& RINALDO ALESSANDRINI
© Javier Sierra
Leave it to the Italians to teach us about beauty. Concerto Italiano’s performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin was all about effortlessly flowing beautiful singing. (The West Australian)
Founder and conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini’s early music ensemble Concerto Italiano came into existence in 1984. Its birth coincides with that of the revival of early music in Italy and is, in no small part, responsible for it. Monteverdi, Bach and Vivaldi are the main composers which have inspired the group in honoring an appreciation of the language of Baroque music, making a new aesthetic and musical rhetoric available to a fresh audience.
In 2017 Concerto Italiano made its Carnegie Hall debut and toured China, Japan, Australia, and many European cities, performing Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, L’Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea. In 2016 the ensemble made its debut in Australia and New Zealand performing Monteverdi’s Vespers.
Over the course of its history, the ensemble has appeared at major festivals and in venues throughout the European continent: Utrecht (Oude Muziek Festival), Rotterdam (De Doelen, De Singel), Antwerpen e Leuven (Flandern Festival), London (Lufthansa Festival, Queen Elisabeth Hall), Edinburgh (Edinburgh Festival), Wien (Konzerthaus), Graz (Styriarte), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Bruxelles (Festival de Wallonie, Flandern Festival, Societè Philarmonique), Madrid (Liceo de Camara), Barcelona (Festival de Musica Antigua, Palau de la Musica), Oslo (Chamber Music Festival), Paris (Citè de la Musique, Theatre de la Ville, Theatre des Champs Elysèes), Montpellier (Festival de Radio France), Metz (Arsenal), Köln (Conservatorio e WDR), Roma (Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Accademia Filarmonica Romana), Milano (Musica e Poesia a San Maurizio), Spoleto (Festival dei Due Mondi), Palermo (Festival Scarlatti), Bologna (Bologna Festival), Napoli (Teatro San Carlo e Associazione Scarlatti), and Aldeburgh, Perugia, Lyon, Glasgow, Stuttgart, Darmstadt, Innsbruck, Valencia, Bilbao, Seville, San Sebastian, Salamanca, Santander, Ravenna, Ferrara, Torino, Warsaw, Krakow, Bergen, Vantaa and Turku (Finland), among others. International audiences have also been privileged to hear the ensemble, including those in Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon), Rio de Janeiro (Teatro São Paolo), New York (Metropolitan Museum, Lincoln Center), Washington DC (Library of Congress), and Tokyo.
Concerto Italiano has recently been involved in performing the complete Monteverdi opera cycle at La Scala (Milano) and Opera Garnier (Paris), in collaboration with stage director Bob Wilson. The group has also toured with RIAS Kammerchor in an ambitious program of Roman sacred music and Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio Caino. It records regularly for the Naïve label. Recent releases include Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, a collection of sacred music by Alessandro Scarlatti, Monteverdi’s complete 8th Book of Madrigals, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers and “Selva Morale e Spirituale”. The impressive array of critical awards received for these recordings confirms the outstanding quality of their performances, now recognized as a unique force in the interpretation of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century music. After several decades the recordings of Concerto Italiano are still considered by critics and public alike to be the definitive standards of the Baroque revival and style.
The harpsichordist, organist and pianist Rinaldo Alessandrini is one of the leading figures on the in-ternational early music scene. His predilection for the Italian repertory and his constant preoccupa¬tion with the expressive characteristics specific to the Italian style of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are the decisive factors that orientate his musical approach and interpretative options, both at the head of Concerto Italiano, of which he is the founder and director, and as a soloist and guest conductor.
Among the most notable productions he has conducted are Handel’s Theodora, Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Vergine dei dolori, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and many works by Vi¬valdi, including La Senna festeggiante, The Four Seasons, the operas L’Olimpiade and Armida, and the monumental reconstruction of his Solemn Vespers for the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. Also worthy of mention is his marked penchant for the operas of Monteverdi, Mozart and Handel, which he conducts frequently and with great passion.
A regular guest conductor with leading orchestras in Europe and the United States, but also in Melbourne and São Paulo, he also appears frequently at La Scala in Milan, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Opéra de Liège and Welsh National Opera. In the course of the Monteverdi jubilee year of 2017, he leads Concerto Italiano on tour in Australia, China and Japan, and in concerts in Europe and the US.
Rinaldo Alessandrini was resident conductor with the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin in the 2015/16 season. In 2016 he was appointed music director of the ‘Purtimiro’ Baroque opera festival at the Teatro Rossini in Lugo di Romagna.
His discography, which has earned frequent awards over the past thirty years, largely coincides with that of Concerto Italiano, and features numerous Italian composers but also members of the German school. He records exclusively for naïve.
In 2002, along with Concerto Italiano, he received the Premio Abbiati for his entire career up to that point. He was appointed Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2003, and is a member of the Accademia Filarmonica Romana.
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