Early Music Festival Program No. 4

 

El

Mundo – Zarzuela y masI

Indiana

History Center; July 11

4

stars

El

Mundo, a group gathering from diverse points on the U.S. map, joined for

Spanish vocal music of the 17th and 18th centuries. These ten performers, led by Richard

Savino, devoted their entire second half to a "zarzuela," a Spanish variant of

Italian opera, in which singers, players and a narrator intermingle in a plot

with characters and a drama — this one entitled Salir el amor del

mundo

(1696) by Sebastian Duron. Like many 17th-century operas, this one draws on mythology and

deals with the story of the ill-fated Cupid and his antagonist Diana. It

features such other-worldly characters as Apollo, Mars and Jupiter, who aid

Diana in her quest to banish Cupid. Duron's music is rich in middle-Baroque

structure, with three violins, cello, guitar, harpsichord and percussion

— the latter consisting of a small drum and castanets — as featured

instruments. Dominating these were three lovely voices, singing together,

separately and as twosomes. Soprano Nell Snaidas returned to the Early Music

Festival from two weeks ago — once again to dominate the singing with her

rich but beautifully controlled delivery — far above that of her

colleagues, who otherwise would be viewed as excellent Baroque singers. The

first half offered a potpourri of songs and instrumental pieces, with Snaidas

singing "Ojos pues me desdenais" by long-lived José Marin (1619-1699). The best

instrumental piece was a Sonata in D by Domenico Scarlatti, well played by

harpsichordist Avi Stein. It doesn't matter which one; a Scarlatti sonata

always wins out in this company of composers.

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