Tafelmusik brings an 18th-century Roman soirée to vivid life with The Harlequin Salon, a new multimedia program created, scripted, and illustrated by Tafelmusik oboist and artist Marco Cera. Combining music, caricature sketches, projected images, costumes, and text, The Harlequin Salon opens a door into the glittering world of Pier Leone Ghezzi – renowned painter, consummate party host, and history’s first professional caricaturist. The Harlequin Salon features guest artists Roberta Invernizzi, soprano, and Dino Gonçalves, actor, with stage direction by Guillaume Bernardi (Frankfurt Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company). The world premiere performances take place January 16 to 20, 2019 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Full program details are available at tafelmusik.org.
A member of Tafelmusik since 2007, Cera is also an established visual artist whose own caricatures in the style of Ghezzi will be projected during the performances. He first encountered Ghezzi’s sketches as reference material: “Ghezzi left behind more than 4,000 drawings depicting Roman society, including most of the important musicians of his era,” explains Cera. “They provide rich details on the musical instruments, hairstyles, furniture, posture, and lifestyle of musicians from the time.” The guests at Ghezzi’s salon parties were frequently the subject of his legendary caricatures – the baroque equivalent of an Instagram post.
Cera’s point of departure for The Harlequin Salon was to imagine what would happen at one of Ghezzi’s famous soirées if well-known musicians and composers of the era were to rub shoulders with Harlequin, the boisterous and beloved servant character from Italy’s commedia dell’arte tradition. True to form, Harlequin upstages the evening’s entertainment with amorous overtures and zany lazzi (gags).
Harlequin, portrayed by Dino Gonçalves (Artistic Director of Théâtre Novo, Harlequin for Teatro del Sorriso, Metaphysical Theatre, and Dérives urbaines), is infatuated with the celebrated prima donna Faustina Bordoni. Portrayed by the superb Italian soprano Roberta Invernizzi, (La Scala productions of Handel’s Rinaldo and Monteverdi’s Orfeo; performances at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, La Fenice, Musikverein, Salzburg Festival, and Wigmore Hall), Signora Faustina sings arias by Porpora, Vinci, and Broschi.
Cera’s imaginary guest list also includes the renowned baroque violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi, portrayed by Music Director Elisa Citterio; and the prolific composer and cellist Giovanni Bononcini, portrayed by Felix Deak. Members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra join the salon to play instrumental music by Vivaldi, Bononcini, and Gasparini – composers Ghezzi met and portrayed in his sketches.
The creative team for The Harlequin Salon includes Patrick Lavender, lighting and projections design; Ramon Cespedes, videographer; Domenico Pietropaolo, script consultant; Ivars Taurins, costumes and props advisor; and Franca Simone, costume construction.
The Harlequin Salon production sponsor is KPMG. Roberta Invernizzi’s appearance is supported by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura. The performances on January 19 and 20 are sponsored by Trina McQueen and Fondazione Italia, respectively.
Audience members are invited to join director Guillaume Bernardi for a free pre-concert chat one hour before each performance.
Roberta Invernizzi presents a masterclass on Sunday, January 13, 2 to 4 pm at Jeanne Lamon Hall. Open to the public, admission is free with a suggested donation of $10.
Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is one of the world’s leading period ensembles and Canada’s most-toured orchestra. Tafelmusik engages Toronto audiences with an annual season of more than 80 concerts in diverse venues across the city, as well as national and international audiences through an extensive schedule of tours and critically acclaimed recordings. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. Tafelmusik also seeks to transport audiences to the baroque and classical periods through adventurous cross-cultural collaborations, on stage with Toronto’s Opera Atelier, and underground at its Haus Musik series. The orchestra’s musicians share their knowledge and experience through artist training initiatives such as the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer and Winter Institutes. Tafelmusik’s catalogue of award-winning recordings on the SONY, CBC Records, Analekta, and Tafelmusik Media labels have garnered nine JUNO Awards and numerous other recording prizes. Jeanne Lamon continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita.