The performance at the First Presbyterian Church amounted to a colorful tapestry of tunes, sonatas and canzones, songs rich in melodies that folks would hear informally on streets and, more formally, at inside gatherings of various persuasions. The composers are not so well-known now, but reveal in these 17th-century pieces a gift for attracting audiences: the Venetians Dario Castello and Biagio Marini, the Assisi-born Giovanni Battista Buonamente, from Ferrara, the keyboard virtuoso Girolamo Frescobaldi, Cremona’s Tarquinio Merula and Verona’s Antonio Bertali, along with Marco Antonio Ferro, birthplace a question mark.
Their music varied at least slightly, one from the others, but in sum evoked the land and people and era in festive manner. For base and body, Opera Nova has harpsichordist Dawn Kalis, violist da gamba Sarah Lodico and lutenist Everett Redburn, each a significant contributor to the instrumental weave. As featured and terrific soloists, the ensemble starred violinists Reynaldo Patino and Martie Perry, sackbut artist (trombone) Caleb Ketcham and, on dulcian (bassoon), Charles Wines. They embraced the music, energetically making it their own. As such, they are fun to watch and hear.