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Roberta Invernizzi, two lutes, one viola da gamba and beguiling canzoni (Wigmore Hall, 19 November 2018)

I love these one shot (no interval) lunchtime Wiggy concerts! It’s usually pensioners and music students – and people who eat music on rye for lunch ūüėČ I try to get the day off for them, because otherwise they are really inconvenient for anyone working shifts but sometimes needs must include good ole’ skiving ūüėČ Put yourself in my place: 17th century love songs vs. Monday1 at work. I don’t care how much you love your job, music should win or you’re reading the wrong blog.

Anyway, I was only 1 1/2hrs late, so I’m keeping my respectability, especially after looking like I saved the day from a short on staff afternoon! Baroque heroes, you’ve got nothing on me.

Roberta Invernizzi soprano
Rodney Prada viola da gamba
Craig Marchitelli lute
Franco Pavan lute

Giulio Caccini: Dolcissimo sospiro; Dalla porta d’oriente

Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger: Passacaglia

Claudio Monteverdi: Ecco di dolci raggi; Disprezzata Regina from L’incoronazione di Poppea

Orazio Bassani: Toccata per B quadro

Girolamo Frescobaldi: Canzone a basso solo

Tarquinio Merula: Folle è ben che si crede

Luigi Rossi: La bella pi√Ļ bella

Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger: Arpeggiata

Sigismondo D’India: Intenerite voi, lagrime mie; Cruda Amarilli

Claudio Monteverdi: Si dolce √®’l tormento; Voglio di vita uscir

Encore:

Giulio Caccini: Amarilli, mia bella from Le nuove musiche

It’s been a couple of weeks or so from Lemieux with nothing – nothing! The upside is you really appreciate the musicians’ efforts after a drought. As soon as Invernizzi spun out the very first trill I was all how I wish I could do that! And when the lutes kicked in I thought this is it, I was born to listen to this ūüėČ I also, quite unusually, had a seat at the front of the venue, which, with Invernizzi works well as you get all sorts of nice dynamic transitions. This is the kind of concert where there is so little time, you need to be on from the moment you step on stage.

I really enjoyed her in this rep – probably my favourite performance from her. She has the style down pat and she didn’t either force or hold back, she was completely at home. As usual I liked the jaunty songs best (Dalla porta d’oriente has the same tune as Vi ricorda o boschi ombrosi) but Disprezzata regina by a soprano wasn’t a bad idea at all. It was a lot less stark and brutal than the recent one from Salzburg (it seemed like 2 lutes made a lot more noise than Christie’s entire band) but her tone and her investment worked nicely indeed. Voglio di vita uscir, a favourite of Baroque recitalists, with that playful start that¬†belies its glum title, was, unsurprisingly, giddier than usual.

All in all, this is exactly my idea of a Monday lunchtime concert – content and presentation. I don’t know that I have words for how emotionally close I feel to this stuff. Might as well sneak in another Venice picture, though not everything above comes from Venice.

remember what I said about nighttime walks in Venice?


  1. Mondays and Wednesdays are the busiest for us. 
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Lively Invernizzi on BBC 3 Lunchtime Concert

What better way to start the week than a¬†mini-performance of¬†17th century songs? Luckily, BBC3 agrees and you can too sample Invernizzi and friends’ delightful¬†one hour show from earlier today.

Roberta Invernizzi, the softer version (Wigmore Hall, 20 October 2017)

Invernizzi and Co. decided to run this show without an intermission which I thought would suit most, as we’d all make it home sooner rather than later (in my case I had an early shift to wake up to). But people are odd – even though we got to the end 20-30min sooner, people still got up to leave before the encores. Where are people rushing to?

Roberta Invernizzi soprano
Accademia Hermans
Fabio Ciofini conductor/harpsichord

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Scherza in mar la navicella Lotario HWV26
Ah, mio cor Alcina HWV34
Traditore, traditore Berenice HWV38
Trio Sonata No. 6 in G minor HWV391 Op. 2
Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV17:
Tu la mia stella sei
Piangerò la sorte mia
Sinfonia bellica
Da tempeste il legno infranto
Che sento? Oh dio! Morrà Cleopatra ancora
Se pietà di me non senti

Encore:

Lascia ch’io pianga Rinaldo
Da tempeste (reprise)

Invernizzi interestingly started with the light hearted aria about the boat, the one I discovered with Karina Gauvin earlier in the year. Considering they sang some of the same material, it was interesting to compare the results. There is a tendency to sacrifice the first aria whilst getting your voice in gear. I couldn’t say Invernizzi needed a lot of tuning in but I had more fun with Gauvin’s version, which came at the end of the first half.

