Composed by Domenico Zipoli, Directed by Michael Walling, with Rafael Montero as Loyola. The UK stage premiere of this long-lost baroque opera by Jesuit composer Domenico Zipoli. Originally written around 1720 for performance by Indigenous musicians on the Jesuit missions in Latin America, the score was recently discovered in the Archives of Chiquitos in Bolivia. One of the first operas to emerge from the melting pot of Hispanic and Native cultures, LOYOLA combines the sounds of Europe’s 18th century with Indigenous tradition.
LOYOLA is brought to Grimeborn by El Parnaso Hyspano: an ensemble led by Inca tenor Rafael Montero, dedicated to authentic performances of the Latin American baroque. This musical and cultural integrity is placed in a contemporary setting by director Michael Walling (The Ring – ENO), whose staging underlines the spiritual and existential dilemmas at the heart of this comic, impassioned and deeply spiritual work.
The centrepiece of act 3, perhaps of the entire opera, is Orfeo's extended aria "Possente spirto e formidabil nume" ("Mighty spirit and powerful divinity"), by which he attempts to persuade Caronte to allow him to enter Hades. Monteverdi's vocal embellishments and virtuoso accompaniment provide what Carter describes as "one of the most compelling visual and aural representations" in early opera. This array is intended to suggest that Orfeo is harnessing all the available forces of music to support his plea. In act 4 the impersonal coldness of the Underworld is broken by the warmth of Proserpina's singing on behalf of Orfeo, a warmth that is retained until the dramatic moment at which Orfeo "looks back". The cold sounds of the sinfonia from the beginning of act 3 then remind us that the Underworld is, after all, entirely devoid of human feeling. The brief final act, which sees Orfeo's rescue and metamorphosis, is framed by the final appearance of La musica's ritornello and the lively moresca that ends the opera. The toccata and the moresca unite courtly reality with operatic illusion."