Friday, December 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Empyrean Ensemble to present music by Monteverdi plus a modern setting by Ortiz

By
From page A11 | April 19, 2013 |

Check it out

What: Empyrean Ensemble presenting Monteverdi and Pablo Ortiz’s ‘Parodia’

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Ticket: $20 general, $8 students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

The Empyrean Ensemble will present two works featuring largely the same text — one composed in Italy during the early 1600s, the other composed in Argentina in modern times — at a concert in the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Presenting music that is nearly 400 years old is a bit of a departure for the Empyrean Ensemble, which ordinarily focuses on music composed in the last decade or two, or even new music that is being performed for the first time. But Claudio Monteverdi’s “Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda” is thought to have been first performed in 1624, and published in 1638, so you could think of it as having been very forward-looking for its times.

“Il combattimento” is sometimes described as an operatic scene, and sometimes described as a dramatic madrigal; it has three vocal parts, and runs around 25 minutes, more or less. The setting is the Middle Ages, the era of Crusaders. The story is narrated by a character known as Testo, who describes the deadly combat between the fierce Tandcredi and the valiant woman-in-armor Clorinda, who perishes.

The Empyrean Ensemble is not intending this performance as a historic recreation of the music using the same instruments that would have been heard in Monteverdi’s time. The ensemble will include a clarinet, which didn’t assume its modern form until the 1700s, and a marimba, which originated in the New World; both instruments would have been unfamiliar in Italy in the early 1600s. But there also will be a harpsichord and strings. Matilda Hofman will conduct.

Providing the vocals will be visiting soprano Suzana Ograjenšek, originally from Slovenia, who will sing all three parts (Testo, Tancredi and Clorinda). Ograjenšek’s background includes roles in productions of Monteverdi operas in England, France, Spain and elsewhere.

The Monteverdi will be semi-staged, with master of fine arts candidate Deirdre C. Morris of the theater and dance department directing, and another graduate student designing the lighting.

The second half of the program will feature “Parodia” by Pablo Ortiz, one of the faculty composers at UC Davis. Ortiz says he is using the term “parody” in an older sense that was used by musicians in centuries past. (In the 1600s, a composer using borrowed material in a musical setting of the Mass would call his work a “parody Mass,” and the term did not have humorous or satirical implications.)

“I have used the same text — the libretto drawn from Torquato Tasso’s poetry — that Monteverdi used,” Ortiz explained.

He will have a choir of nine singing the part of Testo, with tenor Jonathan Smucker, a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory, singing Tancredi, and Ograjenšek singing Clorinda. “Parodia” will feature the same group of instruments that were heard on the Monteverdi during the first half.

Ortiz composed “Parodia” in the 1990s, and it was presented several times in 1997, alongside the Monteverdi, at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. (Ortiz is from Argentina.) Most Davis listeners undoubtedly will be hearing “Parodia” for the first time.

Ortiz revisited the piece last year, making several revisions.

“But I found, in essence, that the music was something I could have written today. The piece is still fresh,” he said. “I substituted harpsichord for the harp (used in the 1997 version), and I changed some of the percussion instruments, and did some minor changes to the choir part. But the music is still very close to my aesthetic now.

“And it will also be minimally staged — though the ‘minimal’ staging may not actually be all that minimal; there will be lighting and movement.”

Ortiz added that he’s been feeling good about the state of contemporary music in Davis since last month’s Egghead Walk, which featured original music by UCD faculty composers that was performed by members of the visiting St. Louis Symphony at each of the late Robert Arneson’s Egghead figures. The event drew several hundred people.

“This is a very musical community,” Ortiz said. “And we have seven composers — local composers — teaching at the university and doing things here. I don’t know many towns the size of Davis that have this kind of musical life … the caliber and variety of the (musical) offerings we have is quite significant.”

Tickets are $20 general, $8 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    There’s a plate for you at the Davis Holiday Meal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UCD, UC team up to study effects of climate change

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Teens’ goal? Helping other soccer players around the world

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Police seek suspect in hit-and-run collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Help sought in search for runaway Davis teen

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Feds release ‘framework’ to rate colleges

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Gunfire leads to DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Creative women share food, friendship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Welcome 2015 with Mumbo Gumbo at a gala bash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Blue Christmas service planned at Davis churches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Willett bench is a labor of love

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

     
    Author! Author! UCD hosts talks, Q and A on Asia-focused books

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Libraries will be closed around the holidays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    See diving ducks at city wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Nobel Prize winner will discuss research related to autism

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    A home for the holidays?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Explorit: Experience nano this spring

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    He needs them to pay up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

    Cheers and Jeers: Have you ever seen the rain?

    By Our View | From Page: A14

     
    Defeating Ebola involves medicine, and prayers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    Kudos to Central Park Gardens donors and volunteers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

     
    .

    Sports

    UCD RB coach Wright heads to Florida; what next?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies nab junior college defensive lineman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Cousins is back in lineup but Kings fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys hold off scrappy Rio Linda

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils rout an undefeated Liberty squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Nostra-Dunning makes his college bowl picks

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Tennyson’s first goal is the difference in Sharks win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Trio elected to academy of inventors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Arts

     
    DMTC announces auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    ‘Before Midnight’ screening is tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    DMTC plans New Year’s Eve party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    Tom Rigney and Flambeau to play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Business

    After 19 years, Alfa Romeo returns

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A16

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics