La Venexiana

La Venexiana © Kaupo Kikkas

La Venexiana

Gabriele Palomba - Artistic Direction

La Venexiana has been founded and developed by the internationally renowned counter tenor and Early Music expert Claudio Cavina. Under his dedicated artistic direction the group earned his worldwide reputation as one of today’s leading Early Music ensembles.

The name of the ensemble La Venexiana is taken from an anonymous Renaissance comedy which counts as a masterpiece of Italian theatre for its use of language, a combination of literate Italian and dialect, and for its insightful rendering of society and manners. It was, in fact, a precursor of the commedia dell’arte. By taking on this name, La Venexiana attempts to convey in its musical interpretations all the theatricality, attention to language in all its subtlety, and celebration of contrasts between the refined and the popular, the sacred and profane that characterizes our culture today.

The members of La Venexiana are some of the most experienced European performers in the Early Music field, especially in the Italian Madrigal repertoire. They have been working together for many years, and have established a new style in Italian early music performance: a warm, truly Mediterranean blend of textual declamation, rhetorical colour and harmonic refinement. Besides the interpretation of Renaissance and Baroque music in historically informed performances the ensemble offers programmes which include jazz elements as saxophone, drums and accordion. La Venexiana presented the very successful programme “Round M” among others in Munich and Stuttgart; a recording has been released in October 2010. In Halle they performed a programme called “Handel meets Jazz” in 2011.

By now, La Venexiana has performed with great success at almost all major festivals and concert series around the world including the Konzerthaus and the Musikverein’s Golden Hall in Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg as well as festivals in Schwetzingen, Potsdam, Regensburg, Herne, Rheingau, Graz, Vevey, Cremona, Van Vlaanderen, De Singel in Antwerp and Brugge Festival. The ensemble has given concerts in Barcelona, Brussels, Utrecht, Strasbourg, Amiens, Barcelona, Madrid, Montpellier, San Sebastián, Mexico City, Bogotá and Tokyo. In the United States, it has performed, among others, in New York City, Ann Arbor, Chicago, St. Paul, St. Louis, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

La Venexiana earned its reputation also due to the prizes it won for its highly commended records. The ensemble started recording in 1996 for the labels Opus 111 (Paris) and Cantus (Madrid). Since 1998, the ensemble has been recording exclusively for the Spanish label Glossa. Its recordings of madrigals by d’India, Luzzaschi, Marenzio, Gesualdo and the complete recording of Monteverdi’s books of madrigals and his Orfeo have won much notice and critical acclaim worldwide, including the Gramophone Award, the Diapason d’Or, the Editor’s choice of Repertoire, the Prix Amadeus 2000, the Caecilia Award, the Cannes Classical Award and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Lastly, a recording of Luzzaschi’s “Concerto delle Dame”, a box-set of Monteverdi’s madrigals (former recordings), and a selection of duets by Cavalli (“Sospiri d’amore”) and Bonocini, Steffani, Marcello etc. (“A due alti”) have been released.

In 2007, La Venexiana performed Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” in a half-scenic version all over the world and recorded the opera at the same time. This recording won the Gramophone Award in 2008. In 2010, the ensemble presented the contemporary premiere of Cavalli’s “Artemisia” in Stuttgart, Regensburg and Paris and released its World premier recording in 2011. In the same year, La Venexiana performed Monteverdi’s “The return of Ulysses” in Regensburg, Stuttgart, Paris and Amsterdam. In the last seasons the ensemble had been invited to Potsdam, Bonn, Styriarte Graz, Stuttgart (Liederhalle), Schaffhausen (Bach Festival) and Halle (Handel Festival). After successful performances in St. Gallen, Bucharest, Antwerpen, Tokyo and Berlin (Konzerthaus), the ensemble has recently been reinvited to the Haendel-Festspiele Halle, to Venice and Krakow as well as to the Schwetzinger Festspiele celebrating Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary in 2017. Its latest concerts lead the ensemble amongst others to the Carinthischer Sommer, to Bratislava and the Heinrich Schuetz Fest, to Boulez Saal Berlin, Vevey (Switzerland) and Italy. Upcoming highlights are amongst others reinvitations to Landshut and St Gallen.