Friday February 23, 2018 | 7:30PM (Pre-concert talk at 6:45)
Christ Church Cathedral | Map
“As artists, we endlessly replay our utopias, with Babel as a backdrop. The territory to explore is infinite: cultures and memories whose lines we like to shift so that they finally converge. We also make a migration and the mixing of cultures our territory.” -Kiya Tabassian
For this programme Ensemble Constantinople invite Canadian treasure, soprano Suzie LeBlanc, to revisit and explore new avenues and Italian composers often unknown to the general public, yet among the finest in the second half of the 16th and early 17th century: Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (1580-1651), Marco Uccellini (1603-1680).
Supported by Brigit Westergaard and Norman Gladstone
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Il ballo delle ingrate – Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Si dolce è il tormento – Claudio Monteverdi
Bergamasca – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c. 1580-1651)/Marco Uccellini (c. 1603-1680)
Sinfonia – Salomone Rossi (c. 1570-1630)
L’Eraclito amoroso – Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)
Capona / Ciaconna – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger/Andrea Falconieri (c. 1585-1656)
Sentirete una canzonetta – Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)
Toccata Arpeggiata – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Kapsberger – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
A Marillide deh vieni – Stefano Landi (1587-1639)
Colasione – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
A che più l’arco tendere – Stefano Landi
Passacaglia – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Canario – Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Amor dormiglione – Barbara Strozzi
A thousand and one questions affect our relationship to the world. Excessive consumerism, spiritual unrest, clinging to identity, diminishing exchanges, emergence of new divisions, blurring of borders… In this apparent disorder, can the origins of another era be unveiled?
As musician-inventors and musician-travellers, we endlessly replay our utopias, with Babel as a backdrop. The territory to explore is infinite: cultures and memories whose lines we like to shift so that they finally converge. We also make migration and the mixing of cultures our territory. Perhaps it is our early exile that led us to return to the source, to follow the traces of our predecessors, to tirelessly search for creative allies. This awareness of belonging to several space-times is as basic to us as respiration, as inspiration.
This is what we wish to share through our itinerant music: our desire to grow, to learn from others, from ourselves, to live better lives.
In line with a previous project, Early Dreams, it is the pages left by another marvellous composer and singer that Constantinople has taken the liberty of reinventing this time around.
A worthy heiress of Monteverdi, Renaissance Venetian madrigalist Barbara Strozzi created a secular vocal repertoire that intoxicates the senses. A joyful and salutary delirium for music lovers!
For this project, the rich imagination of the beautiful artist with a demonic reputation is embodied by the velvety smooth vocals of Acadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc. Her poetry is enhanced by the brio and bold improvisations of our five musicians.
Also on this passionate program are pieces by another Italian genius: Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger (1580-1651). His spontaneous changes, sharp contrasts and unusual rhythmic groupings provide fertile ground for the musicians of Constantinople, who always welcome the chance to free themselves from the cultural codes of old Europe.
For the flames of lovers, I know that
all the oceans are not enough.
– Sebastiano Baldini, Cantate Sino Alla Morte de Barbara Strozzi
Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey as its foundation — geographical journeys, but also historical, cultural and inner. It also seeks inspiration from all sources, and aims for distant horizons.
Inspired by the ancient city illuminating East and West, the ensemble was conceived as a forum for encounters and cross-fertilization by Kiya and Ziya Tabassian, in 1998 in Montreal. Since then, as seasoned travellers, they have explored a wide range of musical avenues: from mediaeval manuscripts to contemporary aesthetics, from Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque.
In its research and creations, Constantinople joins forces with other leading figures on the international scene. The common denominator that Constantinople brings into play when merging different musical styles is their modal expression, but also their decidedly contemporary — and thus unifying — language.
