In New Orleans, in the early years of the 18th century, the Ursuline Sisters opened a school for the daughters of French colonists. The nuns and their pupils were a long way from home in a new country, and the sisters eased the separation by creating a religiously acceptable musical bond with the homeland. They took popular songs by French composers and substituted religious words for the secular lyrics.
In 2014, a New Orleans museum, the New Orleans Historical Collection, published a facsimile edition of an 18th-century illustrated music book and offered the songs to “the researchers and musicians of the world.” This weekend, Philadelphians can hear selections from the book sung by baritone Corbin Phillips, accompanied by a leading contemporary lute player, Richard Stone, who is the co-director of Tempesta di Mare.
At most Tempesta di Mare concerts, Stone plays his bass lute as a member of Tempesta’s baroque orchestra. This will be a good chance to hear him in a more prominent role.
Tempesta di Mare will present Nouvelle Orleans with Corbin Phillips, baritone, and Richard Stone, theorbo, on April 6, 2019, at 5pm at Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Road in Chestnut Hill, and April 7 at 3pm at the Museum of the American Revolution at 101 South 3rd Street. Tickets are $25 general admission at both sites, or $39 for concert with two-day admission to the Museum of the American Revolution, and they’re available online and at the door.