italy, the most monumental of the music countries. FiBO and violinist and leader Georg Kallweit bring a basketful of delicious Italian Baroque and the country’s rich cultural heritage, and the concert is topped off with the radiant Baroque interpreters Silvia Frigato and Gyula Orendt.
The great Antique myths have attracted artists from centuries to another, and their timeless appeal has been especially strong in Italy. The young cosmopolite Georg Friedrich Händel enthralled the art-loving Italian aristocrats with his mythology-inspired cantatas. One of these is the splendid Apollo e Dafne, which we will hear today. Händel began composing it in Venice, and he finished the piece once he had returned to Germany. The cantata tells one of the most iconic metamorphosis stories of the Antique: in order to escape Apollo’s advances, the nymph Daphne transforms herself into a laurel tree, and the regretful sun god takes a wreath of laurel leaves to commemorate her.
But it is not always necessary to have singers embody mythical characters. Pietro Locatelli composed a concerto grosso in which the whimpering violin takes on the role of Ariadne, the anguished heroine abandoned on the island of Naxos. The most characteristic instrument in Italian Baroque is the violin, and Locatelli, also known as “The Earthquake”, mastered it exceedingly well. Composer diva Francesco Maria Veracini, who made a career in the court of Dresden, was also a violin genius. But it is still Händel who rises above the other composers in tonight’s program. Händel was born in Germany, he grew to be a master of drama during his wayfaring years in Italy, and he developed the Italian style opera to perfection in London – a good example of the Baroque internationalisation. The concert begins with excerpts from Händel’s operas Alcina and Ariodante, which are both based on the Italian Renaissance writer Ludovico Ariosto’s meandering and remarkably popular epic of the knight Orlando Furioso, or Raging Roland.
Duration: 2 h (incl. intermission)