Alexander Lingas Interviewed at IBMF

Doxologia has published a new video “In Dialogue” with Alexander Lingas from Cappella Romana’s time at the Iași Byzantine Music Festival in 2017:

Help Us Reach Our Goal!

Cappella Romana changes lives through music. I really believe that, especially in our world today where beauty, truth, and goodness seem to be in short supply.

You’ve experienced the music of Cappella Romana. And you know its capacity to reach deep into your soul.

That’s why I’m writing to ask you to make a special gift today.

We’ve worked hard this season to reach new people, both locally and on tour. It’s been a record year, with international tours to Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and the UK.

As you look ahead to Cappella Romana’s 27th year, do consider making a new gift before June 30. We have a goal of $10,000 and we are already half way there. Help us reach it today!

You’ll support next season’s programming in the Northwest and our new series in San Francisco, matched in part by Cappella Romana’s first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Your gift to Cappella Romana will put the music you love on solid footing.

Thank you for your support. I hope you’ll consider making a gift today.

Yours always,

Mark Powell
Executive Director
Cappella Romana

Make A Gift

Cappella Romana on Tour!

May 27 and 28, members of Cappella Romana head to Pennsylvania before a four-city European tour highlighted by Cappella Romana’s Hungarian debut on June 2!

Full Tour Dates

Mark Powell and David Hendrix in Pennsylvania

27 May, 2018

 

Memorial Day Pilgrimage

28 May, 2018

 

Cappella Romana in Budapest

2 JUN, 2018

 

Cappella Romana in Debrecen

3 JUN, 2018

 

Concert in Novi Sad

4 JUN, 2018

 

Cappella Romana at The Hellenic Centre, London

June 6

 

ArtsWatch Reviews Venice In The East

Cappella Romana Rehearsing Venice in the East

Cappella Romana Rehearsing Venice in the EastBruce Browne reviewed Cappella Romana’s Saturday, April 28, 2018 performance of Venice in the East for Oregon ArtsWatch:

Present were exquisite moments of choral artistry, impeccable tuning, bravura singing by all and thoughtful phrasing, especially by John Michael Boyer and Mark Powell, who together stood at the pinnacle of the solo work, especially many of the delicious priestly intonations.…

The theme of this concert, Venice in the East, has historical appeal. Dr. Lingas presented a musical perspective of the close ties of Venice to Greece, particularly in Crete, beginning in the sixth century. The sharing of religious traditions – liturgy, ritual and music – was palpable in chant, embellishments and in text. …

In the first half, Photini Downie Robinson and Kerry McCarthy matched their voices in dissonant ecstasy in their duet “Cum autem venissent” (But when they came to the place) from the Liber Sacerdotalis. In the following pieces, listening to all the vivid ornaments, generated overtones, modal inflections, and multi hued colors was like watching a synchronized swimming team. …

The quality of scholarship and historic authenticity is a hallmark of Cappella Romana’s 27-year history.

They set a high bar in this regard and succeed…this concert was an indication of why the choir and Dr. Lingas are known and respected around the world.”

Cappella Romana Awarded New Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Cappella Romana

Cappella RomanaNational Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an ArtWorks grant of $10,000 to Cappella Romana to launch a new three-concert series in San Francisco.

The ArtWorks category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
 
“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Cappella Romana, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.” 

“We are thrilled with the endorsement of our work by the NEA,” said Mark Powell, executive director of Cappella Romana. “Cappella Romana has the power to engage audiences all over the world, and we are looking forward to sharing three beautiful programs in San Francisco at the very place where Cappella Romana gave its first concert in 1991.”
 
After a successful presentation in January 2018 of The 12 Days of Christmas in the East in San Francisco, Cappella Romana will launch its series there with three concerts in the 2018-19 season, all at St. Ignatius Parish, 650 Parker Avenue on Fulton Street, in the heart of San Francisco:

Rachmaninoff’s 
All-Night Vigil “Vespers”
Saturday, 29 September 2018
8:00 pm
Christmas in Ukraine
Choral Concerto & Carols
Saturday, 5 January 2019
8:00 pm
Venice the East:
 Renaissance Crete
Saturday, 11 May 2019
8:00 pm
Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece, directed by Slavic choral expert Benedict Sheehan
Including the Choral Concerto for Christmas by Dmitri Bortnianksy, directed by Ukrainian music scholar and conductor Marika Kuzma.
Directed by music director and founder Alexander Lingas, the Eastertide program commissioned from Cappella Romana by the Utrecht Early Music Festival in the Netherlands. With CD release.

