Artek: Gerusalemme Liberata

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gwendolyn Toth, Director
Time:              8 pm
Pre-concert lecture at 7 pm by Dr. Barbara Russano Hanning

Tickets:          $15-$50
Available in advance through Gotham Early Music Scene, (212) 866-0468, or online at All seating is reserved. Senior and student discounts are available.


Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme Liberata, written in 1581, has inspired countless Italian Renaissance and baroque composers to create musical masterpieces based on its tales of love, war and betrayal during the Crusades. The internationally renowned ensemble ARTEK will present 16th-century a cappella madrigal settings by Giaches de Wert and Claudio Monteverdi, two of the greatest madrigal composers. The program will also feature two 17th-century continuo madrigals by Biagio Marini and Domenico Mazzocchi. Rounding out the program will be solo settings of the Lamento d'Erminia, on a text by Guido Casoni based on Tasso's poem, by Giovanni Rovetta and Biagio Marini; Marini's version is rarely heard and is a vocal tour de force for soprano. Two other solo songs in the program are Roman settings of texts from Gerusalemme Liberata written for Cardinal Giulio Savelli's musical spectacle in 1619 by the composers Giovanni Bernardino Nanino and Ottavio Catalani.

The program features ARTEK's outstanding singers, who bring both virtuoso vocal ability as well as an extraordinary a cappella ensemble sensitivity: soprano Laura Heimes, mezzo-soprano Barbara Hollinshead, countertenor Ryland Angel, tenors Philip Anderson and Michael Brown, and bass-baritone Peter Becker. They will be joined in the accompanied music by members of ARTEK's famed continuo team: Christa Patton, harp; Charles Weaver, guitar and theorbo; Kevin Payne, theorbo; Grant Herreid, lute; Motomi Igarashi, lirone and viola da gamba; and Gwendolyn Toth, harpsichord and director of ARTEK.

A pre-concert lecture at 7 pm by Dr. Barbara Russano Hanning is included in the ticket price.


Laura Heimes, soprano
Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano
Ryland Angel, countertenor
Philip Anderson, tenor
Michael Brown, tenor
Peter Becker, bass-baritone
Charles Weaver, theorbo and guitar
Kevin Payne, theorbo
Grant Herried, lute
Christa Patton, harp
Motomi Igarashi, viola da gamba
Gwendolyn Toth, harpsichord & director

Complete Program:

Giaches de Wert (1535-1596)
      Vezzosi Augellin (from L'ottavo libro de madrigali, Venice, 1586)
      Qual musico gentil (L'ottavo libro)

Giovanni Rovetta (1596/7-1668)
      Lagrime d'Erminia (from Madrigali concertata, libro primo, op. 2, Venice, 1629)
            Sung by Mr. Angel)

Giaches de Wert
      Misera non credea (L'ottavo libro)

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
      Vivro fra i miei tormenti (from Il terzo libro de madrigali, Venice, 1592)

Biagio Marini (1594-1663)
      Lagrime d'Erminia (from Le lagrime d’Erminia in stile recitativo, Parma, 1623)
            (Sung by Ms. Heimes and Mr. Anderson)
      La Bella Erminia (from Per le musiche di camera concerti, Venice, 1634)

- Intermission -

Francesco Eredi (1575 or 1581-after 1635)
      Vatene pur crudel (from L’Armida del Tasso posta in musica, op.3, Venice, 1629)

Ottavio Catalani (? - 1644 or later)
      In che misero (Lamento de Ermenia cantato della commedia del Savelli, Rome, 1619)
            (Sung by Ms. Hollinshead)

Claudio Monteverdi
      Vattene pur crudel (from Il terzo libro)
      Piagne e sospira (from Il quarto libro de madrigali, Venice, 1603)

Giovanni Bernardino Nanino (c.1560-1618)
      Deh mira egli canto spuntar la rosa (ms., commedia del Savelli, Rome 1619)
            (Sung by Mr. Anderson)

Giaches de Wert
      Forsennata Gridava (L'ottavo libro)
      Giunto all tomba (from Il settimo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, Venice, 1581)

Domenico Mazzocchi (1592-1665)
      Chiudesti i lumi (from Madrigali, Rome, 1638)

About the Ensemble and principal participants:

