Hana Blazikova and Bruce Dickey to Appear in Concert

Hana Blazikova and Bruce Dickey to Appear in Concert

The San Francisco Early Music Society's 2017-18 concert season culminates the weekend of May 4 with a special presentation of Hana Blazikova and Bruce Dickey performing music for voice and cornetto. Titled Breathtaking: A Cornetto and a Voice Entwined, the program features 17th-century motets, madrigals and arias by Italian composers Biagio Marini, Nicolò Corradini, Tarquinio Merula and Alessandro Scarlatti. Joining Blazikova and Dickey on stage are Grammy Award-winning director and lutenist Stephen Stubbs, alongside IngridMatthews and Tekla Cunningham on violin, Joanna Blendulf on viola da gamba and Michael Sponseller on organ and harpsichord.

Concerts of Breathtaking will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco; at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5 at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Berkeley; and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6 at the Bing Concert Hall on the campus of Stanford University. Individual tickets, $15 to $45, for the San Francisco and Berkeley concerts are available for purchase online at sfems.org. Tickets to Sunday's concert in Palo Alto are $15 to $50, and may be purchased online at live.stanford.edu/calendar/may-2018/san-francisco-early-music-society, or by phone at 650-724-2464.

Rising star, Czech soprano Hana Blazikova is one of the world's top vocal specialists in baroque, Renaissance and medieval music, performing with ensembles and orchestras around the world, including Collegium Vocale Gent, Bach Collegium Japan, Sette Voci, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Collegium 1704, among others.

For his part, Bruce Dickey is one of a handful of musicians worldwide who have dedicated themselves to reviving the cornetto. "For the past four decades, Dickey has almost singlehandedly sought to give the cornetto the historical significance it deserves, cultivating a long line of students to perpetuate its claims," writes Geoffrey Newman for Vancouver Classical Music. "From many perspectives, Dickey's commitment stands as one of the monuments of the revitalization of historical performance."

Together Dickey and Blazikova explore the affinities - long recognized in the medieval and early modern world - between the cornetto and the human voice. Their collaboration began more than three years ago, resulting in a recording, Breathtaking, released by Naxos, and a world tour that's taken them from Europe to North America with stops in Asia and Australia planned for 2019.

In addition to works from the Italian seicento, with a special focus on the cornetto's late flowering in Rome and Naples, the program for Breathtaking also includes a newly commissioned piece by renowned Greek composer Calliope Tsoupaki. This new composition sets the text Melena imi (Nigra sum), heard elsewhere on the program in a setting by Tarquinio Merula, and described by the composer as a serene antiphonal moment for voice and cornetto.

For more information about Breathtaking, visit sfems.org. A preview video of the concert is online here.


Founded in 1975, SFEMS is the leading early music community-based service and membership organization in the US. Under the direction of Executive Director Harvey Malloy and President Joyce Johnson Hamilton, it is the focal institution in Northern California for the advancement of historically informed performance of early music. Through its concert series, publications, outreach activities, affiliate support and educational programs, SFEMS encourages the development of amateurs, supports professionals, and increases public involvement and participation in early music. SFEMS is the lead presenter of the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition of early music.

Photo by Vojtech Havlik.

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