Friday, 9 June 2017

An eloquent evening's entertainment: Les Talens Lyriques in Zefiro Torna

Anders J Dahlin and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro
Anders J Dahlin and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro
Zefiro torna, Monteverdi madrigals & opera excerpts; Les Talens Lyriques; St John's Smith Square
Reviewed by Anthony Evans on June 7 2017
Star rating: 4.0

A beguiling and illuminating concert illustrating the innovative nature of Monteverdi's music

Wednesday night’s concert (7 June 2017), Zefiro torna, at St. John’s Smith Square featured Les Talens Lyriques, conductor Christophe Rousse and tenors Anders J Dahlin and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, in a diverse programme of madrigals and excerpts from Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea highlighting Monteverdi’s contribution to a less formal and naturalistic musical language using an expanded musical vocabulary reflecting character and emotion "to affect the soul".

This beguiling and illuminating concert illustrated just how innovative Monteverdi could be. This is a style far removed from the formalism and artifice that preceded it.


The delicate madrigals “Chiome d’oro and “O come sei gentile” from book seven are pictures of beauty and restraint whilst in contrast those from book eight “Guerrieri e amorosi “ are agitated and intense. The cry of “mai” (never) in “O sia tranquillo il mare” made my hair stand on end.

In the opera excerpts from Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea we saw a move towards a more flexible and realistic theatrical style, dramma per musica; the vivid word painting a far cry from dry declamation.

I was less convinced by “Zefiro Torna”, from the ninth book of madrigals, an ode to Zephyr that ushers in the spring and it’s concomitant joys. It all seemed a little too restrained and poised.

With sensuous voices of milk and honey Anders Dahlin and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro were at times achingly beautiful. I like my passion a little rougher around the edges and wished that they had loosened their stays as they did to such effect in the comic interludes Iro’s “O dolor” and “Chi va li” when Poppea’s guards gossip about their master’s affairs. But this was invigorating stuff and an eloquent evening;s entertainment.
Reviewed by Anthony Evans

Zefiro Torna - Les Talens Lyriques
Wednesday 7 June 2017 - St. John’s Smith Square
Tenors : Anders J. Dahlin & Emiliano Gonzalez Toro
Violin : Gilone Gaubert-Jacques & Josepha Jegard
Cello : Emmanuel Jacques
Conductor, Harpsichord & Organ : Christophe Rousset

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