A music director and musicologist, Pedro Memelsdorff has long performed with J. Savall and A. Staier. He founded the ensemble Mala Punica, specialized in medieval polyphony and recipient of numerous awards. A fellow of Villa I Tatti in Florence, E.-Bloch lecturer at Berkeley, Blodgett and Wolf Distinguished Artist at Harvard, he is now an Affiliate Researcher at the Univ. of Tours and a faculty member of the Esmuc in Barcelona and the Swiss Doctoral School in Italian Culture in Lugano. Director of the Early Music Seminars at the Fondazione Cini in Venice and the concert series of Villa I Tatti in Florence, he has also served as the Director of the Schola Cantorum in Basel.
Minette, Caribbean Galathée
Saint-Domingue was the richest of all French-Caribbean colonies, owing its wealth to its sugarcane industry, entirely based on slave labor. Social tensions exploded in the 1790s but the three preceding decades generated a unique mixture of local and European musical cultures: over 8,000 concerts and 1,200 operas staged in 8 major theaters. Minette is an opéra-pastiche on the life of the first title-role singer of color in the history of opera. A grandchild of a slave, she debuted at age fourteen in 1781, exiled to Cuba in 1803, and died young in New Orleans in 1807.