Fieri’s third album, Barbara Strozzi: Virtuosa of Venice features the music of 17th-century Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi as well as Nicolò Fontei, Benedetto Ferrari, Giovanni Girolamo Kasperger and Claudio Monteverdi.
Barbara Strozzi was one of the most prolific composers of her time, not a small achievement for a woman working in a man’s world. Fieri takes you to 17th-century Venice, offering this glimpse into Strozzi’s life as a daughter, hostess, mother, and composer. Strozzi experienced a liberal education and unique access to the finest artistic and intellectual minds of Italy, such as Claudio Monteverdi, Nicolò Fontei and Benedetto Ferrari whose music also features on this disc. During her lifetime she enjoyed love but suffered loss and this is reflected in the legacy of her music.
In 1637, when Barbara Strozzi turned eighteen years old, her father, the poet Giulio Strozzi, founded the Accademia degli Unisoni, designed to showcase his daughter’s musical talents. She became known across Venice as the virtuosissima singer who could ‘steal the souls of her listeners through their ears with sweetness’.
Strozzi was fortunate enough to be connected with one of the most famous academies in Italy – her father was a member of the Accademia degli Incogniti, comprised of some of the most liberal intellectuals of the time. These artists and writers met to discuss important issues of their day, including the rights and roles of women. Many new ideas were born here, such as the development of opera as an art form for the public.
The collection presented on this album demonstrates Strozzi’s wide-ranging style, from the innocent flirtation of her first book, ‘I baci’ and ‘Il ritorno’, through witty comedy in ‘Al battitor al bronzo’, to her later publications, the seductive duets ‘Begli occhi’ and ‘Morso e bacio’, and finally her beautiful and moving laments ‘Lagrime mie’ and ‘L’eraclito amoroso’.
“The singing has highly effective clarity and sincerity, and is accompanied with tasteful discretion and precision by a revolving continuo trio…” – Gramophone, 2019
“With elegance, charm, and excellent Italian, the female voices balance emotion with admirable control, while the tenors push expression uncomfortably close to the edge.” – Choir & Organ, 2020