Ah, mio cor, on the other hand, was less dramatic in Gauvin’s interpretation. With Invernizzi this was the moment I perked up and started to imagine her singing the whole role. Now, interestingly, if you listen to each of their ‘navicella (Invernizzi | Gauvin) you might get the opposite impression (that Gauvin, with her denser voice, would be better suited for¬†Ah, mio cor). I did think Invernizzi’s voice was a bit light for Alcina but somehow she fleshed Ah, mio cor into the compelling moment it should be. These days she seems less interested in technical dazzling.

Baroque Bird commented that Accademia Hermans managed to pick the most boring Trio Sonata Handel had ever written ūüėČ Well, it wasn’t particularly interesting. We spent some time during the intermission (what? I mean after the show…) trying to remember if it had 3 or 4 parts. I thought there were four (slow/fast/slow/fast) with the third particularly boring, or perhaps it just came out unfocused, but the last fast one not too bad. I didn’t have too much issue with the band this time and will admit to using a bit of time conducting scientific research started at TADW a couple of days before (subject: cellists and toned upper arms).

Baroque Bird thought they didn’t feel very comfortable with Da tempeste. I, on the other hand, was very comfortable with it and I was quite pleased to hear it 1 1/2 times more in the past week. After much whinging, Cleopatra’s ship makes it into the port of Good Times and the audience (your truly) cracks a smile. What more can one want, indeed. Well, perhaps the whole aria encored ūüėČ It’s really too bad Cleo doesn’t have more arias along those lines (Da tempeste is a good conversation starter regarding Cesare. It’s normally the one that comes up as my favourite – right before I think “wait, how about¬†Se in fiorito1? Svegliatevi nel core? Quel torrente? L’aure che spira?” – after which I remember it’s a pretty good set).

Now that I was forced to hear Piangerò la sorte mia twice as much as I normally would like in any given week, I have discovered I rather enjoy the play with harmony Handel does later in the piece.

The last time I saw Invernizzi was almost a year back in a joint concert with Prina. On paper it looked great, in the house I felt like Prina outshined her somehow or, for some reason, things came off very quiet instead of the fiery interaction I’d envisioned. This time it occurred to me that her manner of singing reminds me of Galou (the way I hear it, they’re both “abstract” singers) so perhaps pairing them would work better (for me).

My favourite Invernizzi “trick” is the way she can stop the sound short without giving you aural whiplash in the process. It’s like turning off the ignition when the car is starting to roll down the hill. Hallenberg and other light voiced Baroque specialists also do a variation of this but Invernizzi uses it very particularly and both for musical and dramatic purposes at the same time. It helps her “turn direction” unexpectedly.

So a tad less showy, more introspective Invernizzi? Why not…


  1. yes, I know, I’m a sucker for arias about coy little birds… especially when sung by contraltos. There is an English version too:¬†Fleet o’er Flowery meadow glinding. How’s that for a tongue twister? 

Intensely intimate Prina and Invernizzi (Wigmore Hall, 29 December 2016)

This recital has a bit of back story. The dynamic¬†duo was booked for 3 January 2015 in support of their Amore e morte dell’amore CD¬†but apparently the both of them succumbed to the English weather. Its next proposed incarnation was to take place on 28 June 2016, as a threeway recital with Karina Gauvin. That didn’t quite work out either, though you could¬†hardly say Prina’s Gluck programme was a letdown. Finally, here we are, in spite of very low (for London) temperatures due to freezing fog (mesmerisingly sparkly under streetlights).

Sonia Prina contralto
Roberta Invernizzi soprano
Luca Pianca director, lute
Vittorio Ghielmi viola da gamba
Margret Köll harp

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Vorrei baciarti
Ohimè, dov’è il mio ben, dov’è il mio core?

