Antonio Florio conducts Nola — With the Cappella Neapolitana

Misteria Paschalia Festival 2019

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Leslie Visco — Soprano

Anna Zawisza — Soprano

Marta Fumagalli — Alto

Alessio Tosi — Tenor

Giuseppe Naviglio — Bass

Cappella Neapolitana

Antonio Florio — Conductor

Program notes

Conductor and musicologist Antonio Florio has devoted his life to rediscovering the many musical treasures of Naples, a city of considerable history and culture. Remarkable works like those on display here echo the powerful vital force of what was once an important Greek settlement originally named for the siren Parthenope (sometimes represented by a lyre)—a city flanked by Mount Vesuvius and the Mediterranean which has withstood earthquakes, epidemics, a Viking invasion, and the rise and fall of every dominant power throughout the centuries.

The work of largely unknown 17th-century composer Antonio Nola (1642-c. 1715) displays dramatic contrasts, as in Ecce Nunc Benedicite Dominum II, a surprising blend of modern instrumental concerto with ecclesiastical vocal style. Another work with the same text, more luminous in character (Ecce Nunc Benedicite Dominum I), demonstrates Nola’s broad expressive scope. But the crown jewel of this program is undoubtedly his Stabat Mater, a profound and poignant evocation of the Virgin Mary’s contemplative suffering. The superb voices and instruments of the Cappella Neapolitana, committed to every note of this program, use their technical excellence and precision to transport us to a fascinating and nearly-lost universe of beautiful music, full of color and earnest emotion.

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