Philippe Jaroussky/William Christie/Max Emanuel Cencic/Les Arts Florissants
Philippe Jaroussky is arguably the most prominent French countertenor to have emerged from the turn of the twenty first century era. He has mainly focused on early music, showing a preference particularly for the works of Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel, and many lesser-known seventeenth and eighteenth century composers. He has appeared and recorded extensively with his own instrumental ensemble, Artaserse, as well as with the leading conductors associated with early and Baroque music, including Jean-Claude Malgoire, Rene Jacobs, and Jean Tubéry. Jaroussky was born in Maisons Lafitte (northwest of Paris), France, on January 13, 1978. He first studied violin, and later piano. He enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he graduated with a diploma in violin performance from the Ancient Music department there. In 1996 he began vocal studies with soprano Nicole Fallien and three years later debuted at the music festivals in Royaumont and Ambronay, where he sang in the Alessandro Scarlatti oratorio Sedecia, rè di Gerusalemme. A critically acclaimed recording derived from these performances was released shortly afterward on Virgin Classics. The following year, Jaroussky appeared in the Monteverdi operatic trilogy Orfeo, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse, and Incoronazione di Poppea under conductor Jean-Claude Malgoire. In 2001 Jaroussky's schedule swelled with major appearances all over France and abroad: he sang Arbace in Vivaldi's opera Catone in Utica and also appeared in performances of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. A widely praised two-CD album of the Catone production was issued in 2002 on the Dynamic Italy label. Jaroussky's meteoric rise continued with his critically praised portrayal of Nero in Handel's Agrippina at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris in 2003. This production was also captured on record by Dynamic Italy, the release coming the following year, and again drawing generally positive notices. In the early years of the new century, Jaroussky created his own instrumental ensemble, Artaserse, which consists of five players performing on early instruments. He has made several recordings with the group, including the 2005 CD entitled Vivaldi -- Virtuoso Cantatas, on the Virgin Classics label, and the 2006 issue of Bassani's Beata Virgine, also on Virgin Classics. Jaroussky's busy performance schedule in 2006 included appearances throughout Europe and England, including highly successful concerts at Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral and at London's South Bank Early Music Weekend, both with his ensemble Artaserse. Jaroussky has also continued making numerous operatic and solo/orchestral concert appearances at major venues throughout Europe. He frequently collaborates in performances and recordings with Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata and with Jean-Christophe Spinosi and Ensemble Matheus. Jaroussky appeared in the title role in the DVD of Stefano Landi's Il Sant'Alessio, and has recorded Handel's Faramondo and numerous operas by Vivaldi, including Griselda, Orlando Furioso, La fida ninfa, and Ercole.
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Classical - Released November 4, 2011 | Warner Classics
Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica
This album of Baroque cantatas and chamber duets grew out of a 2007 performance of Stefano Landi's 1631 opera Il Sant'Alessio starring Philippe Jaroussky and Max Emanuel Cencic (among the eight countertenors in the cast) with William Christie conducting Les Arts Florissants. (An excellent DVD of the performance is available on Virgin Classics.) Christie was so impressed with the blend of Jaroussky and Cencic's voices that he brought them together to explore the vast and rarely performed repertoire of late 17th and early 18th century Italian duets for equal voices. The duetti da camera and chamber cantatas were a wildly, widely popular entertainment, especially during the tenures of Popes who forbade performances of opera; among the six composers represented on this disc, Bononcini wrote over 300 and Marcello 82, so the total number written and performed during this period must be staggering. Christie is absolutely correct: the blend of these two particular voices is ravishing. They have different characters and are easily distinguished from one another, but Jaroussky and Cencic both stand out among the very finest exemplars of the extraordinarily fine crop of counter tenors that has come to prominence since the turn of the century. Cencic's voice may be the purer and Jaroussky's the more colorful, but both have irreproachable technique; intelligent, nuanced musicianship; and together there is undeniable vocal chemistry. The music itself is delightful; the composers for the most part are not among the most renowned of the era, but they are masters of writing music that makes voices sound gorgeous together. This is largely pastoral music and the vocal lines are intertwined with beguiling sensuality. Each singer also performs a solo cantata. Christie, playing harpsichord or organ, leads a group of five players, made up of two violins, cello and theorbo/lute in lively, sensitive accompaniment. The sound is beautifully clean, warm, and balanced. Strongly recommended; a terrific find for fans of Baroque vocal performance of the highest order. It's easy to imagine that these performances could even make converts of listeners who have never been especially fond of countertenors. © TiVo