Latinitas Nostra | Markellos Chryssicos
In their acclaimed programme, Lamento, soloists Romina Basso and Markellos Chrysiccos bring two tragic queens to life for contemporary audiences: Mary Stuart of Scotland and Eleonara of Sweden.
Images of Mary varied over the course of history. The Anglicans vilified her as a harlot; the Catholics, however, moulded her into a martyr for the true faith. Giacomo Carissimi, one of the founding fathers of Latin oratorio at the Papal See, naturally adopted the Roman point of view and allows use to share the queen’s final moments before her beheading, in a scene that combines pathos with sublimity.
The fact that Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was fighting on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years’ War did not stop Luigi Rossi from creating a moving lament for his widow at the side of her husband’s corpse. The spectacular circumstances of his brutal murder at the Battle of Lützen by a cuirassier he had pardoned shortly before, and his widow’s excessive mourning observances, offered Rossi musical and dramatic possibilities he found too enticing to leave unexploited. The programme is completed by Francesco Provenzale’s irreverent parody of the 17th-century ‘lamento’ craze.
Romina Basso was born in Friuli. Her repertoire ranges from Baroque to Rossini, and has taken her to the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Théatre des Champs Élysées, Cité de la Musique and Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Barbican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Teatro Real Madrid, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and St Petersburg’s Philharmonia, the Lucerne, Avignon, Beaune, Utrecht and Flanders festivals, the Megaron Musikis in Athens, the Lincoln Center in New York, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and also to Japan, Korea and Australia. She has collaborated with conductors including Jordi Savall, Frans Brüggen, Alan Curtis, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Fabio Biondi, Marc Minkowski, William Christie, Paul McCreesh, Emmanuelle Haim, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Ottavio Dantone, Andrea Marcon, Robert King, Antonio Florio and Federico Maria Sardelli. Her numerous recordings include operas, cantatas and sacred work by Vivaldi, Handel, Porpora, Veracini, Galuppi, Pergolesi and Jommelli, as well as Alessandro Scarlatti’s setting of Carlo, re d’Alemagna on the Agogique label.
Born in Greece, Markellos Chryssicos studied at the major international centres of early music, served his apprenticeship working as assistant to important conductors, and has made a reputation for himself with cross-cultural programmes devoted to themes such as English musical travellers of the Elizabethan period or the connections between French Passion music and Greek folk music. For this purpose, he founded his own ensemble, Latinitas Nostra. He has conducted operas, oratorios and orchestral concerts at the Athens Festival, in Dublin and with the Venice Baroque Orchestra. He will soon be appearing as part of major projects at the Handel Festival in Halle, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and the Greek National Opera.