La Venexiana was founded by Claudio Cavina in 1996 and today is one of the most noted madrigal groups having been described as “the new Orpheus of the Italian madrigal repertoire”. It takes its name from an anonymous renassaince comedy and aims to incorporate into its performances a sense of theatre, attention to language in all its subtlety, and a sense of exultation in contrasts between sacred and profane, refined and popular.
Since the beginning of 1998 La Venexiana has collaborated exclusively with the Spanish label Glossa with whom they made the CD Il Madrigale Italiano, which included madrigals by Monteverdi, Luzzaschi, Luca Marenzio, d’India, and de Wert, and won numerous prizes including the Prix Cecilia 1999, the Prix Cini 2000, the Prix Amadeus 2000, the Gramophone Award 2001, the Cannes Classical Award 2002, the Grand Prix du Disque Academie Charles Cross 2003, the Amadeus’s CD of the year 2001, the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2005 and 2006, and the CHOC du Monde de la Musique 2006. La Venexiana’s recording of Monteverdi’s Orfeo was awarded CHOC du Monde de la Musique and BBC Classical Music and Gramophone’s Editor’s first choice in 2007 and won the Classic fM Gramophone award for baroque opera in 2008.
In a dramatically different style La Venexiana has collaborated with Roberta Mameli and a select quartet of jazz musicians improvising on saxophone, accordion, double bass and drums in a CD entitled “Round M Monteverdi meets Jazz” Cavina explaining the approach by saying that within Monteverdi’s music, “there is something modern, something new and innovatory which encourages one to dare, to go further.”
In 2007/8 La Venexiana took a staged performance of Monteverdi’s Ballo delle Ingrate, produced by Paola Reggiani, on tour to Festival van Vlaanderen, Vevey, Hamburg, Cremona, Eilat, Madrid Teatro Real, Potsdam Sansoucci, and Amsterdam Concertbegouw; and in 2008/2009 Orfeo to London, Melk, Regensburg, Lyon, Weingarten, Jerez, Brugge, Udine, Modena, St. Gallen, Viterbo, Eilat, Sablé, Chatilly, and Seattle. It has performed l’Incoronazione di Poppea in Herne, Paris, Regensburg, Milan, and Perigueux.
In 2010 at the Festival de Radio France in Montpellier La Venexiana gave the first performance of Artemisia by Francesco Cavalli using the new Hannover-Herrenhausen edition, and in 2011 of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse by Monteverdi in Regensburg, Paris and Amsterdam.
It has been said of La Venexiana that it has established a new style in Italian early music performance: a warm, truly Mediterranean blend of textual declamation, rhetorical colour and harmonic refinement.