Vita segreta, Musica Segreta

Drawing inspiration from the Musica Secreta which flourished in the Ferrara court under Alfonso d Este, and the fascinating secret lives of the singers and composers that thrived in the Florentine and Venetian courts,  singers Maira Milolidaki, Natassa Angelopoulou and Effi Minakouli travel in 17th century Italy and explore the vocal music composed by female composers or for female singers by Luzzascho Luzzaschi, Claudio Monteverdi, Salamone Rossi, Sigismondo d’ India, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Francesca Caccini, Luigi Rossi, Girolamo Kapsberger and Barbara Strozzi. They are accompanied by Katerina Ktona at the harpsichord.


Su, su, su pastorelli vezzosi                                                                  Claudio Monteverdi

9 Libro dei madrigali, canti guerrieri e amorosi, marigali

e canzonette a due e tre voci, 1638


Ohime, dove’l mio bene                                                                       Claudio Monteverdi

7 Libro dei Madrigali, 1619


O primavera, gioventù dell’ anno                                                         Sigismondo d’ India

Il Primo Libro di Musiche da cantar solo, 1609


Se l’aura spira                                                                                       Girolamo Frescobaldi

Primo libro d’arie musicali per cantarsi, 1630


Che fai tu                                                                                             J. H. Kapsberger

Primo libro de villanelle con tablature di chitarrone, 1610


Che si puo fare                                                                                     Barbara Strozzi

Arie a voce sola, op. 8, 1644


Folia                                                                                                    Bernardo Storace

Selva di varie compositioni d’intavolatura

per cimbalo ed organo 1664


Come dolce hoggi l’auretta                                                                  Claudio Monteverdi

9 book Marigali e canzonette a due e tre voci, 1638


Ohime ch’ io cado                                                                                Claudio Monteverdi

Quarto Scherzo delle ariose vaghezze, 1624


Che amor sia nudo                                                                               Francesca Caccini

Il primo libro delle Musiche, 1618


Venite, venite                                                                                       Claudio Monteverdi

SV 335, 1624


Si dolce  è ‘l tormento                                                                          Claudio Monteverdi

Scherzi Musicali, 1632


T’ amo mia vita                                                                                    Luzzascho Luzzaschi

Madrigali per cantare e sonare a 1-3 soprani, 1601


Dolcissimo sospiro                                                                               Giulio Caccini

Le Nuove Musiche, 1601


Le Tre Grazie a Venere                                                                         Barbara Strozzi

Il primo libro dei madrigali a due, tre e quattro voci, 1644


Dormite begl’ occhi                                                                              Luigi Rossi

L’Orfeo, 1647

Augellin                                                                                               Stefano Landi


Passacagla Della Vita                                                                            Stefano Landi



Canto Soave

Each of the ladies forming the vocal ensemble Canto Soave has for many years followed her own distinct path in various fields of music and musical theater, serving a wide range of repertoires and aesthetics. As a result of their many fruitful collaborations they have created Canto Soave, out of love for the beauty born from the harmonious sounding of female voices in the works of the most prominent composers of the Renaissance and the Baroque. Equally interested in the contemporary musical idioms they collaborate with young composers specializing in electroacoustic composition.

Natassa Anghelopoulou

She has studied choral conducting, classical singing, violoncello, piano and accordion and has earned all her degrees with highest distinction and first prize. With a scholarship from IKY  she has continued her studies at the Music Department of the Ionian University from where she graduated with a  degree in Orchestral Conducting, earning the highest grade and a first prize. She furthered her studies with a postgraduate course in orchestral conducting earning her Master degree with first class and distinction.

She has participated in workshops with the Bach Academy singing under the direction of Helmut Rilling. She has collaborated as a soloist with the Symphonic Orchestra of  ΕΡΤ, the National Orchestra of Thessaloniki, the Camerata, the Orchestra of the University of Athens and other orchestral ensembles, performing works such as Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Bach Cantata’s. She has also performed operatic parts such as Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Bellinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She has recorded for Radio 3.

She is active on the contemporary music scene collaborating with IEMA (Institute of Research in Modern Acoustics) as a violoncello player.

She has conducted the Symphonic Orchestra of ERT, the Orchestra of the Ionian University, the Orchestra of Modern Music of ERT, the choir of the National Opera House, the Radio choir and small orchestral ensembles.

She has taught the class of choral conducting in the Conservatory of Athens.

Katerina Ktona

Katerina Ktona was born in Athens. She received a piano diploma (1st Prize) from the Athens Conservatory. With a scholarship from the German government, DAAD, she specialized in harpsichord and clavichord with Hedwig Bilgram at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Munich, where she graduated in 1976 with the highest dinstiction. She has also attended seminars with Kenneth Gilberd in Belgium and Ton Koopman in Scotland.

In 1977 she has started her professional career in Greece. She has collaborated with several international artists such as Marcel St-Cyr, Roberto Fabbriciani, Carlo Denti, and Nicolas Kynaston with whom she has presented works for organ and harpsichord.

She is a founding member of the Greek baroque ensemble SINFONIA, which has collaborated with soloists such as Nancy Argenta,  Greta de Reyghere, Michael Chance and with conductors such as Eric van Nevel and Paul Dombrecht. SINFONIA has also appeared together with the British ensemble His Majesties  Sugbutts and Cornets. She is a cofounder of the vocal ensemble Canto Soave.

Katerina Ktona has performed as soloist with the Orchestra of the Greek Radio and Television, the Athens State Orchestra, and the Greek chamber orchestra Camerata, with which she has collaborated in the first Greek performance of the Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings by Nicolas Gorecki. She has also given the first Greek performance of works for solo harpsichord based on Byzantine themes by the Greek composer Dion Aryvas.