ARTEK, founded by director Gwendolyn Toth in 1986, features America’s finest singers and instrumentalists in performances of 17th century repertoire from Italy and Germany. Audiences love ARTEK concerts for their exciting, dramatic performances of baroque music, with compelling musical settings of beautiful poetry and infectious dance rhythms that infuse the performances with vitality and spirit. In addition to acclaimed performances of I’ll Never See the Stars Again, highlights of past seasons include standing-ovation performances to sell-out crowds at the Regensburg (Germany) Tage Alter Musik Festival (1998 and 2003) and debut performances at the prestigious Boston Early Music Festival (2003) and the Berkeley Early Music Festival (2010). ARTEK toured internationally from 1997 to 2002 with the Mark Morris Dance Group, visiting major venues in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Canada, as well as more than 50 of America’s premier theaters. ARTEK’s recordings of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and other early Italian repertoire have been widely praised.

Praised for her “sparkle and humor, radiance and magnetism” and hailed for “a voice equally velvety up and down the registers,” soprano Laura Heimes is widely regarded as an artist of great versatility, with repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. She has collaborated with many of the leading figures in early music, including Andrew Lawrence King, Julianne Baird, Tempeste di Mare, The King’s Noyse, Paul O’Dette, Chatham Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, The New York Collegium, The Publick Musick, Brandywine Baroque, Trinity Consort, and Piffaro – The Renaissance Band, a group with whom she has toured the United States. She has been heard at the Boston, Connecticut and Indianapolis Early Music Festivals, at the Oregon and Philadelphia Bach Festivals under the baton of Helmuth Rilling, at the Carmel Bach Festival under Bruno Weil, and in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil in concerts of Bach and Handel. With the Philadelphia Orchestra she appeared as Mrs. Nordstrom in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Ms. Heimes has recorded for Dorian, Pro Gloria Musicae, Plectra Music, Sonabilis, Albany and Avian records.

Mezzo-soprano Barbara Hollinshead has been a member of ARTEK since 1995. A popular soloist in the Washington, DC area, the Washington Post has described her as singing with “an artful simplicity that illuminated the text and beguiled the ear.” She studied with Max van Egmond in the Netherlands, and has since sung under the baton of Christopher Hogwood and Andrew Parrott, appeared with many of the finest early music groups in eastern North America including Tafelmusik, Chatham Baroque, and the Four Nations Ensemble, and is a regular guest artist with the Folger Consort, Opera Lafayette, and the Washington Bach Consort. This season she has also been featured with Ensemble VIII in Austin, Texas and several performances with the Bethlehem Bach Choir. Her discography includes works by Carissimi, Rossi, Bach, and Mrs. H.H.A. Beach, as well as two recordings with lutenist Howard Bass of English lute songs and French airs de cour. She has made numerous recordings in genres from Sephardic Song to music of Mrs. H.H.A. Beach.

Born on St. Cecilia’s day, Ryland Angel has received a Grammy nomination and has performed on over 40 recordings including music of Charpentier, Scarlatti, Stradella, Lorenzani, Peri, Handel, Monteverdi, Beaujoyeux, Purcell, Bach, Spears, Bobby McFerrin and film soundtracks of Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete and the PBS TV special ‘Heavenly Voices’. Recent engagements include Doux Mensonges (Opera National de Paris), Radamisto (St. Louis), Agrippina (NYCO), Tolomeo (Muziektheater Transparant), Semele (Cologne), Rodelinda (Holland), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Florentine and Kansas Opera), Julius Caesar (Utah Opera, Boston Baroque and Opera Colorado), Sant’ Alessio (Paris, London, New York), Ulysses (Toulouse), Theodora (UNT at Dallas Opera), Handel’s La Resurrezione with Ars Lyrica, Carmina Burana with National Chorale (Lincoln Center), St. John Passion with St. Thomas Church, Houston Bach Society and Boulder Bach, Monteverdi’s Orfeo with Boston Early Music Festival, the world premieres of Spears’ Wolf in Skins (Philadelphia) and the title role in the world premiere of Tesla in New York by Phil Kline/Jim Jarmusch.

