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. Some, such as our highly acclaimed ‘Handel in the Playhouse’, present fantastic music by celebrated composers that has previously not been heard for centuries. Others, such as ‘An Italian Rant!’ explore a new dimension of today’s audience favourites, while still shedding light on less known (but equally as beautiful) masterpieces by some of the most brilliant musical minds of their time.

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 the black slaves and free 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 slave 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.

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

An Italian Rant!: Eighteenth-Century Italian Masters in Britain

In 1713 the German composer and critic Johann Mattheson aptly observed that musicians anxious to make something of themselves went to Italy and France for the sake of hearing and learning new music -- but they went to England if they wished to earn money. This great influx into England from Italy had begun soon after the Restoration, and Italian sonatas and concertos became regular concert fare throughout the country soon thereafter. The role of Italian music and musicians in Britain was a central one for the remainder of the century, irrevocably changing the face of its musical scene.

In this exciting programme, L’Avventura London focuses on the Italian diaspora of music and musicians in eighteenth-century Britain. The group performs fresh interpretations of favourite pieces whose popularity have reached into our own time, including Arcangelo Corelli’s ‘La Folia’ (Op. 5, No. 12), Tomaso Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto in D minor (Op. 9, No. 2), and an original arrangement of ‘Italian Rant’, an enduring Italian tune that reappeared in musical compositions internationally from the seventeenth century onward. L’Avventura also presents some outstanding lesser-known works, including those by the charismatic and talented cellist-composer, Giacobbe Basevi Cervetto.

The programme includes nine instrumentalists; if necessary, the number can be reduced to seven.

The CD of this programme (An Italian Rant!, ONCD015) was released on Opella Nova Records/Harmonia Mundi in October 2011.

Handel in the Playhouse

About this programme: George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was undeniably the most popular Italian opera composer in eighteenth-century England; his music was a favourite of the royal family and the aristocracy, who loved to support their much-loved celebrity at London’s pricey opera houses. However, few people realize today that the lower classes heard and enjoyed Handel’s Italian tunes as well, as they were frequently appropriated and recontextualised in a native English style by favourite singer-actors for musical comedies in the common playhouses. Many of these charming and lively musical adaptations survive in manuscript in the world’s libraries, and these fascinating versions of Handel’s melodies in popular forms of entertainment now can be brought to modern audiences for the first time.

This programme includes five instrumentalists and two singers.
The CD of this programme (Handel in the Playhouse, ONCD014) is currently available on Opella Nova Records/Harmonia Mundi.

A Venetian Entertainment in London

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, music from Venice inspired and delighted the whole of Europe. Venetian-style masquerade balls, especially, were all the rage in Count Heidegger’s eighteenth-century high society London. This programme features entertaining, imaginative, and uncommonly beautiful works by Vivaldi, Cervetto, Galliard, Merula, Marini, Ucellini, and Monteverdi.

This programme includes five instrumentalists and a singer.

Felice Giardini: ‘The Greatest Performer in Europe’

Felice Giardini (1716-1796), whom Charles Burney once called ‘the greatest performer in Europe’, was an Italian violinist and composer who spent most of his life in England. He was a major musical figure in eighteenth-century London, leading a major series of subscription concerts in the Great Room in Dean Street and organising concerts at the Lock Hospital. In 1754 Giardini took over the opera orchestra at the King’s Theatre, where he (according to Burney) initiated a ‘new discipline, and a new style of playing’. He played in the famous Bach-Abel concerts, led the orchestra for the Three Choirs Festival from 1770 to 1776, and was appointed music master for the Prince of Wales in 1782.

L’Avventura London’s concert will highlight outstanding compositions by this important London musical figure, from the highly original instrumental works to the stage music which was popular throughout Britain.

This programme includes five instrumentalists and a singer.