2019-04-16 featured press

Fono Forum – Philippe Jaroussky | Cavalli: Arien, Duette & Instrumentalstücke aus Opern

2019-04-16, Fono Forum, by Johannes Schmitz

Es ist vor allem diese Vielfalt der Ausdrucksmomente und emotionalen Abstufungen, die aufhorchen lässt. Der Einfalls- und Farbenreichtum des Ensembles auf Blas-, Saiten- und Rhythmusinstrumenten unterstützt die herausragende Begabung Jarousskys, emotional zu berühren.  […]

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2019-04-14 featured press

WAZ – Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky begeistert in Essen

2019-04-14, WAZ, by Dirk Aschendorf

Dirk Aschendorf 14.04.2019 – 14:56 Uhr

ESSEN. Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky begeisterte mit Arien des Frühbarock in Essens Philharmonie – und nahm sich Zeit für eine lange Autogrammstunde.

Wenn ein Star wie Philippe Jaroussky anreist, füllen sich auch große Säle wie die Essener Philharmonie anscheinend mühelos. Dabei hatten der französische Countertenor und das Ensemble Artaserse mit Musik von Francesco Cavalli nichts im Gepäck, was heute unbedingt zu den Dauerbrennern selbst unter Barock-Fans zählt. […]

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2019-04-13 featured press

Online Musik Magazin – Im Olymp der Barockmusik

2019-04-13, Online Musik Magazin, by Thomas Molke

Natürlich lässt das Publikum Jaroussky mit dem offiziellen Abschluss noch nicht gehen und kommt noch in den Genuss von drei Zugaben. Als erstes präsentiert Jaroussky ein berühmtes Madrigal von Claudio Monteverdi: “Si dolce è’l tormento”. Dabei rührt Jaroussky mit seiner eindringlichen Interpretation regelrecht zu Tränen. Bei den weiteren beiden Zugaben greift Jaroussky auf eine Oper Cavallis zurück, von der bereits im offiziellen Programm eine Arie zu hören war: La virtù de’ strali d’Amore. Mit der ersten Arie beschreibt er sein eigenes Lebensgefühl dieses Abends: “Alcun più di me felice non è” (“Niemand ist glücklicher als ich”). Wer mag das bei diesem Jubel auch anzweifeln? Danach verabschiedet er sich mit einer Beschwerde des Liebesgottes, der zwar selbst andere gerne mit dem Liebespfeil verletzt, aber nicht begeistert davon ist, sich selbst zu verlieben: “Che pensi, mio core?” Wie der Liebesgott nach diesem Auftritt wieder in die Lüfte entschwebt, verabschiedet sich Jaroussky mit dem Ensemble Artaserse unter stehenden Ovationen von dem restlos begeisterten Publikum. […]

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2019-04-05_02 featured press

Hannoversche Allgemeine – Philippe Jaroussky bei Pro Musica im Sendesaal

2019-04-05, Hannoversche Allgemeine, by Rainer Wagner

Es beginnt mit einem Trommelprolog und es endet mit einem hannoversch gesitteten Sturm der Begeisterung. Dazwischen entfaltet der französische Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky mit seinem Ensemble Artaserse einen Fächer der Empfindungen. Allesamt klanggemalt von Francesco Cavalli, dem fleißigen Schüler Claudio Monteverdis.

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2019-04-05 featured press

Die Welt – An Angel on Earth – Translation to English

“[…] Jaroussky weaves notes as fragile as the finest threads of spun glass. That still they shine vibrantly is purely due to Jaroussky’s delicate vitality, his moderately tasteful use of means of expression that he seems to have at his unlimited disposal.

Translation to English
This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended. We believe it fulfills the criteria for “fair use,” discussion and study. Translation by *L

2019-04-05, Die Welt, by Sören Ingwersen

An Angel on Earth

By Sören Ingwersen

At the Elbphilharmonie, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky enchants with Baroque treasures by Francesco Cavalli

Just over two years ago, the Elbphilharmonie was inaugurated, and people believed that an angel was spreading his wings, protecting the new concert hall. At any rate, Philippe Jaroussky was celebrated as this heavenly messenger, who, high up above in the tiers and accompanied by the finely spun sounds by the harpist Margret Köll, seemed to immerse the hall in divine light. The performance remained engraved into many people’s minds and made the Frenchman who turned 41 this year become something like an unofficial figurehead of the new music temple.