Giovanni Kapsberger (c.1580-1651)
Toccata seconda arpeggiata

Claudio Monteverdi
Interrotte speranze

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
Aria detta la Frescobalda

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Sono liete, fortunate HWV194

Interval

Antonio Lotti (1666-1740)
Poss’io morir Op. 1 No. 7

Francesco Durante (1684-1755)
Son io, barbara donna

Antoine Forqueray (1671-1745)
La Girouette
Le Carillon de Passy
La Leclair

George Frideric Handel
Tanti strali al sen mi scocchi HWV197

Encore:

Wigmore Hall is still in Christmas garb, its foyer sporting a beautiful tree decorated in red and green and floral arrangements with red baubles and red pine cones and bows in the hall. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful.

Prina and Invernizzi were first joined on stage by Pianca on lute and Köll on harp and between them did a very lively rendition of Vorrei baciarti. The slender accompaniment was beneficial in that I focused almost completely on the ideal mix of voices which had me basking in the simple joy of sound.

Interestingly, I overheard someone comment at the intermission that she enjoyed the music a lot but was a bit unsure about the singing. I for one can tell you even less than usual about the orchestral side, which mostly kept to a supporting role. I do remember once thinking (during Sono liete, fortunate?) the viola da gamba had a nice organ feel to it. The orchestral pieces didn’t make much of an impression on me, in fact La Leclair had me on the verge of dozing off. But that might just be me, what with the lack of woodwinds.

Sono liete, fortunate was a tour de force, when I marvelled at “the noise” two singers could make, what with both of them constantly switching between singing harmony and melody. We’re talking about two very energetic singers, though they toned down their more flamboyant tendencies and focused on supporting each other towards a robust merged sound. It wasn’t just their tones matching, their exchanges were always spot on.¬†Instead of her often belligerent top, Invernizzi made more use of her middle¬†which is warm and pleasant, though not as memorable as Prina’s tone. The softer pieces saw some of those disarming slides to piano Prina uses when you least expect. I remember thinking about one such soft exchange that it felt like squirrel hair¬†watercolour¬†brushes against the skin.¬†Tanti strali saw them once again weave sparkling lines of elaborate coloratura around each other.

The encore made for a¬†natural ending to a show that mixed liveliness with breathless seduction. Now I really want to hear Prina as Nerone. On the other hand, we’re only a few months away from the Barbican Ariodante.

Things have a tendency of reoccurring Р30 December 2013 was the date I first visited Wigmore Hall for a Prina recital I booked at the last minute to wrap up a good opera year in style. This time it was quieter and smaller scale than usual even at Wigmore Hall; it infused me with contentment, which is quite unusual to find outside oneself these days.

New updates to the Stutzmann Wigmore show and miscelaneous

Thought I’d point out that I made some updates to that unusually scatterbrained entry ūüėČ This blog is testimony that I’m not quite as lacking in discipline as it sometimes feels like… [ / end navel gazing, though we could have some naval gazing to go with that post ].

Out of that long list of Autumn 2016 at Wigmore Hall I posted a while ago I managed to secure the following:

02/10 Stutzmann + Orfeo 55
05/10 A. Bonitatibus
05/11 Röschmann
20/11 Pisaroni
24/11 Stuart Jackson/Marcus Farnsworth
28/11 La Calisto
29/12 Prina and Invernizzi

But before all that there’s a return to the Proms (deities help us with the acoustics) with a concert performance of that badass 20th century 1 act opera:

03/08 Bluebeard’s Castle (Ildik√≥ Koml√≥si and John Relyea)

…and who knows how the shaky¬†state of events will impinge on my concert going afterwards (I know, first world problems; the (not so U)K is still part of¬†the first world… for now).

