Don't miss: the drama & devotion of Agostino Steffani

Don't miss: the drama & devotion of Agostino Steffani

Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano. Photo by Bo Huang.

Sometimes the best way to get a snapshot of history is not to look at the major figures of the time, but of their lesser-known contemporaries.

Tafelmusik is shining light on one such lesser-known composer, Agostino Steffani (1654-1728), in their upcoming concerts November 8-11, entitled Steffani: Drama & Devotion. Steffani had an interesting life; he was a celebrated composer and mentor to Handel, and he also worked as a diplomat and ecclesiastic.

"He spins a beautiful melody," says mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, who joins the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir under director Ivars Taurins on this programme of Steffani's music. The composer's style, "for me, it falls between Cavalli and Handel."

The programme's first half is devoted to Steffani's Stabat Mater (1728), and the second half is a pastiche of arias, duets with Szabó and fellow mezzo-soprano Victoria Marshall, choruses, and instrumental music from his operas. Save for the Stabat Mater, all of the items on this concert are being performed by Tafelmusik for the first time. "The one that makes me happiest to sing is 'Ogni core' from Servio Tullo," says Szabó, nodding to the final aria on the evening's line-up.

Szabó has a steady relationship with Tafelmusik, and she'll collaborate with them again next month for Handel's Messiah, December 18-21 at Koerner Hall, and for their infamous Sing-Along Messiah at Roy Thomson Hall, December 22, 2pm.

Steffani: Drama & Devotion happens at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre, November 8-10 at 8pm, and November 11 at 3:30pm. For full details and ticket information, click here.

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Written by

Jenna Simeonov

Jenna Simeonov

Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera.com. She's also a pianist, vocal coach, and répétiteur, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera. Her favourite operas include Peter Grimes, Ariadne auf Naxos, Tristan und Isolde, Written on Skin, and Anna Nicole.

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