We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Sarah Pillow, Mary Anne Ballard, Ronn McFarlane
In a season with all hits and no misses, Salon Sanctuary Concerts has presented another stimulating evening that was both entertaining and educational.  In her choice of the library of the Fabbri mansion off Fifth Avenue, Founder and Artistic Director Jessica Gould wisely set the stage for immersion in the world of Renaissance Italy.  The library dates back to that era and was dismantled and shipped to New York in 1915 and reassembled in that very same room.

The theme of the concert was the interface between science and art--more particularly between astronomy and music, all within an historical context.  Narrator Dava Sobel, best known as a journalist and author, spoke about Galileo Galilei, his father and his daughters particularly in connection with the cosmology of that epoch.

Accompanied by Mary Anne Ballard on the viola da gamba and Ronn McFarlane on lute, soprano Sarah Pillow sang some gorgeous songs by Francesco Cavalli, , Barbara Strozzi, Bartolomeo Tromboncino, Giulio Caccini, Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana, Henry Purcell and our favorite Claudio Monteverdi whose Lamento d'Arianna was heartbreakingly beautiful.  Readers who are singers will readily recognize the composers whose works appear in many anthologies.  Ms. Pillow sang with vibrancy and an enviable variety of color, tempo and dynamics, making each song touching to the heart.

Instrumental music allowed the two string players to shine with the six-string viola da gamba (cousin to the cello) taking the bass line and the fascinating lute playing the melody.  Merely reciting the names of the composers would make one feel like a bard.

Video artist Marc Wagnon provided the projections from space, some taken from the Hubble Heritage Project, some from NASA.  Indeed the program opened with a film of an astronaut on the moon testing Newton's theory of the speed of falling objects.  And the evening ended out on the street with audience members invited to look into a telescope at Jupiter which performed right on cue, including several of its moons!

We left feeling entertained, enlightened and educated.  Not to mention eager for more programs of such quality.  We enjoyed the celestial harmonies spoken of by Plato and we heard the music of the spheres.

© meche kroop

No comments:

Post a Comment