Arts-Scène Diffusion

Il Festino


Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Madrigals for the three ladies at the Ferrara court

‘It seemed to me that the women who usually intervened at these concerts were, not human creatures, but truly angelic spirits.’ It is in these terms that Ercole Bottrigari expressed himself in 1594 about the virtuoso opera singers who were performing at the court of Ferrare: Laura Peperara, Livia d'Arco and Anna Guarini, who accompanied themselves on the harp, viola da gamba and theorbo. Indeed, an aura of mystery and of the supernatural surrounded these three women whose music, composed specially for them by Luzzasco Luzzaschi, was forbidden from being edited and published. After each representation, to which only a privileged few were invited, the scores were locked up in a cupboard. Besides their qualities of diction, memory, smoothness in singing and elegance in posture, the three ladies fascinated their contemporaries by their virtuosity. Thus, to interpret these madrigals, the singers have to master the art of the cantar di gorgia, the summit of vocal technique at the time, where each note is articulated very suavely, in order to produce a legato that, it was said, evoked the whispering of the waters and the rustling of the wind in the leaves. It is only at the death of the heirless Duke Alfonso in 1597 and the devolution of Ferrare to the Papal States that the ban was lifted and that the publication in Rome in 1601 of Luzzaschi’s madrigals could at last see the light. The virtuosity and the perfect relation between text and music of these works would have a clear influence on the Italian masters of the generations coming after Luzzaschi. In order to illustrate this evolution in the vocal music of the seicento, we have included a number of madrigals for two voices by Claudio Monteverdi and an extract for three voices from the opera Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne by Francesco Cavalli. Instrumental pieces by G.G. Kapsperger complete this Italian journey from the early seicento.


Dagmar Saskova, Barbara Kusa, Claire Lefilliatre voice
Ronald Martin Alonso viola & lyrone
xx theorbo
Paolo Zanzu harpsichord
Manuel de Grange theorbo & direction


Ouest France, 23 octobre 2016

Il Festino charme sur des airs de Luzzaschi. L'ensemble Il Festino a fait salle comble samedi soir au théâtre de l'Arche de Tréguier. Les soprani et les instrumentistes ont fait revivre les airs des Dames de Ferrare (Italie) de la fin du XVIe.

Sylvie Ribot, Ouest France, 24 novembre 2016

Émouvante, passionnée, désespérée, raffinée, primesautière... La musique et la femme n'ont fait qu'un ce week-end. Il Festino a régalé le public [...] Les airs prennent aux tripes et les entendre ainsi se consumer d’amour ne laisse pas le public indifférent. Surtout que les instrumentistes, tout en délicatesse, rivalisent eux aussi de virtuosité aux violes, à la harpe, au théorbe, au clavecin.


Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Madrigali per cantare e sonare a uno, e doi, e tre soprani, Roma, 1601.



Aura Soave

Dagmar Saskova, voice


Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Luzzasco Luzzaschi

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