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Bruno de Sá / Yuriy Mynenko / {oh!} Orkiestra / Martyna Pastuszka / Antony and Cleopatra - NOSPR

Bruno de Sá / Yuriy Mynenko / {oh!} Orkiestra / Martyna Pastuszka / Antony and Cleopatra

Seats
Tickets: 30-60 zł
Warner Classics / photographer Laure Bernard
Performers
Bruno de Sá – male soprano
Yuriy Mynenko – countertenor
Program
Johann Adolf Hasse
Serenade

Is Johann Adolf Hasse's youthful work "Antony and Cleopatra" already an opera or still a cantata? It lacks the format of an opera: there's a minimal cast of soloists – only two, a complete absence of action, and two parts that are difficult to label as full acts. At the same time, there's a full orchestra and a three-part Sinfonia – features that go beyond the framework of a cantata. If it's neither an opera nor a cantata, then what is it? A serenade, situated halfway between an opera and a cantata. 

"Antony and Cleopatra" is, however, a total work. The absence of action is compensated by a range of deep emotions woven into a perfectly composed whole – both parts are ideally symmetrical: each character performs alternately two arias, and both parts conclude with duets. The work was commissioned from Hasse by Carlo Carmigiano, a Neapolitan banker and royal advisor, and it premiered in his residence in August 1725. At that time, the role of Cleopatra was performed by the emerging castrato Farinelli, while the role of Mark Antony was portrayed by the remarkable singer of African descent, Vittoria Tessi. The unconventional casting was a twist – a castrato portrayed a female role, and a woman took on the role of a man. It's not surprising then that we will hear Bruno de Sá in the role of Cleopatra. This singer possesses a unique, two-and-a-half-octave vocal range, an instrument truly impressive. His exceptional ease in singing in the high register would make many a female singer envious. Moreover, it's worth noting that he is not a countertenor and doesn't sing in falsetto. He is a rare example of an adult man who didn't undergo a voice mutation, thus preserving his boyish trebles. He will be accompanied by countertenor Yuriy Mynenko, who will perform the part of Antony. 

The content of the serenade lies not in events but in the emotions of the characters. Mark Antony returns defeated from the Battle of Actium. He admits to retreating from the fight, following Cleopatra as she flees the battlefield. She, in turn, confesses her fear of captivity. Mark Antony bears no grudge against her, confessing his eternal love for his queen. He is enamored and captivated, and Hasse endows him mainly with lyrical-love arias. Cleopatra deeply feels the defeat and the prospect of downfall, as intense and angry emotions overwhelm her. Just as she chose to flee the battlefield, she quickly chooses death over captivity. She beckons her lover – ultimately, they decide to die together. 

Iwona Ramotowska

Concert duration: approximately 110 minutes

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