Concert & Lecture/Recital Programs for Voice and Lute from Mignarda
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at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Photo by Matt Hintza for the Cornell Sun
our most popular and accessible program
SHAKESPEARE'S LUTE BOOK
Mignarda, Donna Stewart and Ron Andrico, are America's premiere voice and lute duo and have presented engaging concerts and fascinating lecture-demonstrations on music in Shakespeare at concert venues, universities, libraries and museums throughout the US. Shakespeare's Lute Book: Music in the plays of Shakespeare is Mignarda's most popular and well-received program and is available in a variety of formats to enhance your Shakespeare experience.
Music was integral to Shakespeare's plays and is featured more prominently than is apparent to the casual reader. Just as a staged play brings the depth of Shakespeare's art to life, music in the plays magnifies the dramatic action and contextualizes the tender moments. And Shakespeare's texts contain musical references at every turn, with allusions to popular tunes and puns that would have been understood by original audiences but demand a bit of explanation today.
Mignarda's published music edition, Shakespeare's Lute Book, has become a standard reference for modern lutenists who perform original music from the plays, and is in use by professionals and teachers and found in major academic libraries in the US and abroad.
Read an essay on Mignarda's interpretation of 'the Willow Song' from Othello
With fascinating projected visuals, Shakespeare's Lute Book: Music in the plays of Shakespeare identifies and explores the purpose, function and significance of the many musical references in the plays. The program features live performance of songs mentioned in selected plays with a contextual discussion adding insights of how musicians provided incidental music and, at times, appeared as characters in a scene.
As concert performers, lute song duo Mignarda specializes in thoughtful programming that illuminates the vibrant mingling of renaissance music and poetry. Mignarda's lecture-recital presentations go a step further to illustrate the important links that integrate historical music and poetry, literature, theater, art, and science.
Quotes from Audiences, Colleagues & Critics
"The languid Willow Song, Desdemona’s famous lament from Othello, pulls at the heart strings -- as it surely was intended to do centuries ago. "
- Bonner Cutting, Shakespeare Matters
"Donna, I love your expressive, plaintive quality - and such intelligence shines behind every word and sentiment."
- Anthony Rooley, Director, Consort of Musicke; Professor, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis & Orpheus Institute, (Ghent Belgium)
"Ron Andrico's playing is superb, with a real understanding of pulse and tempo: when he plays a galliard or an almain you can dance the steps to it."
- Meic Goodyear, Lute News (UK)
“Thanks for your way to make music: it's full of good taste, that is something rare in this strange world of the "early music". And thanks to the singer, for her beautiful voice and elegance.”
- Marco Beasley, Accordone (Bologna, Italy)
"Reno Public Library patrons and staff were treated to an Elizabethan treat on Sunday: Shakespeare's Lute Book was presented by Mignarda, a lute/vocal combination from Ithaca, NY. They played in the garden, and Donna Stewart's vocals and Ron Andrico's lute were heard throughout the library by more than 100 patrons of all ages. Unfamiliar songs were played along with favorite tunes like Greensleeves, and the program also included a dose of history of the lute and the music/poetry of the English Renaissance.
Comments included *Amazing*, *great inspiration*, *a most delightful program*, and *more of these!*"
- Beate Weinert, Reno, NV, Public Library
"As we have come to expect, Stewart and Andrico are marvelous as a team, delivering evocative and highly nuanced performances of well-chosen repertory. "
- Daniel Hathaway & Mike Telin, Cleveland Classical
"To my ear this is the most beautiful, moving and authentic version I have ever heard. The vocal ornamentation makes sense. Obviously the singer knows the instrumental ornamentation and uses this style, I have not heard other singers achieving this with such musicality. The diction is clear and natural. The lute is one with the singer. Wow!"
- Deborah Wai Kapohe, lyric soprano, New Zealand
Donna Stewart & Ron Andrico, better known as Mignarda, are one of the few professional lute song duos in the US. Dedicated to music of the 16th century, Mignarda's engaging approach has set a new standard for interpretation, authenticity and musicianship. Based in rural upstate New York, Mignarda performs throughout the US with an international audience for their seventeen critically-acclaimed recordings and a growing series of editions of historical music for voice and lute. Mignarda's CD, Divine Amarillis, received the 2009 JPF Best Classical Vocal Album Award, and the duo maintain an active schedule in touring, recording and teaching. In addition to live performances, their music has gained international exposure through radio and television broadcasts across the US.
Duo Mignarda is unique in that their musical background mirrors that of the typical musician of the Renaissance: They bring the music to life because they live the music. Together, the duo specialize in performing music that resides in the grey zone between folk and art music, with interpretations that follow the renaissance ideal of 'moving the passions' of the listener. Capturing the nuance and intricacy of early music with warmth and flair, Mignarda’s performances remind 21st century audiences that at one time this was pop music.