This week, Seattle-based Pacific MusicWorks, for their upcoming season finale (May 20 and 21), will give the world premiere of a new musical completion of the finale scene that appeared at the end of the originally published libretto for Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. Combining sung and danced performance, this alternate ending is the work of Stephen Stubbs, the lutenist, conductor, and the founder and artistic director of Pacific MusicWorks, with choreography by Baroque dance specialist Anna Mansbridge.
Sopranos Maya Kherani and Sherezade Panthaki (at right) and tenor Asitha Tennekoon are among a growing number of South Asian musicians working to promote more diversity in early-music casting and programming while building their own impressive careers. “I knew what it was like to not have role models," says Kherani. "I thought if I could change that for one young person by being proud and open about my heritage, I should do it.”
The only known extant works for viola da gamba in British Colonial America are found in the James River Music Book, a manuscript that has resided in Virginia since the 1730s and contains 15 works for solo viola da gamba, among other musical items. The earliest layer of the JRMB holds music by Lully, Purcell, and Handel, nearly doubling the page count of surviving instrumental music from the period and contributing repertoire for viola da gamba, organ, harpsichord, violin, and voice to the music now known to have been played in colonial Virginia. This article was first published in the May 2020 issue of EMAg.