That's what's on offer from the Metropolis Ensemble, a young New York chamber orchestra which opens its second season this evening at the Angel Orensanz Center, a deconsecrated synagogue-turned-performance space on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The 17th-century classic is Claudio Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, a drama about a Crusader knight who encounters his beloved (a Saracen princess) in disguise as a soldier and kills her in battle. Singers Melissa Fogarty, Hai-Ting Chinn and Thomas Glenn will perform a staged version of the Combattimento, with the Metropolis Ensemble playing Moneteverdi's accompaniment with a modern instrumentation of accordion, guitar, synthesizer and string ensemble.
The new works on the program are David Schiff's song cycle All About Love, receiving its first New York performance, and the world premiere of Ryan Gallagher's Conspiracy of Curtains, a "chamber madrigal" scored for flute, clarinet, SATB chorus, piano, marimba and strings.
Composer Schiff describes All About Love as "a panoramic meditation on love as expressed in different times and languages and from different points of view: male and female, gay and straight, from youthful ardor to mature resignation ... [with] texts by Petrarch, Lab_, Melville, Tsvetaeva, Keats, Proust and Bishop."
The Metropolis Ensemble performs the program tonight at 8 pm at the Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts, 172 Norfolk Street in Manhattan. For more information about this and future performances, visit www.metropolisensemble.org.