“Music is life and, at the same time, mission”

The mezzo-soprano Ilaria Ribezzi decided to internalize even more in the baroque repertoire, in times of pandemic: «For me the baroque is pure energy, a rainbow of affections, feelings, virtuosity and vigor; unfortunately of all this we have been orphans in 2020 ». So it was that in December he presented “Barroque Arias”, a small but powerful work that marks a reunion with musicians and a collaboration that gave light to his artistic path.

BlueberryMusica had the pleasure of talking with the singer about this work and the artistic future in 2021. With a hopeful air, the singer recalled that “music is life” and offers us her interesting position regarding the panorama plagued with uncertainty.

You have recently recorded a baroque project called “Baroque Arias”, an album that has seen the light of a difficult year for the world of classical music. Why a baroque music album?

The baroque world was my first musical love since it was my first approach to classical music. I discovered the magic of this repertoire by living and intensely sharing the intimate sensations and vitality that this baroque world gives off.

Essentially, the spirit with which the new video “Baroque Arias” is born is to rediscover the emotion that emerges when making music together and share it with the general public, an audience that is increasingly curious about this repertoire to which they go again and again, probably because some of its characteristics (such as improvisation and rhythm) bring it much closer to modern pop and jazz than we can imagine.

Having had the opportunity to meet some of these musicians in previous jobs, I sensed that it was possible to make that dream come true. A light in a moment of darkness in the history of entertainment and music.

The recorded fragments come from two oratorios and one opera, pieces composed in different contexts. What is the link / connection between them?

I have turned to masterpieces of the baroque repertoire of the first half of the 700 in order to show the variety that distinguishes it. “Juditha Triumphans”, oratorio, could well also be defined as a sacred opera; “Argippo” is an operatic ‘pasticcio’, a common practice in the 1700s; and “Sanctus Petrus e Sancta Maria Magdalena” is a sacred oratory containing the best Hasse.

The common thread and the reason why I chose them is the use of virtuosity and vocal ornamentation that their interpretation requires, which highlights, on the one hand, the spectacularity inherent in the music of the Baroque period and, on the other, the implacable ‘crescendo’ of emotional tension contained in the score.

The three arias, with their respective ‘da capo’, highlight that operatic style they share: a tripartite structure with a wide A section, a shorter central section B and a return to section A but subject to variations of rigor.

In full recording of the video that captures «Barroque Arias»

During 2020 I have observed that many operatic singers have seen an opportunity to make a repertoire that for them really represents something on a spiritual level, even bearing in mind the passion they may feel for the operatic / chamber music genre. Some have chosen oratorios and liturgical works, others have entered the world of lied, for example. Does baroque music on a personal or emotional level speak / reach you with greater intensity compared to other types of repertoire?

In a truly difficult moment like the current one, a period of deep reflection at the same time, a real dream has come true, an act of love for music and gratitude towards a repertoire that has allowed me to start the most beautiful journey imaginable with music. and the theater.

For me the baroque is pure energy, a rainbow of affections, feelings, virtuosity and vigor; unfortunately of all this we have been orphans in 2020.

“Baroque Arias” also marks the beginning of my collaboration with Autarena Ensemble and therefore, as if it were a birth, it brings joy and light. Thanks also to the perfect understanding and empathy with the ‘ensemble’, unsurpassedly coordinated by its artistic director (and also cellist) Antonio Papetti.

At the moment I have not had the opportunity to interpret Liederistic repertoire but I am already working in their studio. Being able to face diverse repertoires is a challenge for myself since it means carefully investing in the executive praxis that distinguishes them.

Now that we talk about the experience of this 2020, I would like to know how you have handled this new episode in world history. If some have seen lockdown as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, others have labeled this moment as a dark period in the world of music. What is your point of view and -maybe- your advice to singers from all over the world?

It is useless to deny that the succession of theater closings around the world and the continuous cancellations leave a great void in those who, like us, live totally on music and with music. I am optimistic, I have hope for the future and, despite the difficulties we may encounter, I like to imagine it in color.

I trust art, which by itself is already revolution, reinvention and contamination, and I hope that this period will serve to reflect and evolve.

This has been sufficient motivation not to stop me, dedicating my days to the study of roles of the bel canto and romantic operatic repertoire, especially parts ‘in transvestite’ such as Tancredi, Orsini and Smeton, and to the chamber and concert repertoire, Verdi’s “Requiem” inclusive.

An advice? Whoever lives on music and art (“he has made a pact of love with the most fascinating muse who has kidnapped the soul of entire generations”) has a need to follow his own vocation. One piece of advice would be to never stop dreaming, not to give up in the face of difficulties that may come, to be able to get up in case of falling and to reinvent yourself, because music is life and, at the same time, mission.

High on Handel’s Messiah performed in Milan in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Now, just starting a new year, any project / production in perspective, looking ahead or in which you are currently involved)

Given the particular moment we are living in, it is not easy to program in the long term.

This year the production of “Madama Butterfly” should be recovered, premiered in Jesi and received very favorably by the public and critics and later responded to in Treviso, which due to the Covid issue could not be performed at the Teatro Comunale de Ferrara last December.

Another project waiting to be replaced after its debut in Spoleto is TangOpera, a fascinating show in which opera, tango and dance admirably merge: it should be in 2021!

Along with this baroque project that is the subject of this interview, there are other new projects in the portfolio, among them a Rossini recital with the non-operatic Rossini, but at the moment I cannot reveal more …

Let’s hope 2021 is a year of live music!

Thanks to Jordi Pujal from Impresario-Art for his collaboration and translation of our meeting with the mezzo-soprano Ilaria Ribezzi. Remember that you can follow the new videos and presentations of the opera singer in her facebook and instagram.

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