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Salon/Sanctuary Concerts
(646) 470-1837

Go to http://www.salonsanctuary.org
or call 1 888 718-4253

$25 senior/students
$35 general admission
$50 prime seating
$100 front row season supporter (partially tax-deductible)

Go to http://www.viaggidicaravaggio.org

Program Notes, I Viaggi di Caravaggio

Jessica Gould, soprano
Diego Cantalupi, theorbo

March 7, 8:00pm
The House of the Redeemer

7 East 95th Street

Music of Ferrari, Kapsberger, Mazzocchi, Merula, Rigatti, and Sances.

Rome, May 28 1606

Between the hours of seven and ten in the evening, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, painter and scholar of S. Luca, after a quarrel during a game of tennis, mortally injured Ranuccio Tommasoni. In reality, the game of tennis was only a pretense: Caravaggio had had a relationship with Tommasoni's wife Lavinia Giugioli, from which issued a daughter. But that wasn’t all: Tommasoni would have hated Caravaggio also for “professional” motivations. Despite originating from a wealthy family, Tommasoni was reputedly stopped by the Vatican police in the company of a prostitute. Determined to be her pimp, he was put in the company of and competition with Caravaggio, who during his Roman sojourn would have engaged in the same profession.


Different details of Maddalena Antognetti, known as "Lena" as the Madonna, in two different paintings by Caravaggio

Lavinia was not the only lover of Caravaggio. Maddalena Antognetti, called “Lena,” described in various chronicles as a “lover of Michelangelo” will be one of the models depicted in some of Caravaggio’s most famous paintings. Young Lena was previously the lover of the Cardinal Montalto, then of Monsignor Melchiorre Crescenzi and of Cardinal Peretti, nephew of Pope Sixtus V. She was part of a group of high level prostitutes which included Fillide Melandroni, Menica Calvi, and Tella Brunori.


Caravaggio, Maddalena in Estasi

To use Lena as the model for Maddalena in Estasi was a risky move, as the young woman was very well known in Rome. That the Council of Trent had specifically banned “all the licentiousness of a shamelessly beautiful figure” and notably, above all that of a prostitute, created a dangerous situation inviting many adversaries. As soon as the duel was finished, concluding with the death of Tommasoni, the conversations turned immediately to where a painter as famous as Caravaggio would flee while injured. Perhaps he found refuge with Cardinal Dal Monte (ready to set in motion a flight from Rome), or maybe he escaped to Palazzo Giustiniani, or maybe still he was at Palazzo Colonna, finishing off his Roman years right where they began. It is precisely between these palace walls he would meet some of the greatest geniuses of his day: Domenico Mazzocchi, who was in the service of Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini, of the Borghese family, the Cardinal Odoardo Farnese and the Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, then elected to the Pontifical throne as Urban VIII.


Interior, Palazzo Colonna

The intensity, gravity, and the emotional detachment of the Maddalena ricorre alle Lagrime cannot have been suggested by anything other than the Maddalena in estasi (Model: Maddalena Antognetti, called Lena). Along this line of thinking, it is difficult not to conjecture a visual suggestion present in many composers, Roman and not, from the beginning of the 17th century: The Crown of Thorns of Caravaggio, in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna and the cantata Queste dolenti spine of Benedetto Ferrari, a composer of Modena who worked in Rome from 1617 to 1618, or the Deposition of Christ, seen in the Vatican Museum, and the Stabat Mater of Giovanni Felice Sances, born in Rome in 1600. Or still the Nativity with Saints Laurence and Francis (model: the prostitute Fillide Melandroni), in the collection of the Oratorio of Saint Laurence in Palermo, and the Canzonetta spirituale sopra la Nanna of Tarquinio Merula of Cremona; The Annunciation, viewable in Nacy and the motet Ave Regina Caelorum of Giovanni Antonio Rigatti; the Rest during the Flight into Egypt (model: the prostitute Anna Bianchini, known as “Annuncia”) in the collection of the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, and the Ninna Nanna of Girolamo Kapsberger (1580 – 1671), the Venetian-born composer and lutenist, but active in Rome at the court of Urban VIII.


The Crown of Thorns

Caravaggio - La Deposizione di Cristo

The Deposition of Christ

Great virtuoso of the instrument and probably the teacher of Girolamo Frescobaldi, Kapsberger represents a bridge between the music and lute-playing technique of the Renaissance and the new Stylus Phantasticus of the Baroque. He is greater than both, in my opinion, incarnating in music the same spirit of innovation and wonder that Caravaggio represents for painting.

– Diego Cantalupi, English translation by Jessica Gould


The Rest on the Flight into Egypt


The Annunciation


The Program


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