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La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic

February 3–21, 2017

Once again, a Carnegie Hall festival was a major event on the cultural landscape. For two and a half weeks in February, La Serenissima: Music and Arts of the Venetian Republic celebrated the unique city-state that existed for nearly 1,000 years and supported a dazzling artistic legacy. The festival, the first at Carnegie Hall with a purely early music focus, featured vocal treasures and virtuoso instrumental music. The festival also extended citywide with events at leading cultural institutions, including concerts, panel discussions, theatrical events, and art exhibitions.

One of early music’s iconic performer-scholar-ambassadors, Jordi Savall, opened the festival leading a stellar assembly of musicians in The Millenarian Venice: Gateway to the East, an epic musical tour through the Republic’s 1,000-year history. It was a breathtaking exploration of the diverse musical cultures that flourished in the Republic, and it was received by a jubilant audience whose enthusiasm set the tone for the entire festival. Other highlights included Andrea Marcon conducting the Venice Baroque Orchestra and solo singers in Vivaldi’s dramatic but rarely performed oratorio Juditha triumphans. There was also a moving program of laments performed by Gallicantus; Il Pomo d’Oro explored selections from lesser-known 16th- and 17th-century Venetian operas; works for women’s voices by Strozzi and others were sung by TENET; and madrigals and operatic selections by Monteverdi were dramatically presented by Capella Mediterranea.

Instrumental fireworks were launched when Savall and Hespèrion XXI revealed the influences of dance tunes and popular song on Venetian music; Quicksilver played exuberant chamber works; Il Pomo d’Oro performed virtuoso concertos; and Ensemble Connect bridged past and present with Baroque pieces and a work—commissioned by Carnegie Hall—by Caroline Shaw. The Venetian Republic linked the Byzantine and Ottoman empires to Europe, and The Ahmet Erdoğdular Classical Turkish Music Ensemble showcased music that many Europeans would have first heard in La Serenissima centuries ago. The Tallis Scholars and its director Peter Phillips also participated in Weill Music Institute events, including a master class and concert of Venetian polychoral works at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. The festival concluded with Rinaldo Alessandrini, a sensational cast of vocal soloists, and Concerto Italiano in Monteverdi’s grand final opera L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Festival Partners

The Centro Primo Levi Center
Columbia University’s Department of Italian and The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America
Company XIV
The Frick Collection
The Jewish Museum
The Juilliard School
Italian Cultural Institute

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Morgan Library & Museum
New York Public Library
New York University/Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
St. Thomas Church
Save Venice, Inc.
The Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center

La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic is sponsored by Chubb.

The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has granted La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic its official support (“Patrocinio”) in recognition of Carnegie Hall’s celebration of Italy’s extraordinarily rich cultural legacy.

Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism in Rome; the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC; and the Consulate General of Italy in New York.

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