The SunBreak Reviews “Venice in the East”

Cappella Romana Rehearsing Venice in the East

Cappella Romana Rehearsing Venice in the EastSeattle’s The SunBreak reviews Cappella Romana’s April 27, 2018 Venice in the East performance:

“Hearing Cappella Romana singing in St. James Cathedral is to hear a slice of heaven. … As always, the presentation was scholarly, as accurate a portrayal of the music as it would have been performed as can be ascertained through diligent research. … Within that steady beat and minimal dynamic range (mostly medium loud), the group could still bring out expressivity. Thus one piece sounded devout but on the cheerful side, another contemplative, another vigorous and full of praise. Throughout, there was a sense of serenity which washed over the listener.”

Philippa Kiraly, The SunBreak

See the full review at TheSunBreak.com

Venice in the East Recording Sessions Video

Venice In The East Recording Sessions

Watch Cappella Romana performing the Christos anesti from the Faenza Codex during the Venice in the East recording sessions:

April 27-29, 2018, Italy meets Greece in Venice in the East, a sonic exploration of the Greek Islands when they were ruled by the Venetian empire. Cappella Romana is reviving Renaissance music from Crete, celebrating the island’s historical significance as a vibrant hub for Greco-Italian culture.

The program features thrilling Greek and Latin music for Eastertide, including a boisterous rendition of “Christos anesti” (“Christ is risen”) for full choir. Alexander Lingas, Cappella Romana’s music director and founder, conducts.

2018 Venice in the East Performances

Venice in the East

Venice In The East: April 27-29, 2018

Program Notes by Alexander Lingas

From its emergence as a significant political entity in the sixth century under the rule of the Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) Empire to the dissolution of the Republic by Napoleon in 1797, the city of Venice remained closely tied to the Greek East. Following the diversion of the Fourth Crusade to sack Constantinople in the year 1204, Venice not only seized for itself priceless treasures that to this day adorn their Byzantine-style church of San Marco, but also began to acquire its own empire of colonies in the Eastern Mediterranean. The size of this empire waxed and waned according to the fortunes of Venice and its political and economic competitors, which included at various times such other western powers as the Genoese and the French, as well the Byzantines and, especially from the fourteenth century onwards, the Ottoman Turks.

For centuries the most prominent and prosperous Greek-speaking colony of Venice was Crete, which it acquired in 1204. During the two centuries prior to its conquest by the Ottomans in 1669, Crete developed a flourishing Greco-Italian Renaissance culture. Meanwhile, in 1489 control of Cyprus passed from the French Lusignan dynasty to the Venetian Republic, which held it until its capture by the Turks in 1571. After the fall of Crete, Venice’s only Greek colonies were the Ionian Islands. The arrival of Cretan refugees bolstered cultural life of the larger islands of Corfu, Zante, Lefkada, and Cephalonia, which to this day retain Italianate linguistic, cultural and musical traditions. Meanwhile, Venice itself came to host a flourishing Greek minority that had gained a measure of cultural and religious autonomy in the sixteenth century with the building of the church of San Giorgio dei Greci.

The split that had occurred between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches at the beginning of the second Christian millennium caused varying amounts of friction through the centuries between Venetian rulers and Greek subjects. Further confusion arose with the attempt to reunify the churches at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438–39), in the wake of which an Orthodox Divine Liturgy was celebrated in San Marco and Metropolitan Bessarion of Nicea, a prominent Byzantine churchman and intellectual whose books served as the original core of the Venetian Biblioteca Marciana, became a Cardinal of the Roman Church. Although the Orthodox chafed at strictures imposed upon them – in Crete, for example, they were allowed to retain their own lower clergy even as the consecration of local Orthodox bishops was forbidden –the general trend over time was toward greater religious toleration.

This program presents music from Venice and its Greek colonies that in various ways testifies to the sharing of religious traditions. It begins with excerpts from the Greek and Latin ceremonies of the Easter Triduum that display both parallel developments in liturgical piety and the sharing of musical and ritual elements. Both Venetians and Cretans marked the Passion and Deposition from the Cross of Christ with thematically similar rituals involving the use of simple forms of polyphony. Likewise, they possessed similar ceremonies for the opening of their churches on Easter Day and the Paschal greeting “Christ has risen!” (Surrexit Christus/!Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!). Both traditions are incorporated into the polyphonic setting of the Easter Troparion “Christ has risen” from the Codex Faenza 117, which follows the Cretan melody for this Greek hymn with the Latin response “Deo gratias”.

