Performing vocal and instrumental music of the 17th and 18th centuries

The acclaimed early chamber music group, Arioso, was formed in 1992 in response to the remarkable growth of interest in music of the baroque to provide period performance across the Midlands and North of England, outside the area generally covered by similar groups mostly based in London and the South East.

Arioso has performed in many venues ranging from grand country houses, through historic buildings and modern concert venues to local community centres and village halls. Concert engagements have included numerous concert promoting societies, the Early Music Network, local authority concert series and international and local Early Music Festivals as well as special performances for many other organisations including the National Trust, UNICEF and Amnesty International.

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Arioso Programmes

We develop new programmes for each concert season but also offer custom-made programmes to suit particular needs or venues (e.g. local events, people, historical features).

ARIOSO's new 2019 Summer programme theme is music in the Hapsburg lands of early eighteenth century Italy and, more specifically, two revolutionary works from Naples - that leading centre of much musical innovation at the time.

Sacred and Profane - the two faces of Naples - 2019 Season

The first half of our programme contains Pergolesi's wonderful and much acclaimed setting of the Stabat Mater. This is easily his most celebrated sacred work: achieving immediate enormous popularity and continuing to be widely performed ever since. Numerous commentators lauded the work, which was composed in the new accessible 'pre-classical' style; for example Jean-Jacques Rousseau who wrote of the opening "the most perfect and touching duet to come from the pen of any composer". In our concert today it is prefaced by a short brilliant concerto by Vivaldi

However as a total contrast, our second half contains a performance (in a fine idiomatic English version by John Flinders) of Domenico Scarlatti's ground-breaking intermezzo 'La Dirindina' - Farsetto per musica (a musical farce) of 1715 - a scandalous work (banned by the church for its expected first performance in Rome) but very much celebrated and enjoyed elsewhere and since. Domenico Scarlatti is, of course, best known today for his many fine keyboard sonatas but he also wrote operas (sadly most lost) and orchestral works such as the two Sinfonias played here: one as an overture to the intermezzo and one as an interlude between the two principal parts/acts.

Synopsis of the opera buffa "La Dirindina"
Don Carissimo is a older singing teacher who has romantic inclinations towards his pupil Dirindina. She arouses Carissimo’s jealousy by showing friendly affection towards Liscione, a visiting professional castrato (soprano), who has come to tell her that she has been offered a role at the Milan opera. They decide to play on Don Carissimo's jealousy and stage a mock enactment of the death of Dido after her rejection of Aeneas. Don Carissimo interrupts them and taking their acting as an espousal of true love - and an imminent unexpected arrival(!) - intervenes to save Dirindina from Dido's fate... But, as with all such good comedies, the joke’s on him: the finale is both outrageous and touching, as the capon and the hen are joined in hand with the thoroughly deceived , though honourable, older cock...........

Select 'more programme themes' below to find out about other Arioso repertoire.

...more programme themes