I Fagiolini - The Full Monteverdi

MICHAEL DRAKE The Athenaeum, Bury St Edmunds


> The Athenaeum, Bury St Edmunds

I had previously been captivated by the a cappella group I Fagiolini because of their sound and sheer vocal skill.

Last night was different. They didn't just stand in a row and make beautiful sounds – this was theatre and in the round.

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For the hall was set out cabaret style, and it took me a moment to realise that the six singers and their actor partners were sitting at some of the two dozen tables as they began making – sometimes turbulent – vocal love with some incredibly sexy movements to a series of madrigals.

Not the English shepherds and nymphs versions of innuendo but the more dramatic Italian style from Monteverdi's Fourth Book.

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Nineteen of them in virtually non-stop singing for an hour.

The sounds were exquisite, the voices each outstanding and the acting emotional – never more so than in the closing stages as the rejected partners left the singers alone to their poignant minor upward scales.

“Incredible” is an over-used word these days but I struggle to find a better one.

If you like to watch the beauty of sound, look at I Fagiolini's website for their itinerary.

Wherever they are, it will be worth the journey to see and hear this incredible piece of musical drama.

I wish I could have stopped for the second sitting too.

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