Later that same year, Jaroussky returned with the French Ensemble Artaserse to set Händel’s arias in the gold of his voice. Once more, he now returns to the stage of the the great hall of the Elbphilharmonie with the 12 Baroque specialists – this time, to honor a master who was celebrated as a great opera composer during his lifetime, but who nowadays is hardly known: the Venetian Francesco Cavalli, pupil of the great Claudio Monteverdi, who invented the genre of opera in the early 17th century.

Jaroussky and the Ensemble Artaserse open a musical treasure chest brimming with beguiling riches that night. The first sparkle that catches our eye right at the start is the aria “Ombra mai fu” from the opera “Il Xerse”, carried by great tranquility. Just as dedicated, as Jaroussky sinks into the worship of a tranquil nature, afterwards, in “Corone, ed Honori” from “Il Ciro,” he puts inner freedom of man in the balance of true values, contrasting it with courtly flashiness, while Raul Orellana and Jose Manuel Navarro energetically highlight the fiery confession with their violins, percussionist Michèle Claude lets the castanets pop, and Yoko Nakamura sets inciting accents at the cembalo.

Immediately afterwards, Jaroussky presents the same character with the heart-gripping lament “Negatemi i respiri.” “Take away the air I breathe,” demands the desperate king, while Jaroussky’s voice, effortlessly spiraling upwards, never even has a hint of forcefulness, subordinating every tinge of rigor to a smoothly flowing line. A pleading chant that is reaching the very last rows, while never becoming obtrusive. Also in “Amor, ti giuro Amor” from “Erismena”, introduced by a highly dramatic recitative, one cannot help but marveling at the ease with which the singer tackles the ornaments and the well-controlled use of the vibrato which often only unfolds at the end of a sustained note, triggering oscillations that leave the antennas of the soul resonating in a sympathetic shiver at every second.

In “Lucidissima face,” Jaroussky embarks on a completely different adventure. There, his flawlessly intonated soprano glides without resistance like on a shiny smooth surface. Before the inner eye, it reflects the moon that the words proceed to worship. In contrast, the funny, exuberant “Che città,” depicting the hustle and bustle of city life, with its bass lines of the viol at the start, and the rhythm of the drums, gives the impression of an early Baroque pop song. While Jaroussky is circling the musicians, establishing 360-degree contact with the audience, illustrating almost every syllable with a meaningful gesture, once more, the Ensemble Artaserse proves to be a first class accompaniment. Also in the interspersed instrumental pieces, the nine Sinfonias, it manages to connect sensitively balanced precision with brilliantly refined variety of sound, and a high level of articulation. Especially Adrien Mabire and Benôit Tainturier impress with their clearly intonated play on the cornet, a kind of wooden recorder-trumpet from the Renaissance period.

Shortly before the break however, during the pain-stricken love aria “Uscitemi dal cor, lagrime amare,” almost all the instruments need to fall silent, while Jaroussky weaves notes as fragile as the finest threads of spun glass. That still they shine vibrantly is purely due to Jaroussky’s delicate vitality, his moderately tasteful use of means of expression that he seems to have at his unlimited disposal. In moments like this, the listener gets the impression that the hall was contracting, while at its centre of sound, the essence of human suffering crystallizes.

Filled with inner drama, the aria “Misero, così va?” shines in incandescence, while the cornets highlight the sound of the ensemble like with flares, while in “All’armi mio core,” the music begins to gain dance-like momentum once more. The audience’s applause is rewarded with three encores, including an assertion of happiness by Cavalli, introduced by Jaroussky as “one of the shortest arias in the history of music”: a one-minute jubilation set to music. The musical bliss that night fortunately lasted longer: a generous 90 minutes.

