King Henry VIII of England (courtesy of SFRV)
The overall title for the fourteenth season of San Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV) has been A Nun, A Queen, The Lady & A King. The nun was Hildegard of Bingen, recognized through a performance of her “Ordo Virtutum” (order of the virtues) at the beginning of the season. The queen was supposed to be Elizabeth I of England, who has annually presided over the SFRV Christmas concert. Unfortunately, that concert was not held and has been postponed until December of this year. The definite article should make it clear that the Lady was the Virgin Mary, who was honored with a performance of Heinrich Isaac’s Missa Virgo Prudentissima this past March. This month the cycle will conclude with a program honoring Elizabeth’s father, King Henry VIII of England.
The title of that program will be To Henry, from Florence with Love. It concerns a gift that was sent from the republic of Florence to the English court. The gift was a five-volume set of madrigal and motet partbooks that had been compiled by Florentine musicians and scholars. The SFRV vocalists will present a selection of the polyphonic works contained in this collection, as well as other works composed in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in both England and Spain. The musical performances will be supplemented with “commentary” provided by actors Meg Trowbridge, Allison Newman, and Ryan Newman, along with choreography executed by dancer Irenie Melin-Gompper. There will also be instrumental performances by lutenist Paul Psarras.
The San Francisco performance of this program will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. The venue will be the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, located in the Sunset at 1750 29th Avenue, about halfway between Moraga Street and Noriega Street. Ticket prices are $30 for general admission with a $25 rate for students and seniors and a $15 charge for children aged twelve and younger. Because the demand tends to be high, advance purchase is highly advised. Tickets may be purchased online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.