A note from our Artistic Director Emeritus ♫
Il Festino nella sera del giovedi grasso avanti cena (The Feast on the Evening of Fat Thursday Supper) was published in Venice in 1608. As was customary for the time, the music by composer Adriano Banchieri was distributed in five part books — separately bound music — for Canto, Canto II, Alto, Tenore and Basso. It became one of the most famous madrigal comedies, a genre popular from the end of the 16th century into the 1630s. The light-hearted music is a series of short madrigals that provide a sequence of cameos, with bawdy jokes, wisecracks, diversions, yearnings of love, exuberant jollities of drinking scenes and animal vocalizations. It promises music “for all those who want sport and pleasure for a while.” It was purely for entertainment, likely performed with much hilarity around the dinner table in the last days of Carnival.
I planned several years ago to have Seicento perform Il Festino in 2018, and I am thrilled to be returning to conduct the ensemble for this concert of Mad Madrigals. Our Artistic Director Kevin Padworski took leave of absence this spring, and while I am sorry for his temporary departure, I am grateful for the opportunity. Amanda Balestreri (Seicento’s talented Associate Artistic Director for this concert and frequent soprano soloist) and I are sharing responsibilities to prepare the ensemble for an evening of the delightful Banchieri in a program that is not so much full of madness as it is silliness: the sensuous, sexy (and for the time, racy) music of Italian and English madrigalists of the late 16th century and early baroque.
As we sing in Il Festino:
Chi brama havere Spasso e piacere Per un tantino, Resti al Festino!
“To all those who crave fun and pleasure for a while, join us at the party!”