This progam is articulated around two oratorios with the same name: Maddaleni ai piedi di Cristi, the Magdalene at the feet of Christ.
This well-known biblical tale was set to music by two composers both born in the same year in northern Italy.
Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747) composed his oratorio in 1690 and Antonio Caldara (1670-1736) composed his own around 1697-1698. Caldara proposed a new version of his oratorio in 1713, the only version to have survived until present day.
We will never know whether the composers met, however it seems certain they influenced each other. The Flying Squad of the Queen emphasizes Mary Magdalene, tormented by the dilemma of following divine love or terrestrial love. During this Oratorio, she goes from suffering to appeasement, through wrenching and purifying tears.
The choice was made to retain these two oratorios, both composed after Ludovico Forni’s booklet, to confront the audience with different interpretations of the same text.
The listener will notice how the same aria can be at times very similar and at others very different. By maintaining the chronological order of the booklet, we offer the audience a journey to the heart of Mary Magdalene’s hesitations through the vocal wonders of these two composers. To fully understand Mary Magdalene’s sorrow, two “church concertos” from Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco (1675-1742) will also be introduced, in response to Mary Magdalene’s sorrow.