Carnevale 1729: New Album Release


The Carnival of Venice in 1729 was quite unlike any other. Over a period of two months, opera houses went into a frenzy of competition to show off the most famous singers of the day, including the legendary castrato Farinelli who made his astonishing Venetian debut. Several of the most fashionable composers rose to the occasion, writing ravishing music for spectacular productions which often pitted the singers against each other in breathtaking displays of virtuosity. The results were sensational; one tour de force followed another in an atmosphere of fevered excitement and the adoring public lapped it up.

The carnival opened with a star-studded cast in Leonardo Leo’s tragedy Cantone in Utica from which the dazzling aria Soffre talor del vento and the more gentle Ombra adorata are taken. Farinelli triumphed in Nicolo Porpora’s opera Semiramide, the perfect vehicle for his extraordinary technique. By contrast Adelaide by Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, another premiere, contains show-stopping displays for Farinelli’s arch rival Faustina Bordoni. And Germiano Giacomelli’s elegant opera Gianguir contains the achingly beautiful aria Mi par sentir la bella. Most of these rediscovered works are recorded here for the first time.

With a repertoire that includes leading roles in operas by Rossini, Mozart, Gluck, Handel, Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bizet and Massenet, Ann Hallenberg is a much in demand Swedish mezzo-soprano and has recorded over 40 CDs, her solo CD Agrippina winning the award for best operatic recital at the International Opera Awards in May 2016.

The baroque violinist and conductor Stefano Montanari is a much sought after guest conductor with both modern and period orchestras. He is regarded as one of the finest baroque violin virtuosos of his generation.

Ann Hallenberg brings these rediscovered works from February 1729 back to our times in this album, most of them recorded for the first time. The album Carnevale 1729 is world-wide released by Pentatone on June 16, 2017.


A personal introduction

“It’s often something unexpected that sparks inspiration for a new album project. This recording started with those cheap CDs you can buy at any gas-station: “Greatest Hits 1985”, “Summer Hits 2010” etc. I began to imagine what an album from the 18th century would have been like. What would the “hits” of the season have been? So I decided to explore an exciting period in Venice. Here are eight weeks between Christmas and spring that are full of scandals, intrigues, gossip and, most importantly, fantastic music: the carnival season of 1729. Enter our time machine, fasten your seat belts and make yourself comfortable. Imagine the narrow “calle”, the damp air from the canals, the fog and the wind from the sea, the crowded theatres and the oozing candles.”

Ann Hallenberg


Our experiences in Athens with El Sistema Greece


Anna Fusek

“It is definitely a very intense and emotional experience playing for and working with the refugee children. So many little eyes full of life, energy and interest. I hope very much, that this project is going to grow fast, develop well and be able to reach all the children in the camps. Thanks to all the teachers, musicians and staff in Athens who are doing the essential regular work in the camps!”


Anna Melkonyan

“The meeting with the enthusiastic and committed young people from El Sistema Greece, whom we accompanied in Athens and Camp Skaramagkas, was impressive. In music lessons for refugee children in the Athens Impact hub and in the camp, we had as much fun as the little ones themselves. We saw many shining eyes! The children were friendly, eager to sing and dance, and very curious about the musical instruments. It was a highly emotional and touching experience. I would like to see a broad support for this particular and important project, so that it can be further developed and expanded.”


Daniela Nuzzoli

“These days in Greece working for “El Sistema” have filled my heart with hope that music can unite people, create a new generation that believe in a world without prejudices, a world full of love, beauty and happiness.”



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