Strong women in music
From July 11th to August 29th, the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music offers a concentrated dose of female power. Who were the singers who inspired Antonio Vivaldi or Claudio Monteverdi to create revolutionary compositions? Who were the «primadonnas» of the Baroque era and which great female musicians remained unjustly in the shadows? All of these stories are impressively and thrillingly told at the Innsbruck Festival.
The Italian soprano Francesca Aspromonte radiates Baroque splendor of Schloss Ambras in the concert «La primadonna». She takes on the role of Francesca Cuzzoni, who gained fame in 18th-century London through numerous operas by George Frideric Handel. The versatile soprano will be accompanied by the Basel-based ensemble La Floridiana on August 12th. With her typical mixture of crystalline and at the same time fiery timbre, Francesca Aspromonte already enthralled audiences at the Innsbruck Festival in 2018 in Hasses «Semele» – which led the press to hail her as «the new star in the Baroque sky».
Some gifted female musicians remained in the shadow of great prima donnas of their time. However, these young women with extraordinary talents could have easily outshone some of their contemporaries if they had been given the necessary freedom. Often, the girls and women at the Ospedale della Pietà, Antonio Vivaldi's long-time educational institution in Venice, were in this situation. In the concert «Die Ungezähmten», the soprano Giulia Semenzato will lend her multifaceted voice to these young musicians. In 2014, she won 2nd place at the Cesti singing competition and two years later achieved great success in the Cimarosa opera «Il matrimonio segreto». She will be accompanied on August 26th at Schloss Ambras by the Swedish Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra, which will make its debut at the festival.
A musical reference performance can be experienced on August 18th. The French master Christophe Rousset will conduct an all-female cast of singers in Tommaso Traetta's oratorio «Rex Salomon». The distinguished ensemble is led by Eleonora Bellocci, who shone in Graun's «Silla» and Handel's «Il Messia» last year, among others. The Tiroler Vokalensemble NovoCanto and the Theresia Orchestra will also be on stage at the Haus der Musik Innsbruck. Look forward to a wonderful and unforgettable concert evening.
The music of the only surviving oratorio, «Juditha triumphans», by Antonio Vivaldi immediately touches the heart and displays an incredible richness of sound colors. The plot is tense! The ambiguity of the main characters plays a central role and could outshine many a contemporary crime drama. The story of the biblical book of Judith is well-known. The heroine Judith displays certain traits of a deceiver, while Holofernes, the actual villain, mutates from a warlord to a deceived lover and is eventually beheaded by Judith. Mezzo-soprano Sophie Rennert takes on the role of the villainous heroine, and at her side, the all-female cast includes soprano Arianna Vendittelli, as well as mezzo-sopranos Emilie Renard, Lorrie Garcia, and Anastasia Boldyreva. In a co-production with the Teatro La Fenice Venice, festival director Alessandro De Marchi will also conduct the Innsbrucker Festwochenorchester and the Coro Maghini.