Performance Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 7:30 PM


La festa d'Arpeggiata

Zankel Hall
An improvised double bass solo with a riff on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” a rousing encore of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and an impassioned Purcell song are some of the delights L’Arpeggiata brings to every performance. It is also one of the finest early-music ensembles currently performing. For this program, the artists focus on the glorious vocal music of such 17th-cenutry composers as Cavalli, Cesti, and Monteverdi, while also sampling robust Italian folk music.


  • L'Arpeggiata
    Christina Pluhar, Artistic Director
  • Céline Scheen, Soprano
  • Giuseppina Bridelli, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Vincenzo Capezzuto, Alto


    Program to include works by Cavalli, Cesti, Monteverdi, and Italian folk music

At a Glance

Opera, as we know it today, grew out of theories about music and drama from classical antiquity as they were understood by a group of intellectuals in Florence at the start of the 17th century. Monteverdi’s Orfeo of 1607, with its mythological subject matter and pastoral atmosphere, had much in common with the courtly entertainments of the previous century. In the hands of Monteverdi and his successors—including Cavalli, Cesti, Purcell, and eventually Handel—opera gradually took on its more modern aspects: plots rich in drama and human interest, a clear distinction between arias and recitatives, and ample opportunities for vocal display.

Yet for all its musical and dramatic sophistication, opera also had deep roots in popular culture. Indeed, the cross-fertilization of the two traditions—which L’Arpeggiata explores in this evening’s program—found an outlet in a wide range of music, from richly expressive love songs and laments to frivolous ditties and folk dances. The venturesome ensemble takes a distinctively free and fresh approach to this appealing repertoire, emphasizing the improvisatory spirit that Baroque music shares with more recent folk idioms as well as jazz.
This performance is part of Zankel Sampler I.