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La Rossignol time travel to the Renaissance era

Agus Dwi Hastutik

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, October 4, 2017  /  09:14 am
La Rossignol time travel to the Renaissance era

Time travel: Italian-based La Rossignol performance group takes the audience back to the Renaissance era. (Italian Cultural Institute/File)

Hundreds of spectators crowded the Usmar Ismail Hall, South Jakarta, on Sept. 22 to watch the performance of the group known as La Rossignol. The performance was organized by the Italian Embassy, in association with the Italian Cultural Institute in Jakarta.

For 90 minutes, the group left an everlasting impression on the audience with their performance.

Dressing up like Renaissance-era Italian nobles, Letizia Dradi (dancer), Roberto Quintarelli (contralto, dancer), Matteo Pagliari (transversal flute, bag pipe), Francesco Zuvadelli (hurdy gurdy, positive organ) and Domenico Baronio (lute, Renaissance guitar, drums) — performed songs and dances from the Italian Courts between the XV and the XVI centuries.

The performance featured a typical Renaissance era Italian festa (party), which often contrasts two different worlds and social classes, where the musicians (Matteo, Francesco, and Domenico) were the servants, and the two dancers (Letizia and Roberto) were the nobles preparing themselves for a feast.

“The Renaissance was an important historical period that can’t be found in any other culture,” Baronio said in an interview with The Jakarta Post.

The Renaissance, spanning from the 14th to the 17th century, was a golden era of cultural achievements in Europe. The era, which began in Italy, was notable for producing some of the world’s greatest artists and thinkers such as Leonardo Da Vinci.

La Rossignol performed for 90 minutes at the Usmar Ismail Hall, South Jakarta, on Sept. 22. The performance was organized by the Italian Embassy, in association with the Italian Cultural Institute in Jakarta.La Rossignol performed for 90 minutes at the Usmar Ismail Hall, South Jakarta, on Sept. 22. The performance was organized by the Italian Embassy, in association with the Italian Cultural Institute in Jakarta. (Italian Cultural Institute/File)

La Rossignol’s primary objective is to study and research the art form of the Renaissance era. Through study and research, the group has replicated musical pieces from original manuscripts using copies of the instruments from the era.

Information about music and dance during the Renaissance era was hard to find because of the limited resources the group had when it started back in 1987.

“Back then, the internet did not exist. La Rossignol studied and researched the dances and music [of the Renaissane era] in the library. Fortunately, there were still materials stored in the library, as well as private homes. Now, with the existence of the internet, we can access the archives of many libraries.” Baronio said.

The main reason of conducting thorough research was to recreate the music and dances of the Renaissance era in accordance to their historical context.

The group also gives particular attention to the reconstruction of the costumes from the time period.

Italian-based La Rossignol group dedicates itself to preserve the art form of the Renaissance era and take it to global audiences.Italian-based La Rossignol group dedicates itself to preserve the art form of the Renaissance era and take it to global audiences. (Italian Cultural Institute/File)

The group’s artwork and performance further tries to showcase the social conventions of the Renaissance era, which was more complex than the contemporary period.

La Rossignol’s hard work of more than 20 years paid off when the audience showed their appreciation of the group’s live performances in Jakarta recently.

“This is the first time we are coming to Jakarta. We are impressed with the reaction from the audience. We really had a good experience,” Baronio, who often acts as the leader and spokesperson of the group, said.

Practice makes perfect: Italian performance group La Rossignol rehearse before their performance.Practice makes perfect: Italian performance group La Rossignol rehearse before their performance. (Italian Cultural Institute/File)

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The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.

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