From 31 August to 25 September 2022, the Festival Barocco Alessandro Stradella returns to Viterbo. The almost 4-week festival will cast a musical panorama on the magnificent Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola and the towns of Viterbo, Ronciglione, Nepi, Montepulciano, Castel Sant’Elia, Civitella D’Agliano and Celleno.
Alessandro Stradella (Bologna, 1643; Genoa, 1682) is without doubt one of the greatest Italian composers of his generation. However, the adventurous and roguish existence of this “Caravaggio of music” has, since the 18th century, led to novels and music operas that invoked the cliché of the accursed genius. Thus his role as a champion of 17th-century music and as a contrasting and subtle composer was eclipsed.
In fact, as Andrea De Carlo, the artistic director of the festival recalls: “Stradella had a contrapuntal culture worthy of a Flemish composer, and a rhythmic complexity close to that of a composer from the Middle Ages”.
The festival will open on 31 August in the courtyard of Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola with Stradella’s last opera MORO PER AMORE. He completed it shortly before his murder in the Piazza dei Banchi in Genoa, but it was never performed at the time. The performance features the sopranos Silvia Frigato, Federico Fiorio and Margareta Slepakova, the countertenor Danilo Pastore and the contralto Eleonora Filipponi, the tenor Matteo Straffi and the bass Masashi Tomosugi. They will be accompanied by Ensemble Mare Nostrum conducted by Andrea De Carlo.
With the rediscovery of MORO PER AMORE, Ensemble Mare Nostrum continues its series of recordings of Stradella’s works. The award-winning and critically acclaimed releases are considered the reference for the interpretation of the influential and successful baroque composer. The most recently released album in the series with the opera AMARE E FINGERE was already the seventh.
Also in 2022, the festival will focus on the composers from the region in the project MUSICISTI DELLA TUSCIA: PASSATO E PRESENTE in two programme focuses. In MASSENZIO 2035, young international talents from the Stradella Y(oung) Project aim to perform the complete works of the composer Domenico Massenzio (1585–1657) from Ronciglione. In addition to repeating the programmes from previous years, there will also be a completely new programme with numerous rediscoveries as part of a captivating Massenzio weekend from 9 to 11 September. The second programme is L’INCONTRO IMPOSSIBILE: FRANCESCO SORIANO E ERCOLE BERNABEI 1621/1622: the ensemble Il Setaccio Musicale conducted by Gino Nappo and Stefano Silvi will discover the musical treasures of the region. The event will take place on Saturday 24 September in the church of San Sebastiano in Ronciglione and on Sunday 25 September in the church of S. M. Nuova in Viterbo.
In keeping with Stradella’s modernity, the festival also opens an intense and original dialogue between musical tradition and contemporary language: on Sunday 4 September, Daniele Roccato and Giorgio Piermatti on double bass will explore the relationship between the ancient and the contemporary with the new programme Scordatura in the church of San Sebastiano in Ronciglione. On 17 September, pianist Enrico Pieranunzi continues this search with Conversation with myself in Viterbo, in the church of S. M. Nuova.
Following last year’s success, on Sunday 18 September the Chiesa S.M. Nuova in Viterbo will host the ancient and exotic sounds of the Turkish ensemble IZMIR BAROK with Musiche del palazzo d’Istanbul and Cantigas Sefarditas.
Also in the Church of S.M. Nuova, for the first time at the Festival Barocco Alessandro Stradella, the renowned ensemble MICROLOGUS will present the programme Alla Festa Leggiadra: Ballate, Madrigali e Danze all’epoca del Decameron di Boccaccio with singer Patrizia Bovi on Friday 23 September. At the same venue, on Saturday 24 September, (Ri)Cercando il canto: ricercari e canzoni intavolate di A. Antico, M. A. Cavazzoni, A. Valente, C. Merulo, G. Frescobaldi, with the internationally renowned Chilean specialist in historical keyboard instruments Catalina Vicens will take place.
The festival is supported by the prestigious honorary chairmanship of Anna Fendi and realised in collaboration with the MIC, the Lazio Region, the Lazio Regional Museums Directorate, the municipalities involved, and the CARIVIT Foundation of Viterbo.