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The 18th Earlymusic Festival in St. Petersburg
August 13, 2015 10:01

The 18th Earlymusic Festival of medieval music will be held in St. Petersburg from September 20 to October 8, 2015.

The main idea of the medieval music festival this year is to introduce general  public to our heritage of the richest, but little known to us culture of St. Petersburg of the 18th century: baroque court opera, ballet and theater of the period from the reign of Alexey Mikhaylovich to Elizabeth of Russia. The festival concerts will give listeners a wonderful opportunity to listen to these forgotten masterpieces, as well as European music stars of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Baroque. In addition to it, visitors will observe a competition in playing the mugham on the Azerbaijani and Persian tar and get acquainted with the ancient Korean music storytelling genre of Pansori.

The major festival event will be the stage production of the comic opera  Gore-Bogatyr Kosometovich (The Unfortunate Hero Kosometovich) written by Catherine II, the Empress of All Russia (1762-1796) and set to music by the Spanish composer  Vicente Martin y Soler.

The Empress of Russia was a great fan of opera and authored librettos for five operas, namely The Novgorod Hero Boyeslayevich composed by  Yevstigney Fomin, The Unfortunate Hero Kosometovich, the dramatic fairy tale Fevey set to music by Vasily Pashkevich, Fedul and his Children co-composed by Vasily Pashkevich and Vicente Martin y Soler, and the historical drama The Early Reign of Oleg composed by  Giuseppe Sarti jointly with Vasily Pashkevich and Milanese musician C. Cannobio.

The opera The Unfortunate Hero Kosometovich premiered at the Hermitage Theater on January 20, 1789. It was based on the same-name fairy tale written earlier by the Empress as a parody on her cousin Gustav III, King of Sweden. The opera gained enormous popularity and even Great Princes Alexander and Konstantin learned it by heart.

Musicians of the contemporary ensemble Soloists of Catherine the Great decided to restore the opera. For this purpose master classes in baroque gesture, baroque singing, baroque ballet and phonetics of Russian will be conducted. Among the teachers there will be Andrey Reshetin (Russian historical phonetics), Danila Vedernikov (baroque gesture) and Klaus Abromeit  (baroque dances) from Germany.

The modern presentation of the opera The Unfortunate Hero Kosometovich will take in the Hermitage (where it premiered 290 years ago) on October 4, and in the Chapel of St. Petersburg on October 5 and 8.

On September 20 the Earlymusic Festival will kick off in Gatchina, the opening ceremony dated to the 30th anniversary since foundation of the Gatchina Museum. This day will see the premiere of the Baroque Theatre by Danila Vedernikov, who will present to public the authentic performance of Russian baroque poetry of the 17th - 18th centuries. The celebrated British countertenor Michael Chance will sing songs of the same era. On the same day the Angiolini Baroque Ballet headed by Klaus Abromeit will perform.

On September 21 the Italian ensemble Mala Punica will show Codex Faenca program in the Chapel of St. Petersburg. Its art director Pedro Memelsdorff is one of the world's leading experts in performing music of the late Middle Ages.

September 24 will be dedicated to playing mugham music in the Sheremetev Palace.

October 1 will see performance of the viola da gamba duet – Paolo Pandolfo and Amelie Chemin from Italy.

On October 2 the notable Austrian opera singer Max Emmanuel Chenchich, the countertenor will perform Rococo program in the Chapel.

On October 6 the traditional Korean music storytelling genre of Pansory will be presented in the Derzhavin Museum.

The festival will be crowned with premiere of the restored medieval opera Unfortunate Hero Kosometovich on October 4, 5 and 8.

Traditionally, the festival concerts will be accompanied with lectures and presentations of books on the Baroque culture.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Early Music Festival Music Festivals Concerts in Saint Petersburg Medieval Music Russian Opera 

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