Mar 20 2021

Madrigals Return Home (Tour Notes, 2001)

“Together they had come far and experienced much in their exploration of their musical heritage. The memories they created together would be cherished for a lifetime.”

This article was originally published in our 2001-2002 Tour Notes.

****

Hailing from Greenwich, Connecticut, the Greenwich Academy Madrigal Singers are a select choir of 18 young ladies. This tour, the choir’s third with ACFEA, took the Madrigals back to their musical roots in Italy, introducing them to the homes of Monteverdi, Verdi and Palestrina. As the Madrigals boarded an airplane bound for Rome, excitement and expectation were evident in their faces.

The group began their tour in Rome by participating in a Mass in the Chiesa San Agostino. It was a lovely afternoon, made even more perfect by a successful performance. Two days later they followed this up with a concert to a full house in the charming town of Marcellina.

The beauty of their next stop, Perugia, stunned them, and that evening’s concert in the Basilica di San Francesco in nearby Assisi was presented to yet another packed house. The Madrigals were also experiencing another wonder of Umbria: the food. One favorite restaurant was nestled in the ancient walls of Perugia and offered an awe-inspiring view across to Assisi.

After another splendid concert in Perugia, it was time to head to Florence. With their hotel situated directly next to Florence’s famed San Lorenzo market, the ladies kept themselves quite busy investigating the local wares. Here and at other places throughout the tour, family and friends were also traveling in Italy dropped in on the girls to share the fun. The group continued through Venice, then on to Mantova where they were pleased to be joined by the Greenwich Academy headmistress, Patricia Howard, and their Upper School president.

Mantova was the home of Monteverdi and the Madrigals felt right at home. The group’s concert in the stunning baroque Teatro Bibiena was hosted by the Brigata Corale Tre Laghi, a local men’s choir. Beth Raaen, director, could never have anticipated the host choir’s reaction to her singers. Each piece was followed by thunderous applause and, after the second encore, the director of the Corale asked the Madrigals to sing the Italian anthem, to which they agreed on the condition that the Corale join them. Guided by Raaen (at the insistence of the men’s choir), the two ensembles joined in a rousing chorus.

The tour culminated in a relaxing visit to Como and an informal farewell concert in their medieval castle hotel honoring those Madrigals who would be graduating. Together they had come far and experienced much in their exploration of their musical heritage. The memories they created together would be cherished for a lifetime.

Keywords