Courageous (and excellent) musicians, courageous (and magnificent) editor and original program elaborated by Katarina Livljanic (teaches at various universities from Harvard to the Sorbonne), a cult artist since the first of a long series of albums, Terra Adriatica (L'Empreinte digitale, twenty years ago) followed by, among others, Abbo Abbas (Ambronnay) or Dalmatica (Arcana), her last (except for my mistake). Accompanied by the flutes, harp and rebec of the Dialogos ensemble, Katarina Livljanic sings in Italian, French, Latin, Croatian, ancient Slavic and Greek some texts that she compiled whose theme is the metamorphosis of Buddha: Bodhisattva becomes Buddha-saf, then Judasaph/Josaphat and, guided by the hermit Barlaam, he comes to integrate, along with his guide, the Christian saint (until the end of the 19th century). In this journey towards an invisible world, Livljanic's performance (the specialist in medieval music also frequents contemporary repertoires in collaboration with Thierry Pecou's Variances ensemble) stands out for its amazing expressiveness, its 'Callassian' theatricality and its infinite variation of nuances from word to song that reflect or underline the diversity of the texts in each language. The musicologist has judiciously reconstructed the music from melodic formulas and 'modes of interpretation' corresponding to each text and language. I cannot say if these musics are (exactly? more or less?) the ones that were heard then, but I believe that their power of fascination remains as valid. "Ancient music never became ancient, but we have forgotten it", says one of Dialogos' musicians. The booklet offers a code for free download of the numerical book The Legend of Barlaam and Josaphat by Katarina Livljanic.
Ms. Livljanic enacted the ancient drama with splendidly pure singing in Croatian, urgent narration, a penetrating gaze and expressive hands. (…) What makes “Judith” seem almost startlingly modern and metaphysical at times is Ms. Livljanic’s incorporation of other 16th-century texts dealing with inner dialogues at climactic moments in the story.
As an aural and visual experience it was one of the most moving events of this year's Festival.
Glowing four-part polyphonies with extreme density… the beauty of these polyphonies bewitches us … Dialogos voices give depth to space and resonance to vaults. Luminous timbres of great homogeneity reflect a subtle, sensitive balance and crystal clear harmony…
Livljanic has an admirably wide singing range and even greater interpretive abilities. Her performance was nuanced and subtle and marvelously clear in tone.