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2019-04-04 featured press

Hamburger Abendblatt – Jarousskys spartanischer Auftritt in der Elbphilharmonie

2019-04-04 , Hamburger Abendblatt, bei Joachim Mischke

Jaroussky erwies sich auch an diesem Abend als kluger, einfühlsamer Anwalt verschütteter Meisterwerke, die man mit Samthandschuhen anfassen muss, weil sie trotz ihrer Stärke so zerbrechlich sind wie Murano-Gläser beim Jonglieren. […]

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2019-04-04_05 featured press

Cellesche Zeitung – Kompositionen von Francesco Cavalli erklingen

2019-04-04, Cellesche Zeitung, by Jörg Worat

“Schon seit Monaten war der Große Sendesaal des NDR ausverkauft: Unter den Countertenören ist Philippe Jaroussky zurzeit wohl der König. Nicht zu Unrecht, wie er mit tatkräftiger Unterstützung des Ensembles Artaserse an diesem Abend bewies.” […]

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2019-03-28 featured press

tip Berlin – Philippe Jaroussky – An Interview with the Most Famous Countertenor in the World – Translation to English

2019-03-28, Tip Berlin, by Kai Luehrs-Kaiser

Man muss sich auch nicht normaler machen, als man ist.

Translation to English
This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended. We believe it fulfills the criteria for “fair use,” discussion and study. Translation by *L

Philippe Jaroussky – An interview with the most famous countertenor in the world

Philippe Jaroussky, the most famous countertenor in the world, about male high voices and his new program with arias by Cavalli

tip: Mr. Jaroussky, your new project is devoted to the most important student of Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, who also composed the opera “La Calisto.” Why did you choose him?

Philippe Jaroussky: He deserves it. I would rather compare him to Händel or Vivaldi than to his teacher Monteverdi. He was the first one whose tunes were short and simple enough to be catchy like pop songs. A genius! In his 27 surviving operas, his work exceeds everything that has been preserved by Monteverdi. I have known him since I started. But only now, when many of his operas are being rediscovered and set in scene, I plucked up the courage for this project.

tip: The CD is called “Ombra mai fu”. It brings to mind Händel, or doesn’t it?

Philippe Jaroussky: Perhaps I chose the name for the program to provoke. As musicology tells us, Händel’s famous “Ombra mai fu” wasn’t composed by Händel in the first place, but by Bononcini. Both made use of a libretto that Cavalli already had set to music. In plain terms: this program is my most original one so far.

tip: Your career started 20 years ago. Today you are, we may say, the most famous countertenor in the world. What has changed?

Philippe Jaroussky: I turned 41 in February. Everything that happens now is a bonus. If I quit singing tomorrow, I would be just as happy. But only now, with this album, I stopped to pretend to be younger on the cover art than I really am. Enough with the make-up; enough with Photoshop!

tip: When you started, occasionally, there was a bright laugh in the audience because your voice type was considered a joke. Are these times over?

Philippe Jaroussky: Until four of five years ago, this could very well happen. In TV shows, I still get prompted the question whether I am a castrato. And you know what? I don’t really mind. We still irritate people. So what? There is no point in trying to be more normal than you actually are.

tip: Similar to Cecilia Bartoli, who avoids very large houses, your voice is not the largest. A disadvantage?

Philippe Jaroussky: My voice has grown and is big enough to be heard at La Scala in Milan soon – by the way, together with Cecilia Bartoli. It’s never about the size of a voice but about the projection. When bad actors shout, no one can hear them. When good actors whisper, you understand every word.tip: Do you perceive your voice as male – or not?Philippe Jaroussky: Voices of countertenors are high male voices. I hate it when they say we sound female. I never try to imitate a woman. And because I sing male roles, it would not make any sense.

tip: Do you have a personal theory why so many countertenors are gay?

Philippe Jaroussky: I am. But that doesn’t mean that all, or even the majority of countertenors are. I only realized one thing: on stage, love scenes with a woman are a lot easier to do when your stage partner knows you’re gay. The only challenge is not getting a laughing fit. Otherwise it’s pure fun.

Konzerthaus Berlin Gendarmenmarkt, Mitte, Sa 30.3., 20 Uhr, 30–84 €

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2019-03-01_03 featured press

Concerti – “Old singer, young conductor” – Translation to English

2019-03, Concerti, by Christoph Schmidt

“Yet another life goal of mine for many years has been to become a conductor. In three or four years, I am going to conduct my very first Baroque opera – something I am really happy about. That means, I am going to be a singer and a conductor at the same time. At first, both activities will mix, and by and by, I want to sing less and less in favor of expanding my time at the baton. I want to take more responsibility for my musical message.”