Tenor Philip Anderson is in the cast of the Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach, which is currently touring the world. Hailed for his “voice of liquid warmth and easy stage presence,” he is much in demand among early music ensembles. In New York he sings regularly with ARTEK, My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort and has been a guest artist with Chatham Baroque, Lionheart, Mark Morris Dance Group, The New York Collegium, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Piffaro, and The Waverly Consort. For three seasons he toured the United States in the title role of The Play of Daniel with New York’s Ensemble for Early Music. In Europe he has sung at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Tage Alter Musik Festival in Regensburg and Festival Scarlatti in Sicily. In the spring of 2007 he appeared on Broadway in Coram Boy. His recordings include the Grammy nominated O Magnum Mysterium with the Tiffany Consort, John Dowland’s First Book of Songs with My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort, Madrigals of Monteverdi with ARTEK, Jane’s Hand - The Jane Austen Songbooks with Julianne Baird, and Music of Kapsperger with Chatham Baroque.

Michael Brown, tenor, has been a member of ARTEK since the 1992, receiving high praise for his portrayal of Apollo on ARTEK's celebrated recording of Monteverdi's Orfeo. He sang the American premiere of P. M. Davies’ The Lighthouse, in Boston and has also sung with Connecticut Early Music Festival, American Bach Soloists, and Glimmerglass Opera. He toured for many years with the Mark Morris Dance Group throughout America and Europe. Recent highlights include performances of Schubert’s Winterreise with Harvey Burgett and the music of contemporaries Wendy Griffiths and Chris Berg. He and his wife, soprano Phyllis Clark, teach ensemble singing in Japan, and he performs chamber music concerts of Schubert songs frequently with fortepianist Gwendolyn Toth.

Bass-baritone Peter Becker has performed throughout the USA, Europe, Asia, and South America in repertoire ranging from medieval to contemporary. Theater credits include performances with Canadian Opera Company, Macerata Festival, Teatro Opera di Roma, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, the 21st Century Consort, and the Broadway show Band in Berlin. Guest appearances include those with Tafelmusik, Smithsonian Chamber Players, Magnificat, the Newberry Consort, Folger Consort, Portland Baroque, ARTEK, and he has performed at a number of festivals including Spoleto (Italy and USA), Caramoor, Ravinia, Aldeburgh, Utrecht, Hong Kong, Ravenna, Jerusalem, Macao, Miyazaki, and Saratoga. As a member of Hudson Shad, he has performed with such distinguished conductors as Kurt Masur (New York Philharmonic), Zubin Mehta (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony), Charles Dutoit (Philadelphia Orchestra), Dennis Russell Davies (Austrian Radio Orchestra, and the Bruckner Orchester Linz), Bruno Bartoletti (Orchestra Regionale Toscana), and Ingo Metzmacher (Orchestra Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia).

Recognized as one of America’s leading performers on early keyboard instruments, ARTEK Director Gwendolyn Toth performs with equal ease on the harpsichord, organ, and fortepiano. Her interpretations have been acclaimed for their spirit and intelligence, and her technique is founded on historical performance principles of fingering, articulation, and phrasing. She has been heard in concerts throughout North America, Europe and the Far East, and on radio networks in Holland, Germany, France, and America’s National Public Radio. She has performed in festivals in Boston, Berkeley and Indianapolis, USA; Utrecht, Holland; Regensburg, Germany; Edinburgh, Scotland; Trevi nel Lazio Italy, and the Czech Republic. As a soloist and recording artist on historical organs, Ms. Toth tours each summer in Europe, performing on organs such as the 1434 organ in Sion, Switzerland; the 1509 organ in Trevi, Italy; the 1531 organ in Krewerd, Netherlands; the 1649 organ in Zeerijp, Netherlands; the 1696 Arp Schnitger organ in Noordbroek, Netherlands; and the 1714 organ in St. Michael’s Church, Vienna, among many others. Ms. Toth also has an active career as a conductor of historical performance ensembles, orchestras, and opera.

(Lecturer) Barbara Russano Hanning (Barnard, B.A., 1960; Yale, Ph.D., 1968) is Professor Emeritus of Music at The City College of New York (CCNY) and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), where she taught seminars in various topics including madrigal, early opera, Monteverdi, and musical iconography.  She is the author of a book on the beginnings of opera and of articles and reviews on 16th- and 17th-century Italian music, musical iconography, and 18th-century French subjects;  also of the Norton textbook Concise History of Western Music (now in its fourth edition).  [Her work has appeared in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), Renaissance Quarterly, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, Music in Art and in several collections including the Cambridge History of 17th-Century Music (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Musical Humanism and Its Legacy, a Festschrift for Claude Palisca, which she also co-edited (Pendragon, 1992).]  She was a founding member of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, served as its president from 1993 to 1997, and was made an Honorary Member of that Society in 2012.)