Europa Galante - brilliant performance by Italian ensemble as part of the Cervantino Festival in Mexico
The internationally recognized Italian chamber ensemble Europa Galante performed a wonderful program of Italian and German works at the Teatro del Bicentenario in León, Mexico on October 14th as part of the Festival Internacional Cervantino (Cervantino Festival). I was fortunate to attend this event where Europa Galante showed us their mastery of the art of chamber music as well as the skill of the Director and violinist Fabio Biondi. The echo of the final note of the Rodrigo Suite by Handel that closed the program hung in the air for a few delicious seconds before the roar of applause came from the audience. The near-capacity crowd showed this type of refinement and enthusiasm throughout the entire program.
(Photo of Europa Galante © Teatro del Bicentenario )
The program was enjoyable and very well-balanced between better-known works by composers such as Vivaldi, Bach and Handel and lesser-known works by Angelo Scaccia and Antonio Brioschi.
My personal favorite was the Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor (BWV 1043) by Johann Sebastian Bach. I have always loved this piece anyway, but the interplay between the two violinists on this particular occasion was absolutely superb. The violin solo in the Concerto for Violin in E flat major by Angelo Scaccia also stood out for me. I had not heard this piece before and I found the solo captivating, melodic and emotional. While many of us did not have prior knowledge of some of the pieces, not once during the program was there an outburst of clapping to interrupt the pauses between the musical movements, something that really added to the enjoyment of the program for all concerned. Prior to the program I learned that the violin that Mr. Biondi plays is an Andrea Guarneri (Cremona, Italy, 1686). The rich sound of the instrument showed through, yet delicately balanced with the overall sound of the orchestra.
I thought it might be of interest to the readers to know a bit more about Europa Galante and the Cervantino Festival in Mexico.
Europa Galante was founded by violinist Fabio Biondi in order to strengthen and deepen the popular repertoire of the baroque and classical periods. They have performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and theatres including La Scala in Milan, Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Lincoln Center in New York and the Sydney Opera House. They are one of the most recognized baroque orchestras in terms of awards, receiving, among others, the Cini Award (Italy), the Diapason d’Or of the year (France), the recording of the year in Spain, and two Grammy nominations. For more information, see this link: http://www.europagalante.com/concerti.php?changeLang=en
The Festival Internacional Cervantino (popularly known in Mexico as El Cervantino and in English as the Cervantino Festival) is held every fall in the charming colonial-era town of Guanajuato, located in Central Mexico. The origins of the festival are from the mid 20th century, when short plays by Miguel de Cervantes called “entreméses” were performed in the city’s plazas. In 1972, the scope was expanded with federal support to include more events and to add a more international flavor. Since then the festival has continued to grow and has now become one of the most important international artistic and cultural events in Mexico and Latin America; it is one of only four major events of its type in the world. For more information, see this link: