In just under twenty years, Cappella Mediterranea has established itself as one of the most prominent ensembles performing Baroque and Classical music. Its qualities of sound, commitment, finesse and color are unanimously appreciated by the audiences that have the opportunity to hear it, and are acclaimed by critics everywhere.
Leonardo García Alarcón created this ensemble in 2005 to serve all the repertoires of the Latin world. From the madrigal repertoire to grand opera, Cappella Mediterranea performs with small or large forces depending on the works performed. Starting with the Italian and Spanish repertoires, the ensemble is led, in the impetus of its director’s multiple interests, to interpret French, Flemish or Germanic composers.
As the intimate repertoire of madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi, Barbara Strozzi, Sigismondo d’India or Jacques Arcadelt highlights lute players, gambists or Baroque violinists, gathered around the harpsichord and organ of Leonardo García Alarcón, it is undoubtedly the discovery or rediscovery of a wider repertoire that has established the international reputation of Cappella Mediterranea.
Thus, the re-creations of Michelangelo Falvetti’s Il diluvio universale and Nabucco at the Ambronay Festival, followed by Antonio Draghi’s El Prometeo, Francesco Sacrati’s La finta pazza, and Luigi Rossi’s Il palazzo incantato at the Opera in Dijon (before revivals in Nancy, Geneva, and at the Opéra Royal de Versailles) revealed to the public previously unpublished or unknown works, essential milestones in the history of the opera.
In this repertoire, the musicians of Cappella Mediterranea participate in Leonardo García Alarcón’s research into the ideas of authenticity, articulation, and musical incarnation. His attraction to all forms of theatricality has led them to participate together in Rameau’s astonishing Les Indes galantes, choreographed by Bintou Dembélé and directed by Clément Cogitore, which triumphed at the Opéra Bastille in 2019, or in a rereading of Lully’s Atys, choreographed and directed by Angelin Preljocaj (Geneva and Versailles 2022).
These escapades into French music should not obscure what remains the core of Cappella Mediterranea’s repertoire, namely Monteverdi, with first and foremost L’Orfeo, which has been revived many times (and recorded with Valerio Contaldo in the title role), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Aix-en-Provence 2022, revival at Versailles in January 2023), but also Francesco Cavalli: the ensemble participated in Elena (Aix-en-Provence 2013), Eliogabalo in 2016 at the Paris Opera, Il Giasone (Geneva 2017) and Erismena (Aix-en-Provence 2017).
The sacred repertoire is another axis of the ensemble. Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine and Bach’s Mass in B minor and St Matthew Passion have left the memory of exceptionally intense moments, thanks in particular to the collaboration of the ensemble with the Chœur de chambre de Namur, of which Leonardo García Alarcón is the artistic director since 2010.
More recently, the ensemble opened up to the contemporary repertoire with Leonardo García Alarcón’s first major composition: the oratorio La Passione di Gesù, a powerful and very personal work, which was enthusiastically received in Ambronay and Geneva in the fall of 2022, and will be performed at the Festival de Saint-Denis and at the Namur Concert Hall in June 2023.
Among the major projects for 2023 are the premieres of Il Dono della Vita Eterna, an oratorio by Antonio Draghi, and La Jérusalem délivrée, an opera by Philippe d’Orléans with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles.
Cappella Mediterranea’s discography includes more than 30 critically acclaimed recordings for Ambronay Editions, Naïve, Ricercar and Alpha Classics. In 2021, has been released Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Sigismondo d’India’s Lamenti & sospiri with Mariana Flores and Julie Roset, and in 2022 a world premiere of Sacrati’s La finta pazza with Mariana Flores. In 2023, Amore siciliano, a “little Tosca” is scheduled to be released, based on the music of 17th and 18th century Italy.
Cappella Mediterranea is supported by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication – DRAC Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, the Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the City of Geneva, a Swiss family foundation, a private foundation in Geneva, as well as circle of friends and supporting business partners such as Diot-Siaci, Chatillon Architectes, Synapsys, Quinten and 400 others.
Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet is the main sponsor of Cappella Mediterranea.
Cappella Mediterranea is a member of FEVIS (La fédération des ensembles vocaux et instrumentaux spécialisés – Federation of Specialized Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles) and CNM (Centre national de la Musique – National Centre of Music).