Performance Tuesday, April 7, 2015 | 7:30 PM


L'Amore Innamorato: Arias by Francesco Cavalli

Zankel Hall
A golden age of Italian music shines in this concert of opera arias by 17th-century Venetian master Cavalli along with dances by two of his contemporaries. Cavalli was a prominent figure in Venetian opera, and his arias are melodically inspired with flashes of dramatic virtuoso fire. “Gloriously sweet-toned” (The Guardian), soprano Nuria Rial joins the daring early-music ensemble L’Arpeggiata in its eagerly awaited return to Carnegie Hall.


  • L'Arpeggiata
    Christina Pluhar, Artistic Director and Theorbo
  • Nuria Rial, Soprano


  • CAVALLI Sinfonia from Giasone
  • CAVALLI "Piante ombrose" from Calisto
  • CAVALLI "Verginella, io morir vo" from Calisto
  • CAVALLI "Ninfa bella" from Calisto
  • CAVALLI "Piangete" from Egisto
  • CAVALLI "Non è maggior piacere" from Calisto
  • CAVALLI "Restino imbalsamente" from Calisto
  • CAZZATI Ciaccona
  • CAVALLI "Vieni, vieni in questo seno" from Rosinda
  • CAVALLI "Che città" from Ormindo
  • L. ALLEGRI Canario
  • CAVALLI Sinfonia from Eliogabalo
  • CAVALLI "Dammi morte" from Artemisia
  • CAVALLI "L'alma fiacca svani" from Didone
  • CAVALLI "Alle ruine del mio regno" from Didone

At a Glance

Claudio Monteverdi may have laid the foundation for opera as we know it, but it was Francesco Cavalli—who started his career as a choirboy under Monteverdi at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice—who transformed dramma per musica (“drama for music”) into a wildly popular art form. In the 1640s and ’50s, Venice’s public opera houses competed for the honor of staging Cavalli’s works; many were performed throughout Italy and other parts of Europe as well. Largely thanks to him, one foreign visitor went so far as to declare that “the invention of opera is due to the city of Venice.”

Alexandre-Toussaint Limojon de Saint-Didier had much else to say, both pro and con, about Venetian opera. Although he admired Venice’s “large and stately” theaters, the French nobleman found the elaborate stage effects only “sometimes passable and often ridiculous” and the choreography deplorable (“one would imagine these dancers wore lead in their shoes”). Yet all these “imperfections” were offset by the excellence of the Italian singers and the brilliant and richly expressive music that Cavalli and his contemporaries wrote for them. “Their airs are languishing and touching; the whole composition is mingl’d with agreeable songs that raise the attention.”

Blending high drama and pathos with a ribald and often earthy sense of humor, Cavalli’s Calisto, Giasone, Ormindo, and other operas were hits in their day and continue to delight audiences—and challenge singers—today.


An Introduction to Before Bach

Before Bach
This performance is part of Before Bach, and Signatures.

Part of