An Evening in Venice
Opening Concert for Riihimäki Summer Concerts
Helena Juntunen, soprano
Ismo Eskelinen, guitar
Antti Tikkanen, violin and leader
The Republic of Venice, La Serenissima, was a centre of entertainment where style-conscious rich Europeans flocked in the 17th and 18th centuries. The lagoon city was also called the Republic of Music, and not without reason. The Finnish Baroque Orchestra opens Riihimäki Summer Concerts festival with a program dedicated to the music of Venice.
The new music style called Baroque really took off in Venice in the early 17th century, and the first public opera houses were opened there in the 1630s. Early Baroque music is personified by Claudio Monteverdi, whose opera production concentrates all of the genre’s fast stages of development: from small-scale court performances to luscious works of art performed at the glamourous opera houses. Now we are presented with excerpts from Monteverdi’s first and last operas, L'Orfeo and The Coronation of Poppea. After intrigues, passion and unexpected events, The Coronation of Poppea ends with an enchanting love aria, interpreted by Helena Juntunen.
Ospedales, or orphanages for girls, specialised in high-class music education, were distinctive for Venice. Concerts by the legendary girl orchestra of Ospedale della Pietà were social events for the elite. Antonio Vivaldi, who by the 1720s had become an internationally admired star composer, was stationed in Pietà. The reason for his popularity was the completely new style in which he wrote instrumental concertos, virtuosic and spirited works, and he composed hundreds of them for the talented girl students. Vivaldi’s instrument was the violin, for which he composed e.g. the Four Seasons suite which will end this concert. Its narrativity astounded his contemporaries. But Vivaldi was prepared to bring close to any instrument into the spotlight of a concerto. In addition to the violin, we will also hear the guitar, when Ismo Eskelinen takes on concerto parts originally written for the lute.
Duration: 1 h 45 min (incl. intermission)