… Know then that the spectacle
of which I speak is seen in the mind
into which it enters by the ears, not the eyes.
Instead of looking, you must listen!
Orazio Vecchi’s L’Amfiparnaso

The Present ensemble reveals what happens when eight people and seven languages come together and do so with a seamless combination of early and new music. The starting point and connecting link is Luciano Berio’s A-Ronne composed in 1974. The works of the old masters (including Monteverdi, Gesualdo and Vecchi) date from the late 16th century, shortly before the emergence of opera. Polyphonic madrigals were the most popular genre at the time. They provide a musical narrative about people’s lives, about love, suffering, hunger and desire, and can be funny, tragic or touching. Without any visible scenery, the soloists project characters of the commedia dell’arte with all their loving, scolding, intrigue and mockery. A-Ronne carries on the tradition of the late madrigal in its own special way. Originally written for a radio broadcast, the characters wrestle vividly for and with words. There is talking, whispering, stuttering, teaching and laughing, and in the midst of it all we find the Renaissance. A veritable theatre for the ears.

The Present – Vocal Ensemble
Hanna Herfurtner, Olivia Stahn – soprano
Ida Aldrian, Amélie Saadia – alto
Mirko Ludwig, Tim Karweick – tenor
Felix Schwandtke, Martin Gerke – bass

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