No, not the man of Vinci, the question is about Leonardo Leo (1694-1744),
the Neapolitan composer, described in a program note tonight as "striving
to keep up with a long list of commissions for operatic works to be
performed in Bologna, Milan, Naples, Rome, Turin, and Venice." An
impressive list, but I, for one, never heard any of the operas... or
even saw them mentioned. In fact, if you go to the Webpage dedicated
to to Leo - http://www.leonardoleo.com/ - it doesn't list operas.
The occasion for encountering L.L. was an American Bach Soloists concert
in Belvedere (Marin), a program of Vivaldi, Guillemain, CPE Bach, Farina,
JS Bach, Schmelzer... and Leo's Concerto for Violoncello, Strings, and
Basso Continuo in D Major.
With William Skeen's virtuoso violoncello performance - backed by such
worthies as violinists Elizabeth Blumenstock, Katherine Kyme, Carla
Moore, Lisa Weiss, harpsichordist Corey Jamason and contrabassist Steven
Lehnin - the concerto served as an exciting introduction to Leo, whose
music features elements of Purcellian majesty, against a varied, imaginative
background. I hope to find some of his operas around.
Also in the ABS program, an ad for the North American premiere of Lully's
"Psyche" (his "most extravagant opera"). at the June 2007 Boston Early
Music Festival, with Carolyn Sampson as Psyche and Karina Gauvin as
Incidentally, how much longer do we have to wait for return of "our own"
Philharmonia Baroque and Nic McGegan to the War Memorial? Surely, they
could do Psyche and throw in a couple of Leo's operas into the program.
Not good box office? Do it as concert performances, allowing inexpensive
tickets (on top of support from affluent Baroquians). Also, how about
the Mark Morris-*staged* production of "Platee"? We could all use some
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