Roberto Balconi

 

 

He studied singing in his native city, Milan, with Biancamaria Casoni and in England with Evelyn Tubb. He then obtained a Master’s degree (cum laude) in Singing with a thesis on the historical figure of the falsettist.

While his repertoire ranges from the Middle Ages to contemporary music, he has focused particularly on the style and technique of Baroque music, establishing himself internationally as one of its most accomplished performers.

He has worked with groups such as the English Baroque SoloistsIl Giardino ArmonicoIl Complesso BaroccoThe Consort of MusickeEnsemble Baroque de LimogesEnsemble Pian & ForteVenice Baroque OrchestraEnsemble AuroraIl Concerto ItalianoLa cappella della Pietà dei TurchiniEuropa GalanteSprezzatura, and Capella Savaria. He has appeared in most important international Early Music festivals and opera houses, such as the Holland Festival Oude MuziekFestival van VlaanderenYork Early Music FestivalFestival International de Musique Baroque BeauneBrugge FestivalOpéra de LyonMusica e Poesia a San Maurizio MilanoBerliner Tage für Alte MusikLondon Queen Elizabeth HallWiener KonzerthausTeatro Tivoli Copenhagen, Berkeley FestivalLincoln Center New York.

He made his opera debut in 1993 at La Fenice, Venice, in Tommasso Traetta’s Buovo D’Antona, conducted by Alan Curtis. His subsequent operatic career includes Händel’s Semele in a production at the Vlaamse Opera, conducted by Marc Minkowski and directed by Robert Carsen; Händel’s Siroe for Teatro La Fenice and the BAM Theatre in New York, conducted by Andrea Marcon and directed by Jorge Lavelli; Monteverdi’s trilogy under the direction of Ottavio Dantone; L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Rinaldo Alessandrini and Graham Vick at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London, and with Alessandro Demarchi at the Hamburger Staatsoper; Vivaldi’s “La Fida Ninfa” with Alan Curtis at Teatro Filarmonico, Verona. With the group La Venexiana, he took part in the first modern performance of Cavalli’s Artemisia at the Herrenhausen Festival, Hannover and at the Opèra Comique  in Montpellier.

He has moreover appeared in concerts under the direction of world-renowned Baroque specialists, including, Fabio Biondi, Antonio Florio, Giovanni Antonini, Christoph Coin, Claudio Astronio, Ivan Fischer, Corrado Rovaris, Diego Fasolis, Gustav Leonhardt, and Robert King.

He participated in the world premiere of Luis De Pablo’s “Passio,” with the RAI Orchestra, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda; and the Lugano-based Project Marta Argerich, in the world premiere of “Il vecchio nel granturco” by Jorge Bosso.

Since academic year 2009/2010, he is a professor of Baroque singing at Conservatorio “Guido Cantelli”, Novara. From 2004 until 2019, he has taught Baroque singing at Milano Civica Scuola di Musica “Claudio Abbado”, supplementing his vocal teaching with orchestral instruction and conducting in the master classes of the Baroque Orchestra. As an expert of Baroque repertory and performance practice, he has taught in numerous masterclasses and special seminars at conservatories, music academies, and universities.

He has recorded for DG Archiv, Virgin Classics, Harmonia Mundi France, Brilliant Classics, Opus 111, Nuova Era, Arcana, Glossa, Bongiovanni, Symphonia, Stradivarius, Arts, Tactus, Naxos, and many European radio and tv stations.

He has also been active as a conductor, particularly with the instrumental and vocal ensemble Fantazyas which he founded in 2000. With Fantazyas, he has appeared both as a conductor and a soloist at the Musashino Civic Cultural Hall, Tokyo, with a programme of Steffani’s duets (recorded for ALM Records. Tokyo); at Felicia Blumenthal Festival in Tel Aviv, singing and conducting Italian music of the 18th century; at the festival Musica e Poesia a San Maurizio, Milan, with a programme devoted to German sacred music from Luther to Bach; at Festival Organistico di Aosta, for which he made a reconstruction of a vesper for voices and basso coninuo, on music by Monteverdi; at the festival Sastamala Gregoriana, in Finnland, with a programme of Seconda Prattica – Madrigals and conducting Monteverdi’s Vespers.

Among the works he has conducted are the operas Ariodante and Alceste, the oratorio La Resurrezione, Concerti Grossi op. 6 and Chandos Anthems by Händel; the Motets and several cantatas by Bach; Monteverdi Orfeo and Vespers; Stabat Mater settings by Domenico Scarlatti, Pergolesi and Vivaldi; The Seven Last Words of Christ by Haydn; Dido and Aeneas, several Incidental Musics, and the Funeral Music for Queen Mary by Henry Purcell; La Serva Padrona by Pergolesi; cantatas by Buxtehude, symphonies by Sammartini, and sacred music by Mozart. With Fantazyas, he is currently exploring the Italian madrigal repertory; he has performed programmes dedicated to Monteverdi and Sigismondo D’India, and he has recorded the Second Books of Madrigals for five and six Voices by Giovanni Ghizzolo, for Brilliant Classics.

Often invited as guest conductor by the Baroque orchestra Accademia dell’Arcadia in Poznan, Poland, he has made the first recording of Duni’s Les deux Chasseurs et la Laitiere and Orlowsky’s Simphony in F major, published by Brilliant Classics; he has been artistic director of the Händel Festival Poznan and he was also given a Poznan Cultural Ambassador title. He has conducted the instrumental and vocal ensemble Cantimbanco for the first recording of Mottetti in Cantilena by Stefano Bernardi, released by Tactus.

 

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