Available languages: EnglishThe Baroque violinist Fabio Biondi has been a pioneer in historically informed musical performance in his native Italy, both as a soloist and as the leader of his own Europa Galante ensemble. His sharp, energetic style has continued to influence the performance of Baroque music even as he himself has broadened his repertory across a 300-year period. Biondi was born in Palermo, on the island of Sicily, on March 15, 1961. He showed talent in his violin lessons with Salvatore Cicero, who would later bequeath to him the use of the Carlo Ferdinando Gagliano violin of 1766 that he would play as an adult. By 12, Biondi was performing concertos with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra. One decisive turning point came when he met historically oriented violin players as a teen and immediately became fascinated by the Baroque and Classical forms of the instrument (which differ from the modern one in their strings, bridges, and bows rather than in the body of the instrument itself). When he was 16, he gave a concert on Baroque violin at Vienna's famed Musikverein, and he formed his own historical-instrument string quartet, the Stendhal Quartet, soon after that; the group did not focus exclusively on Baroque and Classical music but simply performed all its music, which included several commissioned contemporary compositions, on temporally appropriate instruments. Biondi went on to study at the Rome Conservatory, winning the school's first prize in violin. He performed with leading historical-instrument groups including Jordi Savall's Hespèrion XX (now Hespèrion XXI) and Les Musiciens du Louvre in the late 1980s. Biondi's breakthrough came after he formed the Baroque ensemble Europa Galante in 1990. At the time, they were the first historical-instrument Baroque group in Italy, which had lagged behind northwestern Europe, Britain, and Austria in the field. Pent-up demand brought the group immediate success; within a few years they had made several best-selling recordings, including one of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos that sold 500,000 copies, and Europa Galante had snared invitations to prestigious venues including New York's Lincoln Center, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome (one of several venues where they have backed opera productions), and London's Royal Albert Hall. Biondi has also conducted modern symphony orchestras including the Radio France Philharmonic and the Gran Canaria Symphony Orchestra. Biondi's recording career has been marked by extensive activity as both a violinist and conductor. As a soloist he has recorded for Opus 111, Virgin Classics, and Glossa, releasing on the latter label a 2019 recording: The 1690 "Tuscan" Stradivari. The previous year, he had conducted Europa Galante in a historical-instrument performance of Verdi's early opera Macbeth.
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Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4 étoiles Classica
No opera from Handel is as enigmatic as Silla. This fourth London opera was composed in 1713; and that’s as far as our knowledge goes! The written music scores are incomplete and we have no information about any contemporary performance. The first Handel experts tried to find an explanation and agreed upon the theory that Silla was written for a private show in the household of the Count of Burlington, who was at the time the composer’s patron. Then, in 1969, the discovery of a glossary from June 1713 established a possible date of the first performance. The inclusion of an extravagant work dedicated to the Duke d’Aumont, a recently appointed French ambassador, suggests the possibility of a show organized by or for the Duke. That could explain not only the absence of an English translation in the glossary, which is unique about Handel’s London operas, but also the relative brevity of the work.However, some problems remain unresolved. D’Aumont was a leading figure in the London life, and it seems rather unlikely that such an initiative would be ignored by the London press or forgotten by D’Aumont in his own writings. Was Silla played in 1713? As of yet, we can’t say for sure. There are further questions regarding the opera itself, in particular the choice of subject. This is indeed one of the rare historical operas from Handel concerned with Lucius Cornelius Silla’s end of life related by Plutarch; having seized Rome, this consul-come-tyran had his adversaries killed before retiring in a way as sudden as it was incredible in his country house to focus on his hobbies. It’s hard to imagine that this thread could fit an opera probably thought as a commemorative piece of an event of some sort: experts have been struggling to find answers and some have tried to discover an allegorical context. Apart from the theme, the quality and the meaning of the book have also been vehemently criticized. It’s significantly based on Italian cantatas from the composer’s youth and it’s interesting to notice that, as far as the style is concerned, the music goes back to a certain extent to his previous historical opera, Agrippina.Although the absurdities from its book make it an unlikely candidate to find a place in the great operatic repertoire, Silla contains enough musical beauties. Let’s also remember that Handel was holding his work in enough regard to recycle a considerable part of it into his next opera, Amadigi di Gaula. © SM/Qobuz