Translation to English
This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended. We believe it fulfills the criteria for “fair use,” discussion and study. Translation by *L

Interview Philippe Jaroussky

“Old singer, young conductor”

Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky has just released a project very close to his heart, is at the zenith of his career – and already has the next goal in mind.

By Christoph Schmidt, March 21, 2019

It doesn’t occur very often, that an asteroid is named after an opera singer. After numerous international awards, Frenchman Philippe Jaroussky also accomplished this one.

At the height of his career, the 41-year-old is also thinking about radically changing his musical career. All while the 41-year-old, on the peak of his career, is thinking about radically changing the course of his career.

At the beginning of the new year, you wanted to take a sabbatical. What do you do, if you do not sing?

Philippe Jaroussky: I stopped singing just before Christmas, with my next concerts being in March. However, I still had plenty to do and prepare: I needed to think about future projects and make decisions; I had to look after my academy, and last but not least, I had to put some thought into the upcoming programs in the near future. It’s nice to do these things in such a relaxed way because it allows you to focus. While on tour, I don’t find any peace for that kind of thing. Sometimes it’s just good not to sing, even though that’s my passion, because a break allows you to take a look at yourself from the outside and imagine what it would be like not to sing.

How often do you take such a break?

Jaroussky: It’s only my second time. It helps me to relax the voice and refresh the technique. Afterwards, I enjoy making music again all the more and, hopefully, I can pass on this joy even better to the audience. As soon as I start practising again during my morning shower, I realize: I’m ready to start again!

Do you also practice your baritone or exclusively the head voice?

Jaroussky: When I started, my singing teacher trained both registers because the baritone is closer to my speaking voice. It can be very useful to understand the mechanisms of the voice in this natural range in order to apply what you discovered to the countertenor voice. Since I’m not a tenor, the lower range of the countertenor voice are not exactly my specialty; it’s something I am working on continuously. Because on stage, for an opera, you also need the chest voice – and there, you only have one shot at an aria. When you’re recording a CD, it’s altogether different, and I end up doing nothing but singing for seven or eight hours a day; in a sense, it’s an entirely different job.

Almost every year, you release a new album. However, the death of the medium of the Studio CD has been foretold. How do you manage to help keeping it alive?

Jaroussky: My record label and I sometimes say we really should slow down. My last solo album was released in November 2017; in between, I have also been present on other recording. Fortunately, there is still a multitude of projects. Needless to say, as a singer, you want to record the most in the phase of your life when you feel in top shape. After all, I don’t know how long I am still able to record CDs.

Your new album, “Ombra mai fu,” quotes an aria from Francesco Cavalli’s opera Xerxes, which became famous by Handel. Who do you think is the better composer?

Jaroussky: Of course Handel’s “Serse” is the best version. Also, for the majority of audiences, Monteverdi is certainly more famous than Cavalli is. However, I chose the title to provoke a little – because, after all, the first version of this aria is the one by Cavalli! That makes you curious. It’s interesting that, for example, the first violins are not playing colla parte with the soloist, but higher. That’s ingenious and has its own charm.

Which other qualities do you perceive in Cavalli?

Jaroussky: I discovered him right at the beginning of my career, when I was in my early twenties. Even then, I was beguiled by the charm of this music;  he has a distinctive personal style. It’s no wonder that currently, almost all of his operas are being performed. On the CD, I wanted to create a digest of the best arias and duets from all his operas, also to show the variety of his composing – from lamenti to extremely comical scenes. Even during his lifetime, his music was very popular. It is much simpler than Händel’s, and more fragile. Cavalli was writing very fast, and sometimes, he only notated the voice, and the bass line. Who, when, with whom, and with which instruments is actually playing together often remains for the musician to decide. Solely the instrumentation turns it into kind of a new creation. When it comes to Händel, most is fixed. That’s why I love early Baroque music so much – because it educates you in imagining the right sound, and prompts you to interpret the libretto.

You are considered a specialist in the field of Early Music. Are you also interested in contemporary repertoire?

Jaroussky: Of course; I have often had the opportunity to sing new pieces, because the countertenor has actually evolved into a modern voice type once more. My next CD project is going to include contemporary music, only with piano accompaniment, but it’s too early to talk about it.

