In high demand in America, England, Europe and the East, Profeti della Quinta will be performing in Cape Town and Johannesburg this November – their first performance in the Southern Hemisphere.
It was a freezing December in Berlin, 2016. A number of top choirs from around the world had gathered for a festival dedicated to the music of the late Renaissance and Early Baroque master, Salomone Rossi.
Working alongside Monteverdi at the court of Mantua in Italy, Rossi was regarded with esteem by the ruling Gonzaga family and musical cognoscenti. He was a bold innovator, revered by his peers, and composed the earliest continuo madrigals and trio sonatas, spearheading the Baroque era. However, Rossi’s work was lost for over 230 years when the Habsburg mercenaries overran the city in 1630 and destroyed the ghetto. Rossi’s music was only rediscovered when a monk discovered some manuscripts, realised their value, and handed them to Baron Edmond de Rothschild who happened to be visiting the town in the mid-19th century. The music of Rossi experienced its own renaissance and remains a treasury for ensembles and choirs who revel in the complexity and originality of his work.
The 2016 Berlin festival opened with a ceremony featuring a few songs performed by the host choir, the Synagogal Ensemble Berlin. They sang from the lofts, accompanied by an instrumental ensemble on stage. Then, the harpsichord was removed and another brought on. Six young men, dressed in black, walked on stage. We slowly realised that one of the visiting choirs had been invited not only to perform in this prestigious event, but to give a concert on their own. What was so superior about them? Why the special treatment?
All was revealed within seconds. As specialists in the genre, they were simply in a different league. When the Profeti della Quinta sang their first few notes, it was as though a spell had been cast over the audience – no-one moved, and it felt as if no-one even breathed. All were awestruck.
The Profeti della Quinta performed music by Rossi and original compositions in the same Renaissance/Baroque style by the ensemble’s founder and musical director, Dr Elam Rotem. The audience was enraptured as the voices of the group soared through the vaulted space. At the end of the performance, the entire room – which included choristers from around the world – leapt to its collective feet, in thunderous applause.
Visit www.quintaprofeti.com or find the Profeti della Quinta on YouTube.
Tickets are available online at profetidellaquinta.nutickets.co.za
THE SONGS OF SOLOMON
Sacred music by Salomone Rossi and Elam Rotem
11 November, 19:00 – The Gardens Synagogue, 88 Hatfield Street, Cape Town
14 November, 20:00 – Great Park Synagogue, 75 4th Street, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg
Madrigals from Rore to Monteverdi
15 November, 20:00 – St George’s Church, 7 Sherborne Road, Parktown, Johannesburg