Friday 28 January 2022

Watch our extract of English Touring Opera's new film of Ferrandini's Il pianto di Maria

English Touring Opera might be back on the road, but its ETO at Home project continues apace. The latest video, which streams tonight at 7.30pm and will then be available free on ETO's website, is Giovanni Battista Ferrandini's Il pianto di Maria performed by mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby with the Old Street Band, conductor Jonathan Peter Kenny. The film, directed by Rebecca van Beeck is very much a visual interpretation of the cantata rather than a filmed concert. Van Beek juxtaposes film of Carby's performance with images of mothers and sons, love and loss, plus footage of natural forces echoing the tumultuous earthquakes described in the original poem.

Ferrandini (1710-1791) was well-known in his day; his opera Catone in Utica opened the new Bavarian Court Theatre in Munich in 1753. The theatre still survives, now known as  the Cuvilliés Theatre after the architect. In retirement he was visited in Padua by the young Mozart and his father.  One of his pupils was the tenor Anton Raff who sang the title role in Mozart’s Idomeneo when it premiered in Cuvilliés theatre in 1781. Il pianto di Maria was one of a number of sacred cantatas that Ferrandini , wrote; long attributed to Handel, you rather suspect that Ferrandini's fame resting now on this sole work is rather due to this misattribution and perhaps this terrific film will encourage people to explore his music. There is a recording of Catone in Utica made in the Cuvilliés theatre in 2004, on OEHMS [available from Amazon], and still apparently the only recording of a Ferrandini opera!

Il piano di Maria will be available on the ETO at Home website from 7.30pm on Friday 28 January 2022.

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