We are thrilled to introduce you to Cocktails & Chit-Chat our new online series of 30-minute talks and concerts!

This online series is a great opportunity for us to present some little-known composers and projects we would love to perform if we had the financial resources for a full performance season: Antonia Bembo's Ercole Amante, Chevalier Saint Georges's L'Amant Anonyme, Francesca Caccini's La Liberazione di Ruggiero are just a few example of many operas we could present to our dear audience besides our annual modern world premiere of a single long-lost opera. We are so excited to share with you these rare pieces and to engage in a conversation about these unfairly neglected composers. 

We will start our online series this summer with some talks that focus on the work we do behind the scenes, interacting with forgotten, centuries-old pieces. In the fall we will add concerts to our chit-chat!Every event will have its own special cocktail that the presenter will enjoy while entertaining you. Please feel free to join with the same cocktail, or enjoy your favorite cocktail! We will welcome your donations, singing for our suppers!

Our Events are Free - Suggested Donation $25

Ars Minerva is grateful for the ongoing support of our lead sponsor, The Sam Mazza Foundation and for the support of the Tri-M Foundation who make these online events a reality.

Cocktails & Chit-Chat

Performance Program: Neapolitan Composers Arias.

Thursday November19th at 6pm on Zoom:


Cocktail: Lo Sbagliato

In 1697, public performances of opera were forbidden by the ecclesiastical authorities, and thus the seat of further development was transferred to Naples through the removal thither from Rome of Alessandro Scarlatti (1659-1725), the founder of the Neapolitan school.

With Dr. Matthew Dirst (harpsichord), Dr. Kurt Markstrom, Shawnette Sulker (Soprano), Sara Couden (Contralto), Artistic Director Céline Ricci (Mezzo-Soprano).

Performance: Excerpts from MESSALINA - (1679)
Composer: Carlo Pallavicino.

December 2020.

Messalina's Cocktail: The Empress Gin.
A sex farce with teeth. Clever, lecherous Messalina turns the tables several times on the gullible Emperor Claudius, who is hardly innocent himself. Meanwhile two other couples suffer their own romantic vicissitudes. Furtive assignations, frustrated trysts, kidnappings, betrayals, sudden recognitions, a heroine and a hero both in drag, and a plot as convoluted as only 17th-century Venetian opera can put together, all lead to a reconciliation that will last only as long as Messalina can keep pulling the wool over Claudius’ eyes. 

Past Chit-Chat

Performance Program: Excerpts from her opera La Liberazione di Ruggiero and some songs.

Tuesday October13th at 7pm PST.

Francesca's Cocktail: The Opera.

Francesca Caccini grew up and worked in Florence as a musician for the Medici family, following in the footsteps of her father, Giulio Caccini. She was the first woman to compose opera and the most well-paid musician in the court at the height of her career in the 1620s. In addition to operas she composed songs,incidental music, and music for the theatre, but few of her works survive.

With Deborah Rosengaus (mezzo-soprano) - Patrick Hagen (tenor) - Spencer Dodd (bass) - Kelly Savage (harpsichord) - Gretchen Claassen (cello) - Adam Cockerham (theorbo/guitar).

Primo Libro delle Musiche: Ch’amor sia nudoS’io m’en vò. 

La Liberazione di Ruggiero: Excerpts.



Thursday September 17th at 6pm on Zoom. 

Joseph's Cocktail: The Palace of Versailles.
Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was a champion fencer, classical composer, virtuoso violinist, and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. Saint-Georges' first compositions were a set of string quartets, among the first in France, published by famed publisher Antoine Bailleux. Saint-Georges wrote twelve additional violin concertos, two symphonies, and eight symphonies-concertantes. He also wrote six opéras comiques and a number of songs in manuscript.

Performance Program: Excerpts from his opera L'Amant Anonyme and Sonata in A Major for harpsichord and violin. 

With Michele Kennedy (soprano) - Kevin Gino (tenor) - Jory Vinikour (harpsichord and piano) Laura Rubinstein Salzedo (violin).

Thursday August 27th from 6pm to 6.30pm on Zoom.
Matthew's Cocktails: Anything Vodka.
Would you like to know all the secrets of costume craft? Join Matthew Nash's Chit-Chat session!
Matthew began his costuming career as an apprentice for the Santa Fe opera company in 1979. After returning to Washington D.C. he spent six years patterning the men’s costumes for the Folger Shakespeare Theater. He moved to California in 1985 and was the senior pattern-maker for the San Francisco Opera for 29 years. He retired from there in November of 2013 to pursue other ventures. Matthew has designed costumes for Ars Minerva since 2017.

Wednesday August 5th from 7.30pm to 8pm on Zoom.

Antonia's Cocktail: The Artist.
Antonia Bembo was a native of Venice but spent most of her composing career in France. She maintained a consistent relationship with King Louis XIV and his family, who respected her first for her beautiful singing voice and later for her compositional skills. Six volumes of Bembo's music survive in manuscript at the Bibliothèque nationale de France as the Produzioni Armoniche. She wrote an opera called L'Ercole amante (1707), to a libretto by Francesco Buti.

Céline Ricci – Founder and Director of Ars Minerva, Kelly Savage – Harpsichordist, Aura Veruni,Soprano -Kindra Scharich – Mezzo-Soprano

Pieces: Ha Que l’absence, Habbi Pietà di Me, Hyllo il Mio Bene è Morto – From her Opera Ercole Amante, which has never been fully performed.


Thursday July 30th from 6pm to 6.30pm on Zoom.
Entropy's Cocktail: The Spritz Veneziano.
Discover how Entropy made Ermelinda's backdrops -- her inspirations and the process she followed.
Inspired by the murals of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco, as well as the Chicano Mural Movement, Entropy started creating murals in public spaces. Her PhD studies took her to San Francisco, where the mural tradition is passed down from generation to generation. She has been painting community murals for more than 10 years for organizations in Germany and the US. Her works can be found in public schools, hospitals, libraries and community centers.

Thursday July 2nd from 6pm to 6.30pm on Zoom.

Céline's Cocktail: The Pink Lady.
Join Ars Minerva's Founder and Artistic Executive Director Céline Ricci on a journey that starts with casually looking at an antique opera manuscript, and then almost magically bring the opera to the stage!
Céline stage directed Ars Minerva's modern world premieres of La Cleopatra, The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles, La Circe, Ifigenia in Aulide and Ermelinda. She will stage Messalina for Ars Minerva in 2021. Her recent staging of Freschi's Ermelinda garnered great critical praise: "Ars Minerva revives an unknown baroque opera with beauty and style", Joshua Kosman - The San Francisco Chronicle. 


On Friday May 22 from 3pm to 3.30pm, Joe McClinton and Céline Ricci will host Ars Minerva 1st online event.


©2020 by Ars Minerva