The Portland Baroque Orchestra will present “Breathtaking – A Voice and Cornetto Entwined” on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 4 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College.
The concert will feature Bruce Dickey on cornetto and Hana Blažíková, soprano. Also performing will be Monica Huggett, Portland Baroque Orchestra artistic director, violin; Tekla Cunningham, violin; Joanna Blendulf, viola da gamba; Michael Sponsellor, organ and harpsichord; and Stephen Stubbs, theorbo. The concert will include sonatas, arias and sinfonias, as well as a newly commissioned piece specifically for this project, “Mélena imí” by Calliope Tsoupaki.
Dickey has been responsible, more than anyone else, for reviving the cornetto and raising it to the level of a virtuoso solo instrument. A rising star, Blažíková had the cornetto and its bright, slightly metallic sweetness as a model for her vocal sound from the time she began singing. Once Dickey and Blažíková began collaborating, they realized they were uniquely positioned to explore of the affinities of the instrument with the voice.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the cornetto was known widely for its ability to imitate the human voice. This program puts this imitation center stage, “breathtaking” both because the voice and the cornetto literally make music with the breath that might figuratively take the listeners’ breath away.
Dickey is a performer and researcher who has devoted himself to the revival of the cornetto. He has taught cornetto and 17th Century performance practice at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland since 1976, and is the founder and co-director of the Concerto Palatino. In 2000, the Historic Brass Society awarded him the Christopher Monk Award for “his monumental work in cornetto performance, historical performance practice and musicological scholarship.”
Blažíková was born in Prague and, as a child, sang in the Radost Praha Children’s Choir and played the violin. In 2002, she graduated from the Prague Conservatory and today specializes in baroque, renaissance and medieval music, performing with ensembles and orchestras across the world. She has also performed at many world festivals including Edinburgh International Festival and the Arts Festival Hong-Kong. In 2011, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall with Masaaki Suzuki’s Back Collegium Japan and, in the same year, sang in the St. John Passion with Boston Symphony Orchestra.
This concert is sponsored by the Linfield Lively Arts and Lacroute Arts Series. Admission is free for Linfield students and students grades K-12, and $10 for public admission. For more information, contact the Linfield College Department of Music at 503-883-2275 or visit linfield.edu/arts.