Artists: Nadine Balbeisi, Ellen Torrie and Myriam Leblanc, sopranos; Atalante, directed by Erin Headley; Lucas Harris, theorbo (chitarrone); Antoine Malette-Chénier, triple harp; Christina Hutten, harpsichord
Milton in Love paints a portrait of the English poet John Milton’s sojourn through Rome where he fraternized with the Illuminati, attended opera and oratorios, and became enamored with the singing of soprano Leonora Baroni. The laments display the sensuality, ecstasy, and eroticism of early Baroque Rome, and the performances by Erin Headley and her ensemble are sure to surprise and delight audiences as well.
“Having discovered a rare and mysterious manuscript in the Vatican Library in 1975, my life changed forever! The music was a 17th-century Roman oratorio, ‘Cain and Abel’. Near the end of the work was the lament of Cain accompanied by an instrument called the ‘lira’ (or lyre). The music was both sublime and haunting, and after some investigation I learned that ‘lira’ was the ‘lirone’ (large lyre). Following my research abroad on its history, culture and repertoire, then learning to play it and sharing its repertoire through performances and recordings, I decided to create a multi-media concert around the story of John Milton, who found Rome to be the pinnacle of his Grand Tour of Europe in 1638/9. Besides attending poetic academies, and meeting the city’s most learned men and the cardinals of the Barberini court, he was invited to attend a private concert of three singing ladies, a mother and two daughters who accompanied themselves on the viola da gamba, theorbo, triple harp, Spanish guitar and the lirone! One daughter, Leonora was such a huge sensation in Rome for her singing, poetry, grace, beauty and intelligence, that even Milton, the Puritan was under her spell. Milton in Love is really the culmination of my privileged and fulfilling life with Italian music, and I look forward to sharing these ravishing treasures with Vancouver.” – Erin Headley, music director Atalante
Together with a chitarrone, triple harp, baroque guitar, lirone and viola da gamba, the ensemble supports a trio of female voices who bring to life a multimedia programme of ultra-expressive laments.
This concert is generously sponsored in loving memory of Ralph and Therese Spitzer