An abundance of riches continues to surface at the Nakamichi/UCLA Baroque Festival.
The third evening concert Thursday night of the weeklong series in Schoenberg Hall Auditorium brought forth intelligent and text-worthy singing from three expert interpreters of the genre--Judith Nelson, Mary Rawcliffe and David Thomas--supported beautifully by Frederick Hammond on harpsichord and continuo organ and Paul O'Dette on the lute.
In a program called "Vocal Chamber Music of 17th-Century Venice," these five offered a baker's dozen pieces by Monteverdi, plus items by his contemporaries and successors: Barbara Strozzi, Giovanni Rovetta, Alessandro Grandi, Tarquino Merula and Francesco Cavalli.
It was a generous agenda, but one which never lagged. Its high points--Nelson's achingly heartfelt singing of the Lamento di Romilda from Cavalli's "Serse"; Rawcliffe's stoic re-creation of Monteverdi's "Quel sguardo degnosetto," and two duets as sung by the women, Grandi's "Spine care e soave," and Monteverdi's "Romanesca," which achieved that blend of expressive, pure tone and meaningful word-projection toward which singers of every generation work and connive.