Jessica Gould, soprano
Diego Cantalupi, archlute
Charles Weaver, theorbo
James Waldo, cello
Kenneth Hamrick, harpsichord
A Cardinal who never took holy orders, Mazarin, né Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino (1602 – 1661), was born near Naples, grew up in Rome, and became Chief Minister of France. The most powerful advisor to Louis XIV was more fascinated by art than theology, and although Bernini in Paris would ultimately be the prize of Mazarin’s successor, the Cardinal imported innumerable Italian compositions and a fair number of Italian composers to his adopted country. His dedication to artistic splendor was a hallmark of his tenure and a gift to subsequent generations.
Native sons whom he championed include Luigi Rossi (1597 – 1653), whose Orfeo was one of the first operas to be staged in France, Virgilio Mazzocchi (1597 – 1646), and Giacomo Carissimi (1605 – 1674), who became the teacher of Charpentier. Their music, mostly Roman, and mostly born of the decadent Barberini papal court, came to transform the course of French music. Arias, cantatas, and operas by these Italian composers and more can be found to this day at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, where many treasures of Mazarin’s collection still await a performance in our own time.
A wine and cheese reception follows the concert.