Performance Thursday, April 30, 2015 | 8 PM

English Baroque Soloists
The Monteverdi Choir

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine is a sacred work that draws upon a variety of secular early Baroque vocal styles. The music is quietly contemplative and joyously ecstatic, bringing an operatic sensibility for the first time to sacred music. The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, are renowned for their groundbreaking performances and recordings of this much-loved work.


  • English Baroque Soloists
  • The Monteverdi Choir
    Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor
  • Francesca Aspromonte, Soprano
  • Francesca Boncompagni, Soprano
  • Mariana Flores, Soprano
  • Krystian Adam, Tenor
  • Nicholas Mulroy, Tenor
  • Andrew Tortise, Tenor
  • Alex Ashworth, Baritone
  • Robert Davies, Baritone
  • Gianluca Buratto, Bass


  • MONTEVERDI Vespro della Beata Vergine

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating.


  • English Baroque Soloists

    The English Baroque Soloists have long been established as one of the world's leading period-instrument orchestras. Throughout their repertoire, ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart and Haydn, they are equally at home in chamber, symphonic, and operatic performances.

    The English Baroque Soloists are regularly involved in joint projects with The Monteverdi Choir, with whom they famously took part in the trailblazing Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, performing all of Bach's sacred cantatas throughout Europe. More recently, the two ensembles joined forces in a "Bach Marathon" event at Royal Albert Hall (2013), and collaborated on recordings and tours of Bach motets (2011) and Ascension cantatas (2012).

    The ensemble has performed at many of the world's most prestigious venues, including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Sydney Opera House. During the 1990s, it performed Mozart's seven mature operas, and recorded all of Mozart's mature symphonies and his complete piano concertos. Its recent recordings of the "Brandenburg" Concertos and Mozart's symphonies nos. 39 and 41 were released by The Monteverdi Choir's own record label, Soli Deo Gloria.

    In 2014, The Monteverdi Choir's 50th-anniversary year, the English Baroque Soloists performed with the choir in tours of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine in Cambridge, Versailles, and Barcelona, and Handel's Dixit Dominus at several summer festivals.

    This year has already included performances in Munich, Frankfurt, Lucerne, and Paris of Bach's Mass in B Minor. Further projects in 2015 include performances at several major summer festivals as well as the orchestra's first Far East tour in more than a decade, with concerts in Hong Kong  and Shanghai.

    The English Baroque Soloists are under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales.

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  • The Monteverdi Choir

    The Monteverdi Choir, founded in 1964, is famous for its passionate, committed,
    and virtuosic singing. Over the past 50 years, it has been consistently acclaimed as one of the best choirs in the world, noted for its ability to switch composer, language, and idiom with complete stylistic conviction.

    Among a number of trailblazing tours, the choir's most ambitious was the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, during which it performed all 198 of Bach's sacred cantatas in more than 60 churches throughout Europe to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's death. The entire project was recorded and released by the company's own record label, Soli Deo Gloria.

    The choir is also a fertile training ground for future generations of choral and solo singers. Choir members often step out to sing solo parts, and many former members have gone on to enjoy successful solo careers. Since 2007, the Monteverdi Apprentices program has added an exciting new dimension to its profile.

    The choir has more than 150 recordings to its name and has won numerous prizes. It regularly participates in staged opera productions, including recently Le Freyschütz (Weber-Berlioz), L'étoile (Chabrier), and Carmen (Bizet) at the Opéra Comique in Paris.

    Last year, the choir celebrated its 50th anniversary with performances of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine in Cambridge, Barcelona, and Versailles, as well as an extensive European and US tour of Handel's Dixit Dominus. It also collaborated with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in a performance of Schumann's Manfred under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner and released an acclaimed new album of English polyphony entitled Vigilate!.

    Earlier in 2015, a tour featuring Bach's Mass in B Minor took the choir to Munich, Frankfurt, Lucerne, and Paris. Further projects this year include performances at several major summer festivals as well as the choir's first Far East tour in more than a decade, with concerts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    The Monteverdi Choir is under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales.

    Sir John Eliot Gardiner

    Sir John Eliot Gardiner is one of the most versatile and sought-after conductors of our time. Founder and artistic director of The Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists, and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, he also appears regularly with leading symphony orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. After serving as artistic director of the Opéra de Lyon (1983-1988) and chef fondateur of its orchestra, the focus of his opera projects in France moved to the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris-where he oversaw productions of Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice and Alceste, Weber's Oberon, Verdi's Falstaff, and most notably Berlioz's Les Troyens in 2003-and then to the Opéra Comique, where he conducted new productions of CarmenPelléas et Mélisande, Chabrier'sL'étoile, and the Weber-Berlioz Le Freyschütz with The Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.

    Acknowledged as a key figure in the early-music revival of the past four decades, Mr. Gardiner has led his own ensembles in a number of groundbreaking projects and international tours, including the yearlong Bach Cantata Pilgrimage to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer's death in the millennium year. With The Monteverdi Choir, Mr. Gardiner returned to King's College, Cambridge, in 2014 to perform Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine exactly 50 years to the day after their inaugural concert in the famous chapel. The same year, the 25th anniversary of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique was marked by the filming of a BBC TV documentary on Beethoven, the ensemble's first visit to Latin America, and a celebratory European tour. The two ensembles came together last August for a widely acclaimed BBC Proms performance of Beethoven's Missa solemnis.

    The extent of Mr. Gardiner's repertoire is illustrated by more than 250 recordings for major record companies and by numerous international awards, including the Gramophone Special Achievement Award for live recordings of the complete church cantatas of Bach on the Soli Deo Gloria label. In 2013, he won the Critics' Circle's Outstanding Musician Award.

    His acclaimed book Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven was published by Penguin in the UK and by Knopf in the US in 2013. He was recently appointed president of the Bach-Archiv Leipzig.  

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'Nissi Dominus' from Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine
English Baroque Solists | John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

With this performance of Monteverdi’s greatest sacred work, the Vespro della Beata Vergine (Vespers of the Blessed Virgin), Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir begin a two-day immersion into the world of this path-breaking genius of the early 17th century. Published in 1610, the Vespro won Monteverdi the position of maestro di cappella at Venice’s iconic Basilica di San Marco in 1613. Though not written specifically for San Marco, its sonic splendor perfectly matched the visual and acoustical qualities of that cathedral of Byzantine beauty. As masters of the virtuoso performance style of the early Baroque period, Mr. Gardiner and his ensembles are the foremost exponents of this work, which never ceases to astonish and move its listeners.
Program Notes


Before Bach
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.
Public support for Carnegie Hall Live is made possible, in part, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
This performance is part of International Festival of Orchestras III, and Before Bach.

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