This concert continues with other music illustrating points of musical and ritual interchange between the Greek and Latin traditions under Venetian rule. The setting of the Latin recension of the hymn Gloria in excelsis to Byzantine chant is the work two Greek musicians: Manuel Gazes the Lampadarios and Ioannis Plousiadenos (ca. 1429–1500). Gazes evidently moved to Crete from Constantinople during the first half of the fifteenth century, where he taught the composer and scribe Angelos Gregoriou, who as a monk had also visited Mount Athos. Another Constantinopolitan composer who found refuge in Crete during the same period was Ioannis Laskaris, whose career on the island as a teacher and agitator for the rights of his native church is well documented in the archives of Venice.

Plousiadenos was a priest, music theorist, scribe, and composer who lived in Venice for significant portions of his life and died as a Roman Catholic bishop ministering to his religiously mixed Christian flock during a Turkish siege of the Venetian outpost of Methone in the Peloponnesus. During his years in Italy, Plousiadenos became a protégé of Cardinal Bessarion, who commissioned the hymn in fifteen-syllable verse to the Virgin Mary that concludes this program. This piece is known to survive only in Mt Athos Koutloumousiou 448, a manuscript copied in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century by the Cretan composer Benedict Episkopopoulos. Music of this later period is represented by a setting of the Greek Orthodox text of the Creed – that is, without the Latin addition of the phrase “filioque” —by the “New Teachers” of Crete recorded by Theodore Rhodakinos in MS Sinai Gr. 1552, and the music of Hieronymos Tragodistes of Cyprus, a scribe and student of the Venetian theorist Gioseffo Zarlino.

Oregon ArtsWatch on The Tudor Choir

The Tudor Choir
The Tudor Choir

Photo by Jesson Mata

“The Tudor Choir re-opened for business this month. On hiatus since 2015, the ensemble presented one concert in their hometown of Seattle and two more in the Portland Metro area, at St. Mary’s Cathedral and in Hillsboro’s St. Matthew’s Church. The latter is a wonderfully accessible venue with a reverberant acoustic, challenging but with potential for this concert’s Tudor period music in which melismatic lines and reiterated melodies are woven through cleanly defined harmonies – when the choir and director find a way to bring this to the fore. …

[The premiere of Nico] Muhly’s Small Raine showed depth and gravitas, with shimmering added-note harmonies taking different paths of composition than anything else on the program. And yet, the piece was based on the same ancient secular tune, “Western Wind,” used in the Taverner Mass. …

Director Fullington wisely placed Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, by Seattle composer Jeff Junkinsmith (b. 1956), at the end of the first half of Tudor works. The choir commissioned this piece in 2001 and it is difficult to imagine it being performed better. It awakened the senses by flirting with bi-tonality, tertiary harmonies and lush texture. These excellent musicians dissected the dissonances as if wielding precision German steel. …

Hillsboro, Oregon’s fifth largest city, has great audience potential. … Cappella Romana deserves kudos for facilitating this event. There is cultural building to be done, surely, but more groups should be encouraged to come to Hillsboro rather than the opposite. … Just keep fine groups like the Tudor Choir coming. Do not miss them when they take the stage near you. The makings for an outstanding choral experience are there. It’s good to have them back.”

Bruce Browne, Oregon ArtsWatch

Watch “Venice in the East” at the Utrecht Early Music Festival

Watch a video from Cappella Romana’s 2016 Venice in the East performance at the Utrecht Early Music Festival!

April 27-29, 2018, Italy meets Greece in Venice in the East, a sonic exploration of the Greek Islands when they were ruled by the Venetian empire. Cappella Romana is reviving Renaissance music from Crete, celebrating the island’s historical significance as a vibrant hub for Greco-Italian culture.

The program features thrilling Greek and Latin music for Eastertide, including a boisterous rendition of “Christos anesti” (“Christ is risen”) for full choir. Alexander Lingas, Cappella Romana’s music director and founder, conducts.

2018 Venice in the East Performances