Michelene Wandor’s early music group, Siena, recorded Salamone Rossi Hebreo Mantovano (2002), the first CD produced in the UK of the music of Salamone Rossi, Jewish composer and contemporary of Monteverdi. Jewish Music Institute Millennium Lottery Fund Award.
The group has broadcast in her Radio 3 play, Orlando and Friends, and gives carefully created concerts which have a unique and seamless mix of words and music. Over the past decade the ensemble has performed the previously little-known music of Salamone Rossi, the early 17th century Jewish composer from Mantua, a contemporary of Monteverdi. Siena has appeared at the Purcell Room in London, in Nottingham and at the Lincoln Early Music Festival, and also produced a debut CD, Salamone Rossi Hebreo Mantovano (2002), the first CD produced in this country to contain a cross-section of Rossi’s music. The CD was produced with the help of a Jewish Music Institute Millenneum Lottery Fund Award.
‘The CD weaves together a diverse selection of Rossi’s sacred and secular vocal and instrumental music. The playing and singing is excellent and utterly compelling. Michelene Wandor links the music with an extended poem which draws the listener more closely into the experience. The result is both moving and enriching.’
– Early Music News, 2002
‘Siena Ensemble bring Rossi’s music to life.’
– Radio 3
Plain and Fancy
An entertainment based on the life, times and music of Benvenuto Cellini, with music from 16th-century Europe. Toured round the country and appeared at a number of early music festivals. (2002 onwards)
The Marriage of True Minds: Shakespeare and the Dark (Jewish?) Lady of the Sonnets
A vivid evocation of life in London in the early seventeenth century, woven round the life and times of Emilia Lanier, the first woman in England to publish a long, devotional poem. Music by Dowland, Byrd and others. (2003 onwards)
The Music of the Prophets: the resettlement of the Jews in England, 1655-1656
The story of Oliver Cromwell and Menasseh ben Israel, with evocations of Amsterdam and London. Music by John Hingeston, Cromwell’s Master of Musick. (2006 onwards.) Supported by the European Association for Jewish Culture.