Com­ing up in Philly music: Love, Lust, and Life’, Renais­sance style

2 minute read
Trio Eos combines Renaissance instruments with vocals and charisma. (Photo by Becky Oehlers.)
Trio Eos combines Renaissance instruments with vocals and charisma. (Photo by Becky Oehlers.)

Piffaro’s last concert focused on the toe-tapping dance music of the Renaissance. Its next concert will look at Renaissance love songs, from the chaste to the less discreet. The title piece, Ce Moy de May, is a good example of the second category, with a narrator who puts on a green skirt for “the merry month of May” and ends up telling her lover how to remove it.

Piffaro will combine the special sound of its authentic Renaissance instruments with the voices of an all-female group, Trio Eos. Piffaro’s co-director, Robert Wiemken, says the trio are all singers who can work with the styles of the Renaissance but also “project warmth and charisma from the stage” and possess “a flair for the dramatic.” Two of the trio have demonstrated their musical and dramatic prowess in earlier Piffaro appearances: soprano Jessica Beebe has appeared in two Piffaro Christmas programs, and mezzo Maren Montalbano scored with the Elizabethan murder ballads Piffaro presented at the Eastern State Penitentiary in 2014. The third member of the trio, Michelle Kennedy, has never appeared with Piffaro, but she’s a familiar figure to Philadelphia audiences. Like Beebe and Montalbano, she sings contemporary music with Donald Nally’s The Crossing.

Piffaro is becoming a major Philadelphia export. Many of its programs travel after they premiere in our region. This one will be repeated for the Early Music Seattle Series on May 18 and 19.

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band will present Love, Lust, Life: Ce Moys De May on Friday, May 10, 2019, at 7:30pm at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 South 38th Street; Saturday, May 11 at 7:30pm at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave; and May 12 at 3pm at Immanuel Church Highlands, 2400 West 17th Street, Wilmington, Delaware. Tickets range from $29 to 49, with youth and full-time students free with ID, and they’re available at 215-235-8469, online, and at the door.

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