Jupiter Ensemble
Lea Desandre, mezzo-soprano
Union College


Sunday, March 12, 2023 - 3:00 PM


Founded by renowned lutenist Thomas Dunford, this early music ensemble has quickly garnered a reputation as one of Europe’s best, performing at London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlin’s Philharmonie, and Paris’s Salle Gaveau. Joined by leading French mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, the group offers an incredible Vivaldi program.


“Vedrò con mio diletto” from Il Giustino, RV 717
“Armatae face et anguibus” from Juditha triumphans, RV 644
Lute Concerto in C Major, RV 82
“Cum dederit” from Nisi Dominus, RV 608
Lute Concerto in D Major, RV 93
L’inverno, RV 297
“Gelido in ogni vena,” from Il Farnace, RV 711
“Gelosia, tu già rendi l’alma mia” from Ottone in villa, RV 729
Cello Concerto in G Minor, RV 416
“Onde chiare che sussurrate” from Ercole su’l Termodonte, RV 710
“Scenderò, volerò, griderò” from Ercole su’l Termodonte, RV 710

Sponsored by the Paul and Alane Hohenberg Fund


Union College
Memorial Chapel
Schenectady, NY

General Admission seating – doors open 45 minutes before concert.
All kids and college students admitted free at door.

Ticket information and policies

Jupiter Ensemble was formed by lutenist and Artistic Director, Thomas Dunford, who gathered together a new generation of early music specialists who are breathing new life into period practice. A group that embodies the Mahlerian aphorism that “tradition is not the worship of ashes but the preservation of fire”, Ensemble Jupiter present an exuberant portrait of Antonio Vivaldi, whose solo works, operas and oratorios are among some of the most timeless music of the Baroque period. Outstanding Mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre anchors the program with selections of vocal works, while Ensemble Jupiter exhibit Vivaldi’s instrumental brilliance with two concertos for lute and cello.

In 2018, at the age of 30, Thomas Dunford created his ensemble Jupiter where he invited extraordinary musicians and soloists he met during his many years of touring around the world. Their multi-award-winning debut recording of Vivaldi was released by Alpha in 2019. Their upcoming projects include a program around Handel with Iestyn Davies and Lea Desandre, a program around Monteverdi and “Amazone”, a French-Italian recital program with Lea Desandre, to be released in the fall of 2021 by Erato. Jupiter has already been programmed in the most important concert halls in Europe and the United States: Philharmonie de Paris, Philharmonie de Berlin, Auditorium Radio-France, ElbPhilharmonie Hamburg, Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Easter Festival in Aix-en-Provence.

French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre was 20 when she was awarded a place on William Christie’s Le Jardin des Voix Academy. In 2017 she was named Vocal Disovery at the Victoires de la Musique Classique Awards. She studied with Sara Mingardo in Venice and can also look back on a 12-year period of training as a ballet dancer.

Since 2015 Lea Desandre has been acclaimed in various roles, including Urbain (Les Huguenots), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Annio (La clemenza di Tito), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Messaggera (L’Orfeo), Flerida in Cavalli’s Erismena and the title role in Marais’ Alcione.

In 2018 she delighted her audiences at the Paris Opéra Comique in a fully-staged one-woman show, Et in Arcadia ego, with music by Rameau.

​She made her Salzburg Festival debut at Whitsun 2018 in Offenbach’s La Périchole under Marc Minkowski, returning that same summer as Amore and Valletto (L’incoronazione di Poppea) under Christie/Lawers and at Whitsun 2019 for Caldara’s oratorio La morte d’Abel and for the gala concert Farinelli & Friends with Cecilia Bartoli. In the summer 2019 she was heard as Vénus in Orphée aux enfers under Mazzola/Kosky and for the 100 years of the Festival, she made her debuts as Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte) under Mallwitz/Loy.

Concert appearances and song recitals have taken her to London’s Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Musikverein, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Philharmonie de Paris, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Sydney Opera House, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, Shanghai Symphony Hall, among others.

​As a committed chamber recitalist she also appears regularly with the lutenist Thomas Dunford and his Jupiter ensemble. In addition to the above-named conductors, she has also worked with John Eliot Gardiner, Louis Langrée, Raphaël Pichon, Jordi Savall, Emmanuelle Haïm, Enrique Mazzola and Leonardo García Alarcón.

​Lea Desandre’s CDs include Barricades with Jean Rondeau, Vivaldi with the Jupiter ensemble, Handel: Italian Cantatas with Sabine Devieilhe, Berenice, che fai? with Opera Fuoco and Cities with Thibault Cauvin.

Plans for 2020/21 include Hippolyte et Aricie at the Opéra Comique, Idamante (Idomeneo) at the Berlin State Opera, L’Amour (Orphée et Eurydice) in Versailles, Annio (La Clemenza di Tito) at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. A concert tour celebrating the release of her first solo album, Amazones (Erato), will take her and the Jupiter ensemble to the Philharmonie de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Festival de Pâques d’Aix-en-Provence and elsewhere. She will also be heard as Tamiri in a concert performance of Il re pastore at the Salzburg Mozartwoche Festival.