Constantinople is regularly invited to international festivals, where it is acclaimed by the public, music professionals and critics alike. It has performed on many of the world’s major stages, including the Salle Pleyel (France), Festival d'Aix-en- Provence (France), the World Sacred Music Festival of Fez (Morocco), the Festival d’Île de France (Paris), the Onassis Centre (Athens), the Festival de México en el Centro Histórico (Mexico), the Festival de Lanaudière (Quebec), and the Schwetzingen Festival (Germany).
Alongside tours in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Cyprus, Morocco, Canada, United States and Mexico, Constantinople presents every year in Montreal a concert season featuring their creations, the visibility of which continues to grow.
Most of its productions have been recorded and broadcast by CBC/Radio-Canada, and some have been relayed to European audiences via the European Broadcasting Union. Constantinople has 13 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma and World Village. The ensemble is supported by the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres of Quebec, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.
Over the course of the decade, the ensemble has created over 35 works and travelled to nearly 120 cities in 22 countries.
Suzie LeBlanc, soprano
Following her Mozart recital in Turin, La Stampa’s music critic wrote: “The evening’s success is due above all to soprano Suzie LeBlanc with her fresh and melodious voice. Her appearance and personality perfectly convey themselves on the opera stage in the roles of German girls, gentle and dreaming, of whom the prototype is Mozart’s Pamina… This small masterpiece (Alma grande e nobil core) demands from the singer a bit of aggressiveness… Mrs. LeBlanc’s interpretation was perfect in this regard.”
Born in Acadia, Suzie LeBlanc fell in love with the Baroque early in life. Now an international star, the charismatic soprano provides convincing evidence for the popularity of Early Music while exploring French mélodies, lieder, Acadian folk music, contemporary music and the art of improvisation with Helmut Lipsky, and «Au parfum de Tango».
She has worked with many of the world’s leading early music ensembles in concert and opera performances, as well as on film and on disc. Concerts have taken her to festivals all over the world, as well as to the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Wigmore Hall and the Konzerthaus in Vienna. On the opera stage, she has performed for De Nederlandse Opera, Festival de Beaune, Opéra de Montréal, the Boston Early Music Festival, Tanglewood, Festival Vancouver and Early Music Vancouver.
The film «Lost Song» directed by Rodrigue Jean, in which she plays the lead character, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and won the City-TV Best Canadian Feature Award. She can also be seen on film in “More than a thousand kisses” (Bach’s Coffee Cantata) and “Suzie LeBlanc and a man named Quantz”, both produced by the late Robert Chesterman for Prometheus Productions.
Her contribution to Acadian culture with the CDs «La Mer Jolie» and «Tout passe,» the 0documentary «Suzie LeBlanc: A Musical Quest», directed by Donald Winkler; and her performances of Early Music have earned her four honorary doctorates.
In recent seasons, she recorded Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Pamina) with La Petite Bande (Bayer records), Thésée’s Lully (CPO), Gluck’s Orphée (Naxos), Buxtehude motets with Emma Kirkby, Peter Harvey and the Purcell Symphony (Chandos), Carissimi Oratorios, Mozart lieder, Nobil Donna, a Handel Portrait and two recordings of Acadian folk music, all on ATMA. Her recordingof works by Olivier Messiaen, titled «Chants de terre et de ciel», as well as “Tempi con Variazioni” won Opus Awards for Best Recording in the Contemporary and World Music categories. Concert highlights include Bach’s St-Matthew Passion at the Brooklyn Academy of Music staged by Jonathan Miller, and a performance of Japanese songs with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Suzie LeBlanc has recently devoted much of her time to the poet Elizabeth Bishop, becoming the Honorary Patron of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia. She commissioned six Canadian composers to write 11 new settings of Bishop’s poetry, and then recorded the entire body of work. This recording will be released later in 2013.
She collaborates with pianists Julius Drake and Robert Kortgaard, and with early keyboard specialist Alexander Weimann.
Suzie LeBlanc is artistic director of Le Nouvel Opéra (www.lenouvelopera.com), an organization that gives workshops in Baroque opera and oratorio at the Orford Arts Centre.