Harlequin Blog Series: The Servant and his Master

By Sarah Baumann, Marketing Director

One of the most-anticipated concerts of our 2018/19 season is the world premiere of The Harlequin Salon in January 2019. Following on the success of the multimedia performances created by double bassist Alison Mackay, these concerts will be created, scripted, and illustrated by oboist Marco Cera. We’ll be writing a monthly Harlequin blog post to take you behind the scenes as this production comes to life!

This January, Tafelmusik will stage an elaborate Roman salon hosted by caricaturist Pierre Leone Ghezzi (portrayed by show creator Marco Cera). Famous guests at the salon will include composer Antonio Vivaldi, 24-year old opera diva Faustina Bordoni, and cello virtuoso Giovanni Bononcini. These guests and their music will be performed by Tafelmusik’s Music Director Elisa Citterio, guest soprano Roberta Invernizzi, and Tafelmusik cellist Christina Mahler.

How else will these performances bring a theatrical flair to the world of Ghezzi and his guests? While reading Ghezzi’s diaries, Marco realised that he wrote about his servants a lot – and that their escapades were similar to those in the famous Carlo Goldoni play, The Servant of Two Masters. This play draws on the traditions of commedia dell’arte, a form of theatre first developed in 16th century Italy, featuring masks, stock characters, and comedic sketches, or “lazzi.” The Harlequin Salon will interweave musical performances with scenes featuring Ghezzi’s servant, Harlequin, played by Toronto actor Dino Goncalves.

We asked Marco what kind of trouble we can expect from Goncalves’ character: “He’s going to animate and host the party for the audience, get into trouble, and attempt to seduce our opera singer, Faustina. This will lead her to play a trick in turn on him in return. Hijinx will definitely ensue!”

Harlequin, or Arlecchino, is the best-known of the comic servant characters from commedia dell’arte. He is known for his chequered costume, and is light-hearted, nimble, and astute, often acting to thwart the plans of his master, in order to pursue his own love interests. Will he succeed in winning the heart of Faustina Bordoni and not bringing the party crashing down around him? We hope you will join us to find out!

This blog series will continue in November and December. Here is the link to the first post, Marco meets Ghezzi.

The Harlequin Salon premieres January 16-20, 2019 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Click here to buy your tickets now.

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