The Folger Consort and the Newberry Consort in concert on consecutive nights is a pleasure comparable to a joint recital by Pavarotti and Domingo. Both among the world's top early-music ensembles, the D.C.-based Folger and our own Newberry have long mastered the art of breathing life into medieval and Renaissance music, and their performances tend to be both enlightening and entertaining. This weekend the ensembles both turn to medieval French romance. From the Folger, a semistaged version of The Romance of the Rose, an early 13th-century narrative poem by Jean Renart that tells the parable of a young woman with a rose-shaped birthmark whose fidelity to her suitor is tested again and again. From the Newberry, a darker love and adventure story that was the rage circa 1250, The Romance of Tristan, about the trials and tribulations of a doomed pair whose mixed feelings about each other vanish after they drink a love potion, originally took 60 evenings to tell. The Newberry will perform a telescoped version with countertenor Drew Minter and mezzo Judith Malafronte. As usual, an assortment of period instruments--vielle, lute, citole, and medieval harp--will be played by Mary Springfels, Kevin Mason, David Douglass, and William Taylor. Tonight (Folger Consort) and Saturday (Newberry Consort), 8 PM, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 935 N. Dearborn; 943-9090, ext. 310.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Julie Ainsworth.