Tuesday 10 July 2007

Si ch'io vorrei morire

To London yesterday evening, feeling very odd without a baby anywhere on my person. We went to see the last UK performance of The Full Monteverdi by I Fagiolini, and had the pleasure of taking along a friend who didn't know what was going to happen.

Everyone is sitting at little tables, with drinks and nibbles, talking amongst themselves, some more earnestly than others. There's no stage or obvious area where anyone can perform. So you sit down, chat amongst yourselves. Then someone starts to sing. Someone sitting next to you joins in... soon there are five or six voices weaving in and out of each other. It gets louder and more passionate... someone stands up, and you see that each singer has a partner, and six miniature dramas are enacted. The music, from Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals, is sublime, and the harmonies unbelievably dissonant at times.

As a friend said, the singing would be pretty stupendous if they were reading from music standing on a concert stage. In fact, they're singing from memory while acting out a scene that's designed to follow an emotional arc within the music, over the course of an hour or so. It's amazingly intense. I was almost in tears at some points, and A definitely was. The singers are just fabulous (we both have a crush on the mezzo, who's got the sexiest low notes you've ever heard). They've just finished recording a DVD of it, which will be out "in time for Christmas". From the trailer, it looks fascinating -- a long way from just a live recording of the show. There's a trailer if you're interested. And if you ever get the chance to go -- I think they're doing three performances in New York, which may be the last ever -- then go, and take all your friends.

Do have a look at the Fag's website, too: other people have written about this far more poetically than I can.


Anonymous said...

The film version of The Full Monteverdi
will have its UK TV premiere on Christmas day 2008 at 8pm, courtesy of Sky Arts. Catch it if you can or buy the DVD from us.

Beck said...

Thank you, Lucy! I see that Polyphonic and The Full Monteverdi are using WordPress to build a website - I've just been telling Robert this is what we should use for the I Fagiolini site. Is there anyone who could help me set it up? I work as an information architect building websites, but just don't get involved in the coding and so haven't been able to help the Fag with theirs, which is incredibly frustrating!