Albuquerque Baroque Players featuring Anne-Marie Dicce, soprano
Composers of the Baroque era were necessarily masters of vocal music. But never more so than Handel, Purcell and JS Bach. The Albuquerque Baroque Players celebrated these three giants Saturday night with a program featuring guest soprano Anne-Marie Dicce[cq]. Dicce was kind enough to step in as a last minute replacement for the scheduled soloist. No generic-sounding soprano, her voice is distinguished by its beautiful, dark-hued quality to the point of making it impossible to imagine her uttering a shrill sound. There are listeners (I have met a few) who simply find the soprano voice generally too high a timbre. They would not be at all discomforted by Dicee's richly mellow sound, lending a distinct flavor to all she sings. The program began with two selections from Handel's Nine German Arias. For many centuries there was a distinct discrepancy between German and Italian music. Indeed the German Handel does sound quite different than the Italian Handel. One could hardly be faulted for mistaking the former for Bach. Beginning with a lively "Singe, Selle" (Sing, soul) with MaryAnn Shore[cq] providing counterpoint on the recorder, the group proceeded to an elegantly slow "Susse Stille" (Sweet quiet) with Shore switching to the oboe. Two movements from cantatas by Bach brought Dicce back to the stage. The haunting chromaticism and deeply tragic sentiment "Seufzer, Tranen" (Groans, tears) from Cantata No. 21 Ich hatte viel Bekummernis--I had much affliction) was balanced by the happier "Hochster, was ich habe" (Highest one, what I have) from No. 39 (Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot—Break thy Bread) with Shore again trading off oboe for recorder. Four songs by Henry Purcell, often thought to be England's greatest composer, finished the program. There were gorgeously sustained vocal lines in a moving rendition "O let me weep" from the masque or semi-opera The Fairy Queen. The stately and reverent An Evening Hymn closed with an extensive melismatic Hallelujah.
Daniel Steven Crafts - Albuquerque Journal
A Lavish Banquet of Bach and Handel from Bach Collegium San Diego
"Alto Angela Young Smucker conquered the sinuous lines of her demanding aria “Virgam virtutis tuae” with extravagant declamation and fluid phrasing, while sopranos Alice Teyssier and Anne-Marie Dicce delicately floated lines in their ravishing duo “De torrente.” In her solo aria “Tecum principium,Teyssier unleashed operatic power and boldly dramatic dynamics to communicate texts about “princely rank” and “holy splendor.”
Kenneth Herman - San Diego Story
Venetian Baroque Splendor
"Tenor Aaron Sheehan dashed off the solo flourishes of “O Intemerata” with bright colors and an uncanny combination of abandon and precision. He partnered amicably in scintillating duets with tenor Scott Mello in Monteverdi’s “Laudate pueri” (Psalm 112), as did the two sopranos, Jolle Greenleaf and Anne-Marie Dicce."
Kenneth Herman - San Diego Story
Bach Collegium San Diego's "Solemn Vespers" of 1610
Valenzuela’s unwavering control of these forces, his judicious choice of tempos, his meticulous attention to period stylistic details, and his passion for the music made for an exciting and rewarding evening. From the vibrant, animated speech rhythms of the “Dixit Dominus” to the instrumental fury of “Lauda Jerusalem,” the sheer power of this music overwhelmed the senses. In the “Sonata sopra Sancta Maria,” lead sopranos Anne-Marie Dicce and Bianca Hall sent cascades of shimmering motifs from the side aisles of the nave into the full orchestral forces in the chancel, giving a tantalizing hint of how this piece might have sounded in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, with its many side balconies.
Kenneth Herman - San Diego Story
<January 2021>

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Bach: Saint John Passion, BWV 245
Leighton: Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child
Haydn: Die Schöpfung, H 21 no 2 (Creation)
Handel: Tecum principium - Dixit Dominus H232
Rosenberg: Gitanjali II
Rosenberg: Parsing the Unknown
Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232
Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232
Monteverdi: Lamento della Ninfa
Monteverdi: "Pur ti Miro" from L’incoronazione di Poppea

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