Katerina Ktona is a harpsichord professor at the Nakas Conservatory.

Maira Milolidaki

Born in Athens, she studied piano and classical singing at the Athens Conservatoire. As a scholar of the Onassis Foundation she pursued her vocal studies in Milan, Italy, and in Rome with Renata Scotto as a member of the Opera Studio in the National Academy of Santa Cecilia. She has also studied theatre and the art of performance (Drama school Εμπρός and Attis Theater, the Acting Method of Terzopoulos). As a debutante, she has participated in the international young artists program of the Aegean Opera under the artistic direction of the American baritone Sherrill Milnes. Since then, she appears regularly on stage performing a wide repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary music. She works regularly with Evelina Arapidi and George Stefanakidis (Chromatic Sequence) in the creation of sui generis performances, such as Pietà, a performance awarded in the International Theater Festival AndriyivskyFest, in Kiev, June 2018,  and with the avant garde artist and sound designer Constantine Skourlis.

A few favorites moments: Sängerin (B. Brecht, National Theater of Greece), Violetta (Verdi, La Traviata) and Madga (Puccini, La Rondine) in Rome (Accademia di Santa Cecilia), Gilda (Verdi, Rigoletto, Teatro dal Verme, Milan), Queen of the Night (Mozart, The Magic Flute, National Opera of Greece), Micaela (Bizet, Carmen) and Rosina (Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with the Athens Municipality Symphony Orchestra, a recital at Carnegie Hall, N. Y, with the quintet Melos Brass, the artistic direction of the concert cycle A Museum made of Music (Museum of Cycladic Art, 2009-2011) and of the festival Music Tones at Beton 7 (2011-2015), performing Gepopo (Ligeti, Le Grand Macabre) for the workshop of contemporary music (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), recording the art songs Grafomena by J. Valette (released in 2018),  singing Purcell with the counter tenor Michael Chance, performing the Akhmatova Songs by J. Tavener with the cellist A. Liakakis  at the Onassis Cultural Center, taking part in the productions of the Music Theater Company RAFI (Céphise in Pygmalion (Rameau) staged by P. Mexis, Godmother in Cendrillon (Viardot) and Morgana in Alcina (Handel), both staged by Th. Glynatsis), performing the songs by G. Couroupos based on the poems by O. Elytis and Credo by N. Hakim in the “free jazz performance” BSDA by G. Panteleakis, appearing in the movie Matriarchy by N. Kornilios, being a member of the baroque ensemble Canto Soave, having fun in Paris (Phd in semiotics, Sorbonne University), teaching vocal technique at Deree and at Nakas Conservatory.

Since 2008 she performs regularly with the pianist Titos Gouvelis, exploring the art song repertoire in its many periods and forms. Their relationship in music affected them so much they had to be married.

Effi Minakoulis

Effi Minakoulis was born in Athens. She studied French Literature, classical guitar and classical singing and completed her studies with distinction and first prize. With a scholarship from the British Council and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama she furthered her studies at the Early Music Department of the Guildhall School, studying renaissance lute, theorbo, and singing with some of the foremost professionals of the Early Music scene (Nigel North, Mary Nichols, David Roblou, Emma Kirkby). She holds a MMus in Historic and Systematic Musicology from the National Kapodistrian University of Greece.

As a member of various renaissance and baroque groups she has performed in all major venues in Greece and abroad and has collaborated with artists such as Michael Chance, Nancy Argenta, His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornets and Eric van Nevel. As a lute player she has collaborated with most Greek Orchestras and has participated in many performances of Baroque Operas such as  She has also participated in the performance and the first worldwide recordings of Handel’s Oreste with Camerata Stuttgart and Arianna in Creta, Tamerlano and  Giulio Cesare with the Patras Orchestra for the German company MDG,  the CD Nativita di Christo containing Italian 17th century music, the CD Lovely Echoes with medieval and 21st century music and the CD Vita Segreta-Musica Segreta containing Italian music of the 16th and 17th  century composed by female composers or for female vocal ensembles.

As a singer she is active in the Early Music scene promoting the vocal music of the 16th and 17th centuries. She has collaborated with the Orchestra of the Municipality of Athens and the Orchestra of the American College of Athens in the performance of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat, A. Vivaldi’ s  Gloria,  W. A. Mozart’s Requiem and The Magic Flute, and Verdi’s Traviata. She is a founding member of the vocal ensemble Family Voices which performs a wide range of music in creative blending and of the ensemble Anima Graeca which specializes in Greek and Jewish music.  She is a member of the professional choir of the Municipality of Athens.

She is also active as an educator. She has collaborated with the Athens Concert Hall in the presentation of Sunday Morning Concerts for young listeners.  Since 2016 she collaborates with the Friends of the Greek Island and Sea organizing and leading interactive musical workshops for children in various islands. She also participates in the planning and the presentation of the educational program of the Orchestra and the Choir of the Municipality of Athens.

She teaches at the Music Department of the American College of Greece, Deree College where she also conducts the ACG Community Choir.

Diane Sutherland

Born in London, a graduate of Cambridge University, soprano Diane Sutherland has sung many different repertoires with choirs in the UK, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Greece. A member of the Brussels Light Opera Company since 1986, she has taken part in numerous operas, operettas and musicals. Her repertoire includes theatre and cabaret. Diane has performed three times at the Patmos Sacred Music Festival. In 2016 she gave a song recital accompanied by the pianist Panos Karan. Diane has extensive experience of improvisation (words and music), writes lyrics, and has recorded 20 albums with the composer and producer Bruno Libert.


Special Thanks to The American College of Greece for generously offering the recording studio.

Recorded, mixed and produced by Bruno Libert



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