Even so, looking at the ROH shows coming up on General Sale in a fortnight, there is Cosi¬†which I will have to wing somehow (though I have no idea about Corinne Winters ? I hope¬†Bychkov can keep it light) and this curious Norma. I don’t know what to say. Isn’t Yoncheva a bit young for Norma? Fura del Baus, though, sounds like might do something with this very difficult to stage opera. Then there’s Hoffmann

Forte and piano with Roberta Invernizzi (Wigmore Hall, 21 July 2015)

Roberta Invernizzi soprano
Fabio Bonizzoni harpsichord | La Risonanza strings

Yesterday I had an vivacious¬†evening at Wigmore Hall with Leander and friends: deconstructing the Aix-en-Provence Alcina¬†over¬†fruit tarte, singing praises to Roschmann’s Mozart and wondering if an oboe or a flute wouldn’t have made La Risonanza’s sound more varied. As it was we had to contend with strings (the plucking was¬†very welcome) and harpsichord (which I enjoyed a lot in the jaunty Rete, lacci e strali adopra).

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Da due venti from Ercole su’l Termodonte RV710
Ombre vane, ingiusti orrori from Griselda RV718
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Overture from Rodrigo HWV 5
Antonio Vivaldi
Se mai senti spirarti sul volto from Catone in Utica RV705
Rete, lacci e strali adopra from Dorilla in Tempe RV709

INTERVAL

George Frideric Handel
Piangerò la sorte mia from Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV17
Antonio Vivaldi
Sinfonia from Dorilla in Tempe RV709
George Frideric Handel
Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro from Rodelinda HWV19
Da tempeste il legno infranto from Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV17

ENCORE

Antonio Vivaldi
Leggi almeno, tiranna infedele from Ottone in villa
Armatae face, et anguibus from Juditha triumphans

I came across Invernizzi via the last encore presented here and in a slighty roundabout way. If I’m not mistaken, thadieu pointed to her interpretation as an example of the¬†wrong way of doing this aria¬†ūüėČ I’m as curious about rubbish as I am about gold, so I clicked. Surprise! I was in favour of¬†what I heard: scenery chewing of the take no prisoners¬†kind.

I immediately liked her very personal way of singing¬†the bravura arias. The way she negotiates coloratura feels very abstract. The forte and the piano both come out very strongly to the point where you don’t feel that much in between. But the forte and the piano are balanced in such an exquisite way that the effect is powerful and deliberate. Though succint, the characterisation is energetic and¬†unequivocal, leaving little doubt as to the mood of the character.

As soon as the first aria ended I thought she would cope rather well with Armida’s Furie terribili.¬†Technically she sounds very good, with fearless leaps of great precision that not even once caused her any trouble. But later something else emerged. If the¬†top¬†is built more on power than on beauty, the¬†lower end has an unexpected warmth¬†that made¬†Caio’s¬†Leggi, almeno unexpectedly seductive in ways I tend to associate with mezzos rather than sopranos.

Invernizzi is due back at Wigmore Hall next June with ladies Prina and Gauvin, which has the potential of a very exciting show.

2015 Wigmore Hall and Barbican tickets on general sale now

Go get yours (Wigmore Hall and Barbican). I started with booking for ladies Roschmann+Uchida (twice!), Mingardo and Invernizzi, all at Wigmore Hall in May-July then¬†St Matthew Passion¬†(at Easter) and Il ritorno d’Ulisse¬†(the end of September) at the Barbican.

Recent misses

There are times when¬†you miss something¬†and discover it was great only after you read a review. Stile Antico sang this at Wigmore Hall on December 31¬†and I missed it. I’m not exactly gutted as I did not know about it or about Stile Antico before but it’s a gorgeous piece and it must be wonderful hearing it live along with the rest of the Mass.

Invernizzi and Prina – 3 January, Wigmore Hall = MIA

What are the odds? Wigmore Hall says both ladies were ill so nada show this Saturday. I was really looking forward to an evening of Baroque love duets but what can you do? Shit happens. Some other time, hopefully soon.

The new year is upon us

Almost. I visited Wigmore Hall’s site and Spring dates have been popping up. I got Prina and Invernizzi tickets for 3 January since I managed to miss them when they were last there earlier this year. Not sure why, as I love Prina. She’s got such a wonderful tone and playful personality.

I also spotted a Jessica Pratt recital and jumped at the chance. I have greatly enjoyed her in Rossini. Why she’s not already singing all the bel canto roles in the big houses is beside me.

But I think I should shell out for Gerald Finley and Marie-Nicole Lemieux as well…