Divas of Mozart’s Day
Unique Concert Brings To Life 18th Century Vienna
The program, based on recent research by music historian Dorothea Link (University of Georgia) spotlights the most celebrated divas of late-eighteenth century Vienna through music tailored to their talents by Mozart, Salieri, Cimarosa, Martín y Soler, Vincenzo Righini and Stephen Storace.
The concert features soprano Patrice Michaels and baritone Peter Van De Graaff. Ms. Michaels is acclaimed by New Yorker magazine as "a formidable interpretative talent," by the Chicago Tribune as "a supple voice with the ring of Waterford crystal, and seems able to sing anything effortlessly," and as "nothing short of spectacular" by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Her recordings on Cedille, Amadis, Albany, Music of the Baroque, Gabriella and Phillips labels receive consistent international acclaim. Mr. Van De Graaff's voice is also internationally known both for his singing and as host of the radio program, "Through The Night," syndicated worldwide through the Beethoven Satellite Network.
Divas of Mozart's Day created a sensation upon debut at Northwestern University's Pick Staiger Hall. Record-breaking single program sales and a rave review in the Chicago Tribune were followed by international acclaim for the Cedille Records release of the same name.
Included in the concert are pieces written for five fabled divas: Catarina Cavalieri, the first Constanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio; Nancy Storace, the first Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, the original Fiordiligi in Cosí fan tutte; Luisa Laschi Mombelli, who created the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro; and Louise Villeneuve, the first Dorabella in Cosí fan tutti. Ms. Michaels performs a tour de force nonpareil as she portrays each of the women in turn. Mr. Van De Graaff joins Ms. Michaels for several comic duets, and provides narrative links introducing each of the Divas and sharing some historically informed anecdotes.
The program offers two newly rediscovered Mozart recitatives and six newly rediscovered gems by Salieri, Martín y Soler, Righini and Stephen Storace. The repertoire explores the broad range of musical forms and styles enjoyed by Viennese theatre audiences at the end of the eighteenth century, from the formal two-part rondó style aria to the witty and dance-like song style.