The soiree was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Italy. It was the first time La Venexiana performed in our capital. The program included the works of Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, Alessandro Stradella, Domenico Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, and George Frideric Handel. Foreign critics call the ensemble “a new Orpheus of Italian madrigal.” La Venexiana has taken place in numerous international festivals, specifically in Great Britain, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, and other countries. The ensemble’s repertoire includes opera arias, oratorios, cantatas, and also jazz pieces. The band established a new style of performing the early Italian music: this is a warm and really Mediterranean mixture of text recital, rhetorical hues, and purity of harmony. On the eve of the tour, owing to the support of the staff of the Embassy of Italy to Ukraine and the Italian Institute of Culture, The Day managed to talk with the artistic director of the ensemble La Venexiana Claudio CAVINA and maestro answered a couple of questions of our newspaper.
“MUSIC IS FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS”
“This is my first visit to Ukraine, and the members of our ensemble are really interested in getting to know the country we know only from TV reports,” Cavina admitted. “I know that Ukrainian audience is knowledgeable about classical music, therefore we will have to put maximum efforts to please the audience.”
How was the ensemble La Venexiana created?
“It happened over 15 years ago. I wanted to show that music is feelings and emotions. Therefore in 1996 I created this ensemble, which has covered a long way in performing of all music pieces by Claudio Monteverdi, which we have recorded in full. At the moment we are broadening our repertoire with the help of Scarlatti, Handel, and Vivaldi’s works.”
Unfortunately, in Ukraine there are not many musicians who specialize in performing of Italian madrigal. What peculiar features distinguish the Italian baroque music and madrigal?
“Above all, this is a poetic text. In the end of the 14th century Italian composers gave life to the new style, which is typical of Italy. They considered that the word came first, whereas music had to follow and serve it. That was a real revolution. Our ensemble La Venexiana, known over the world namely owing to this characteristics, has undertaken the role of a standard-bearer of the music of Claudio Monteverdi, the most important composer and harbinger of this music revolution.”
On international level your ensemble is one of the most outstanding performers of madrigal. You have managed to recreate many unknown pages of this music style and each new program of yours is a real event for the lovers of music. What works will be performed in Kyiv?
“We decided to offer for Ukrainian connoisseurs of music art a program which covers a broad spectrum. Therefore we have chosen various music pages, from Monteverdi and Handel. I am speaking about arias and extracts from operas by such authors as Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli (he was Monteverdi’s follower in Venice), Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, and George Frideric Handel. I’m sure the audience will appreciate the versatility of the program and its chronology.”
SURPRISES FROM DIPLOMATS
Italy’s Ambassador to Ukraine Fabrizio Romano, who is the patron of the philharmonic soiree, agreed for a blitz interview with The Day.
Mr. Romano, we know you are quite an expert in classical music. How do you assess the level of music culture in Ukraine?
“The level of music culture I have seen in Kyiv (I cannot say for the whole country) is indisputably high. This refers both to the preferences of the audience and professionalism of the performers. This did not come as a surprise for me, because I had had an opportunity to listen to Ukrainian musicians and singers in Italy and my best expectations have been confirmed.”
For many years the Embassy of Italy and Italian Institute of Culture have been among the main partners of our leading music establishments. For example, Ukrainian music lovers still remember the joint projects with the National Opera of Ukraine, the annual cycle “Golden Pages of the Italian Music” held at the National Philharmonic Society, where the musicians showed to the music lovers various epochs of the Italian classics. Aren’t there any plans to hold this kind of large creative projects?
“Due to my efforts, a person who is known well here owing to his previous fruitful and successful activity has been appointed the director of the Italian Institute of Culture and will soon start performing his duties. So I can say that this work will continue, hopefully, on the same high level, even despite the current conditions of resources shrink. After my arrival in Ukraine, several months ago, I had a pleasure to organize The Days of Italian Culture in Kyiv (exhibits, book launches, the production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, etc.), as well as a number of other very interesting events. Now, owing to the support of Pravex-Bank, which is part of the Italian Intesa Sanpaolo Group, on October 14 we will present a concert of the ensemble La Venexiana, one of the world’s best performers of madrigal and vocal singing of baroque time, at the National Philharmonic Society.”
“FOR THREE WEEKS OF THE MONTH I PERFORM THE DUTIES OF AN AMBASSADOR’S WIFE, AND I DEDICATE THE FOURTH ONE TO MUSIC”
The wife of Italy’s Ambassador Mrs. Nancy Romano, a professional musician, the founder and conductor of the female chorus at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy (which have had a successful performance in this year’s June), kindly told about her project.
“In 2008 I founded at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a female chorus of the wives of Italian diplomats, which I am still heading. In spite of its young age, the chorus has performed in the most prestigious halls of Rome and other Italian cities. It has also completed two foreign tours: in 2011 to Madrid and recently – in Kyiv, where it performed in St. Andrew’s Church and the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. We have been invited to Lisbon for 2013. Last year the chorus released its first CD disc. Currently I perform the duties of an ambassador’s wife for three weeks, and I dedicate the fourth one to music, go to Rome to conduct the chorus and hold concerts.”
You have recently organized a show of Italian fashion in cooperation with the Ukrainian Fashion Week. Do you have an intention to assist in holding in Ukraine music and fashion events, etc.?
“Of course, it is most desirable for me to realize namely music projects, because taking into account my specialization, I can count on my professional knowledge and experience.
“Besides music, there are many other spheres that refer to the realm of beauty, where Italy is playing the leading role: art, cinema, fashion, etc.
“Ukraine is a state with a huge interest to culture, and in many of its branches you boast considerable achievements that you can be proud of. Therefore I think that there is a favorable groundwork for a joint organization of artistic projects, which will be interesting for both of our countries.”