L'Avventura London
Žak Ozmo, Director

Concert Programmes

L’Avventura London is currently able to offer a number of concert programmes that have already been enthusiastically received by audiences. The programmes explore new interpretations of much-loved masterpieces and also premiere forgotten musical gems that are regularly unearthed and reconstructed following original musicological research.

L’Avventura’s director Dr Žak Ozmo is able to create programmes for any required theme that are certain to add something truly attractive and unique to any festival or concert series event.

If you are a promoter interested in L’Avventura’s programmes, please contact us for comprehensive programme descriptions and pricing details.

We hope to hear from you!

Trade Roots: Portuguese 17th-century Villancicos and Romances

The Monastery of Santa Cruz at Coimbra was one of the major centers of Portuguese music during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was a self-contained musical community where musical training was mandatory and which employed its own members as singers, performers, and music teachers, while relying on them also as composers and instrument makers. In addition to some large plainsong books, the monastery’s residents left behind them countless paper manuscripts, carelessly written and casually bound in parchment leaves. Within these manuscripts, sacred and secular vocal pieces called villancicos and romances, mostly anonymous, by far outnumber any other works.

In this programme L’Avventura London will be presenting some of the most interesting, entertaining, and ravishingly beautiful villancicos and romances found in the Monastery’s archives. One must listen to these pieces in order to explain the repeated attempts of the Church officials to forbid monks from performing these works at nearby convents. Whether it was their ambiguous erotic imagery, their soulful and captivating melodies, or – and particularly in cases of villancicos negros – the wild rhythms and exotic harmonies brought to Portugal by free and enslaved men and women arriving from the Brazilian and African colonies, these works certainly have about them much that would stir up the soul and weaken the flesh.

18th-century Portuguese Love Songs

In his journals, the eighteenth-century English novelist and travel writer William Beckford described the most seductive, beguiling love songs he heard during his journey to Portugal: they were called modinhas, ‘an original sort of music different from any I ever heard, the most seducing, the most voluptuous imaginable, the best calculated to throw saints off their guard and to inspire profane deliriums’.

In this groundbreaking programme, L’Avventura London presents Portuguese and Brazilian modinhas and related instrumental music from the eighteenth century. These popular works mixed the musical traditions of indigenous Brazilian population with that of their Portuguese European counterparts, producing a unique vocal genre characterized by captivating melodies, unusual rhythms and colouristic instrumental effects. Possibly created by Domingos Caldas Barbosa, Jesuit-educated son of a Portuguese man and a liberated Angolan woman, the genre was taken up and further popularized by many of the leading eighteenth-century Portuguese composers. The programme will include a selection of beguiling modinhas by António da Silva Leite, Marcos Portugal, and others. Carlos Seixas and Pedro António Avondano will also be represented through their striking instrumental pieces.

The programme includes eight instrumentalists and two singers.

Hear sound clips

A CD of this programme was released on Hyperion label in November 2012.