Tempesta di Mare returns to Chestnut Hill for new season

by Michael Caruso
Posted 8/18/22

Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia’s internationally acclaimed, baroque-period instruments orchestra, has announced its 2022-23 season.

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Tempesta di Mare returns to Chestnut Hill for new season


Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia’s internationally acclaimed, baroque-period instruments orchestra, has announced its 2022-23 season. The roster of concerts and recitals includes five performances in Chestnut Hill at several venues to be announced shortly as well as a first-ever collaboration with the Opera Theater of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Tempesta di Mare will launch its new season with a continuation of its Artist Recital Series Saturday, Oct. 8, at 5 p.m. in Chestnut Hill. There will be a repeat performance the following Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Museum of the American Revolution, Third and Chestnut Streets in Old City. The program features Tempesta founder/director Richard Stone on guitar and Eve Miller on baroque cello in music of the late 17th and early 18 centuries.

The series continues Saturday, Nov. 19, at 5 p.m. in Chestnut Hill and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia. Performers will be tenor Jacob Perry and Richard Stone on lute. The recital series concludes Saturday, Feb. 25, at 5 p.m. in Chestnut Hill and Sunday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia. Tempesta founder/director Gwyn Roberts will be joined by the New World Recorders.

Although Tempesta has often included the major instrumental works of George Frideric Handel, such as Suites from his “Water Music” and “Music for the Royal Fireworks,” the 2022-23 season will include the ensemble’s first foray in Handel’s world of opera via its collaboration with the Curtis Institute of Music’s Opera Theater. The joint venture will present “Ariodante” May 4-7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.

The year 1685 was a very good one, indeed, for classical music. Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenic Scarlatti were all born during that 12-month swing of the calendar. Although the Italian-born/Spanish-residing Scarlatti focused almost exclusively on short, one-movement “sonatas” for the harpsichord, both Handel and Bach composed music that crossed over many of the forms of classical music as it existed during the “High Baroque” of the first half of the 18th century.

Both Handel and Bach were born in what is now Germany but in their day was a helter-skelter of independent kingdoms, principalities, duchies and free city states. Bach was born in Eisenach, a city in the Duchy of Thuringia. Handel was born in Halle, in the Duchy of Magdeburg in the Kingdom of Brandenburg-Prussia.

Whereas Bach spent his entire life living and working in the German states, Handel traveled not only within those German lands, but he  also studied in Rome, where he was patronized by the Curia of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.

Then, after returning to the German city of Hanover, he worked for the Prince/Elector of the principality of Saxe-Gotha. When the Prince’s distant relative, Queen Anne of the United Kingdom, died without a closer living heir, he ascended the British throne as King George I – and Handel eventually followed him.

Once situated in London, he became arguably the greatest composer ever to live and work in Great Britain, one of a handful of greatest composers of any era, and the composer of  dozens of works for the musical stage. So great was his fame that, upon his death in 1759, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, having converted from his native Lutheranism to the Anglicanism of the Church of England.

Handel’s “Ariodante” was set to an Italian libretto anonymously adapted from Antonio Salvi’s “Ginerva, principessa di Scozia,” after Ludovico Ariosto’s poem, “Orlando furioso.” It was the composer’s first new opera produced by Handel in his first season at the Covent Garden Theatre. “Ariodante” was mostly written between Aug. 12 and Oct. 24, 1734. Although its score has regularly received high marks from musicians over the past three centuries, its daunting musical and theatrical demands have always kept it just beyond the reach of the standard repertoire.

Tempesta’s season of orchestral concerts includes performances Oct. 22 & 23, Jan. 28 & 29, March 18 & 19, and May 13 & 14. Venues include the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill as well as sites in Center City Philadelphia such as the Museum of the American Revolution and the Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Savior in West Philadelphia.

The season’s repertoire includes works Richard Stone discovered in the archives of Kromeriz, the small Czech town that houses a treasure-trove of baroque manuscripts. With painstaking devotion, Stone has been able to transform these bits and pieces of music into performance editions. The concerts will follow a host of baroque composers on their far-flung journeys from Europe to China and South America, giving local music lovers a sonic travelogue. 

For more information call 215-755-8776 or visit tempestadimare.org.

You can contact NOTEWORTHY at Michael-caruso@comcast.net. To read more of NOTEWORTHY visit chestnuthilllocal.com.