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February 17, 2008



I agree with you. Art cannot be confined by rules as to what is allowed and what is not allowed when it comes to re-examination... especially opera, which is such a high-risk, huge-reward experience.

Jordan Friedman

To Gianna:

Despite my apparent "strictures", as Mr. Dickie would call them, I can easily love any good, tasteful performance of Baroque and earlier music, regardless of the type of instruments used. I am surely NOT a purist in that respect. I care more about HOW the instruments are played than I do about whether the stings are metal or gut, or the angle of the fingerboard. There are some that will not even read a review of a modern instrument performance of Händel or Bach, let alone attend one. I am irritated by those people. Although I have a personal preference for the use of authentic instruments whenever possible, I know from experience that this is not required to make the music sound beautiful. Interestingly, much of the most recent scholarship on 17th century performance practice seems to indicate that it resembled modern techniques and sonorities more than was previously thought. The most cutting-edge performances of baroque music include more vibrato in stringed instruments and singing than one could have ever heard a few years ago. My point is that the music must be played in the correct style to speak for itself in the way that baroque music can do so well, and that while authentic instruments help immensely, they are not essential for an outstanding performance. This was clearly evidenced by Emmanuelle Haïm and the Lyric players back in December, as I'm sure it will also do by Jane Glover and her orchestra at Don Giovanni this Spring. My tickets arrived yesterday, and I can't wait for that one. Perhaps if the finances are in order, I'll splurge for Orlando as well. I just hope that Leppard has the compassion to exclude the electric organ from the continuo section this time : )


This all makes total sense. And Emmanuelle Haim has proved, as has Jane Glover on many occasions, that working with modern instruments works also. And then we get to the question of pitch.....another can of worms entirely!

As far as the organ is concerned - no surely no electric organ. We are grateful to our friends at Music of the Baroque for the loan when needed of a delectable pipe organ of the right specifications. Of course the wind is provided by electricity - no organ grinder monkeys anymore alas.

Jerry Fuller

We at, a free monthly audio webcast of early music, have a strong belief in the reasons for using period instruments. Our thoughts on this issue can be found at

I also believe that one of the most wonderful things about aesthetics is that a certain point of view does not invalidate another.

I do hope that COT will continue to deliver top quality baroque opera with world-class conductors and directors; fine young singers; and period instrument orchestras for many years to come.

Tara Faircloth

"It's all about the music making please." I couldn't agree more!
It is thrilling that we even have the opportunity to hear and see different interpretations, when just a short time ago, this music was not being heard at all.
Thanks to COT for adventurous programming.... I look forward to seeing what you will bring us next!

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