Antonio Caldara

Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo Antonio Caldara

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Emmanuelle de Negri, Maddalena
Maïlys de Villoutreys, Marta
Benedetta Mazzucato, Amor Terrestro
Damien Guillon, Amor Celeste & musical director
Reinoud van Mechelen, Cristo
Riccardo Novaro, Fariseo

Le Banquet Céleste

Caldara was born on the Venetian lagoon towards 1670. He composed Catalonia’s very first opera, Il più bel nome (1708), which he performed in Barcelona upon request from his future employer King Charles VI – near to whom he settled down in Vienna in 1716. Caldara was a loquacious composer with three thousands works to his name. He died in Vienna in 1736, in the same Kärtnerstrasse as Vivaldi…and with the same level of precariousness. Johann Mattheson used to write that in the same way as Handel and the Red Priest, Caldara boasted “great knowledge of human feelings and emotions”. Far from being superficial, his inherent musical style demonstrated a high level of Baroque rhetoric and artifice. Caldara was always able to suspend his graceful pieces in time…[…] The genre was born immediately after the Counter-Reformation and illustrated by the Romans Carissimi and Landi. It was initially sung in Latin and performed as part of pious society gatherings. The Maddalena is however an oratorio volgare, meaning it is recited in Italian […]. In the Maddalena, the six protagonists share the Land and Sky. The characters include Marthe, Madeleine and a Pharisee, Jesus, Earthly Love and Celestial Love. They share thirty-three harmonies and ensembles, alternating between recitatives and arias. Vincent Borel



“power is in no way synonymous with intensity. The latter came way ahead during the concert performed by the Banquet Céleste, conducted by Damien Guillon and his admirable soloists. The abbatial church was filled with an attentive audience, who appreciated the fluid music and the singers’ remarkable expressiveness in their representation of Maddalena ai Piedi […]


“As for the evening’s masterpiece, Damien Guillon seems as comfortable singing as with his conductor’s stick, making constant about-turns towards the Banquet Céleste’s ensemble then towards the audience which he enchants with his noble and marvellously vocalising voice (whilst still keeping a link to his fingers by subtle hand and shoulder movements). Bearing testimony to the show’s […]


Interview with Damien Guillon and Emmanuelle de Negri at the Chaise Dieu Festival, for its opening on 18 August 2017 View communication


The countertenor Damien Guillon conducted Le Banquet Céleste and many singers (Emmanuelle de Negri, Mailys de Villoutreys, Reinoud van Mechelen, etc.) in Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo by Antonio Caldara, broadcast live from the Abbatiale Saint Robert at the Chaise-Dieu festival on 18 August 2017 – Producer: Jérémie Rousseau Podcast of the entire evening

France Musique

“Between what we play, the music we interpret and where we play it – all this resonates very closely with music as a whole.” D. Guillon Listen to the interview podcast

France Info
Choc de Classica

An oratorio set between land and sky (…), everything was done to glorify the little-known works of the Venetian composer Caldara. (…) A new reference version of this authentic masterpiece, for sure. Classica


“This is an issue to be recommended with all possible enthusiasm: it will almost certainly be my Recording of the Year.” Lionel Salter

Scherzo Magazine

“La lectura de Guillon es encomiable en todos los aspectos.” Oct 2018│Edouardo Torrico

Scherzo Magazine
BBC Music Magazine

“The recording is intimate and detailed.(…) The six soloists are sensitively cast”. Nov 2018 │Kate Bolton-Porciatti

BBC Music Magazine

“The names Damien Guillon and Le Banquet Céleste are synonyms of brilliant performances. Their appearances are so very expressive and interpretive – they are both unique and reflect the Ensemble’s excellence.” 19.10.2018│Jean-Stéphane SOURD DURAND