Virtuosity in the late Baroque period was an intricate issue. On the one hand, its outward appearance is simple: the public attending the opera or a concert demanded to be overwhelmed by performers’ technique. On the other hand, virtuosity served as a vehicle for profound drama; it provided imitation (of natural phenomena such as birds or storms, or instruments attempting to sound like voices and vice versa) and it often revealed composers’ command over their craft.
Supplying tailor-made arias for a star singer or concertos for a gifted performer, composers were often expected to demand all the special effects and tricks that performers had up their sleeve. For Handel and Vivaldi, such circumstances did not hinder inspiration. The ensemble Barrocade, together with singer Claire Meghnagi and the soloist Shai Kribus, present Handel’s and Vivaldi’s works.