PIAZZA-NAVONAAs many of you may already know, I formed Consortium Carissimi in Rome where I used to live. In addition to the music of the Roman composer Giacomo Carissimi, I became enamored with other composers that worked in Rome during roughly the same period. With the exception of Morales and de Victoria, the music I studied was written between 1600 to 1700.

In addition to several concerts, we recorded numerous CDs in those years. One was Bernardo Pasquini’s Oratorio Santa Agnese. Pasquini has been mostly known for his many fine keyboard works, but his style of writing for voices is quite unique. During my time in Rome I also discovered that he wrote operas. I found the manuscript (in the Estense of Modena) of his opera La Sincerità con la Sincerità ossia Il Tirinto. The opera is scored for six singers, two violins and basso continuo, and is made up of three acts with a prologue at the beginning and an aggiunta se piace (add if it pleases you) at the end. In-between act one and two is an intermezzo.

These three sections, prologue, intermezzo and aggiunta se piace add other characters that are not in the opera proper. For example, the prologue begins in Piazza Navona, where these characters meet to travel the short distance to Ariccia, to see the opera. The Intermezzo takes place in a sort of coffee bar in the nearby town of Frascati where the Mayor and another citizen are discussing the first act of the opera, especially berating one of the singers (Lisa la Vecchia, counter-tenor) who just so happens to be at the bar, overhearing their conversation. It does not end well. The music in the opera is very similar to his Sant’Agnese, except that this work is secular and quite lewd.

Several seasons ago, we started doing something I call an intermezzo. We put an hour of music in-between our two concerts, presentation and discussion. These intermezzi happen on the Sunday performances and we plan to hear parts of this delightful and rarely performed opera (mentioned above) on March 16th in the gathering space of St. Mary’s Chapel on the St. Paul Seminary Campus. I hope you will join us for that series of concerts in the Spring.

Tante cose buone e arriverderci pretso!
Lots of good things and we will see you soon!

Garrick Comeaux, Founder

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