On a windy Sunday evening last night @laputis and I went to see Baroque opera performance at the Palace of Grand Dukes here in Vilnius. This event was part of the Early Music Festival "Banquetto Musicale". We like going to the concerts of this festival whenever we can because we can be sure we will not be disappointed. This time was not an exception.
It was comical opera "Pimpinone" by the German Baroque composer George Philipp Telemann (1681–1767). The artistic director of the performance was Alina Rotaru (Germany/Lithuania).
@laputis and I arrived some 20 minutes earlier and were greeted by the director Claudio Levati (Spain) who was also playing bellboy part. We were introduced to Mr Levati's comedic powers a year ago at this festival so when he asked us to take a ticket to the audition, we understood that it's part of the show. Sure enough, these tickets were numbered and they served as an audition to the 3 openings at the hotel - among them the theorbo player and a maid.
The fun started when the real theorbo player came up from the audience and applied for the position. Mr Levati asked him if he knows how to play the instrument and wondered if he better ask for some CV...
Then they were looking for a maid and Julia Kirchner, a soprano from Germany came forward. That's how the show started. It was a set up as a mid 20th century Italian hotel, I would guess. So we witnessed two shows in one - about the life in a hotel where Mr Levati was at the center and about this operatic story.
This story is about promiscuous young lady Vespetta who comes to work for the rich man Pimpinone. She manipulates him into giving her small fortune and subsequently marrying her. And she not only becomes a wife but she can do whatever she wants and go wherever and whenever she pleases. Pimpinone is so much in love with Vespetta (little wasp in Italian) that he doesn't understand what's going on until it's too late.
I think it's a perfectly believable situation even in today's day and age in many families. Here the woman is shown who is manipulating but could be the other way around too.
To make a long story short - it was really delightful evening - fun to watch and to listen to. The music was very skillfully composed - no one should doubt the mastery of Telemann. And musical performance was exceptional, despite the fact that only two singers sang for two hours almost non-stop. Both Vespetta's and Pimpinone's parts involved lots of instrumental-sounding flourishes and diminutions which are very hard to sing. On top of that, in one aria Pimpinone had to perform in falsetto using his head register, imitating Vespetta's voice. Exceedingly difficult for a bass-baritone.
Pimpinone's part was played by Carsten Krüger from Germany and the instrumental ensemble consisted of 7 musicians - Stefano Rossi, violin (Italy), Laura Šarova, violin (Latvia), Gediminas Dačinskas, viola, Darius Stabinskas, cello, Jānis Stafeckis, double bass (Latvia), Fernando Olivas, theorbo (Mexico/Germany) and Alina Rotaru, harpsichord.
After the opera I felt like after a good sitcom movie in the theater. @laputis and I had many chuckles when reading German/Italian text translations as well as following the action on the stage.
When we were ready to go home, @laputis and I took some photos which allowed us to look like 16th century royalty.
This week we will be getting ready for our own duet recital but next week we will be planning to come back to more "Banchetto Musicale" events.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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