Franco Fagioli is an Argentinan operatic countertenor who possesses a three-octave range. He began his musical education with piano lessons, though he also pursued vocal studies at the Instituto Superior de Arte at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He was urged by Ricardo Yost, Celina Lis, and Annelise Skovmand to concentrate on training as a countertenor. In 2003, he won the Bertelsmann “Neue Stimmen” Award, and began singing in international opera productions and at festivals, performing with conductors Riccardo Muti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski, and Christophe Rousset, among others. He has appeared in major countertenor roles, in such operas as Handel's Giulio Cesare, Ariodante, and Teseo; Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice; and Monteverdi's Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea. Exploiting his uppermost tessitura, Fagioli has explored the castrato repertoire of Gaetano Majorano, called Caffarelli, the rival of the famous Farinelli, and music sung by the last of the operatic castrati, Giambattista Velluti.
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Classical - Released January 12, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
The Argentine countertenor Franco Fagioli, with his mighty voice, has always been easy to imagine as one of the castrati with whom Handel contended at the height of his operatic career. He brings both power and flair to fast passagework, and that doesn't change here in such arias as Venti, turbine, prestate, from Rinaldo, HWV 7a. What's different this time is the expertise Fagioli brings to the slow numbers. For the most part, Fagioli does not essay unusual repertory here, except in the final Ch'io parta?, from Partenope, HWV 27, which elegantly ends the program on a question and frames the whole thing nicely with the opening aria from Oreste, HWV A11. For the most part, though, Fagioli sticks to familiar territory, and he lays claim to it. Sample the intense but understated performance of Ombra mai fu, from Act One of Serse, HWV 40, which seems to allude to its suppressed emotion rather than laying it on the line. The historical-instrument group Il Pomo d'Oro, here under violinist Zefira Valova, is sensitive to Fagioli's moods, even if Deutsche Grammophon's sound from Lonigo's Villa San Fermo is too chilly. A highly recommended prime-of-career release from Fagioli.
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