You are now 41, have won numerous classical prizes and are performing all over the world. What ambitions, goals and challenges could someone like you still have?

Jaroussky: When you’re young, you have a lot of dreams. At the time, I never dared to hope I would sing at La Scala one day. You’re right; I’ve achieved much more than I thought. But more important is that you can choose what and with whom you sing. The audience is very grateful, and I would like to experience these moments more intensely, just because I do not know how much longer I can enjoy them.

Sounds a little hedonistic.

Jaroussky: That may be true, but if you want to sing, actually enjoying it is paramount. Yet another life goal of mine for many years has been to become a conductor. In three or four years, I am going to conduct my very first Baroque opera – something I am really happy about. That means, I am going to be a singer and a conductor at the same time. At first, both activities will mix, and by and by, I want to sing less and less in favor of expanding my time at the baton. I want to take more responsibility for my musical message.

Does that also give rise to your motivation for your music academy that you founded for children and young adults?

Jaroussky: I come from a family that was completely unmusical. My teachers told my parents to make music – so I started the violin. That changed my life. Twenty years later, I now have the chance to influence the lives of other children, positively, if I can. I was often asked if I thought that more should be done for musical education. I always agreed, but never actually did anything towards that ideal. I try to make up for this lack now at least with fifty students per year. And they don’t have to pay a cent for it.

Is that your kind of work-life balance?

Philippe Jaroussky: You can learn something from this for yourself! When you teach, you are forced to organize your thoughts, to express opinions, to sing something to the students. Some impulses also come from the pupils and students themselves. This shapes and enriches their own music-making immensely. And last but not least, it is a tremendous pleasure to be a teacher!

See Philippe Jaroussky’s “Ombra mai fu” from his eponymous album:

Album Tip

Ombra mai fu – Arien von Cavalli

Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Emoke Barath (Sopran), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alt), Ensemble Artaserse

Erato

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2019-03-01_2 featured press

Crescendo – Musical Mask Player – Translation To English

2019-02, Concerti, by Dorothea Walchshäusl

“Listening to Cavalli, it’s astounding how candid and courageous the material is. Despite all the tragedy, the pieces are full of humour and, by the way, they are are very sexually explicit – one part in the love duet, unequivocally, is about sex (laughs). Which means: the music is almost 400 years old; however, sometimes there’s more freedom there to be found than in our present time. That’s incredibly exciting. “

Translation to English
This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended. We believe it fulfills the criteria for “fair use,” discussion and study. Translation by *L

Musical Mask Player

Philippe Jaroussky

By Dorothea Walchshäusl – February 21, 2019

Philippe Jaroussky’s play with parody and irony in Venetian opera

With his warm countertenor voice, Philippe Jaroussky has sung his way to the top. On his new album, the 41-year-old artist now devotes himself to the Italian composer of early Baroque Francesco Cavalli, and fascinates with an exciting musical masquerade. A conversation about the creative sound-creator, new forms of masculinity and carnival in Venice.

CRESCENDO: You once called the countertenor Fach a new form of masculinity. What do you mean by that?

Philippe Jaroussky: I do believe that the countertenor is a symbol for a new form – or rather, a new old form (laughs). The division of the voices into female and male Fachs arises from the romantic categorization. The castrato voice always stood out as a special kind of voice. However, the castrati quite absolutely interpreted very strong characters. They had high voices, but that didn’t mean they didn’t take on male parts as well. It is certainly no coincidence that after the end of the Second World War, the countertenors suddenly played a role again. The war had been so terrible that people no longer wanted the rigid role models – the man who goes to war, and the woman stays at home with the children. The rediscovery of the countertenor and of high voices in music was a way to say: Women can be strong and men can show their sensitive side. A man can cry and a woman can fight.

You have discovered your voice relatively late as your instrument. How did that feel?

When I started to sing, I suddenly felt a great freedom. I had to fight much less than with the violin, but at the beginning I also felt veritably naked. After all, you cannot hide behind your instrument. But I worked hard, and found great fulfillment in singing. I never wanted to be a, or sing like a woman. The countertenor range is just the voice I feel at home with.

“When I started to sing, I felt veritably naked.”

As an opera singer, you dive into new characters again and again. How are you feeling about that?

We opera singers are sometimes almost too busy merging with a certain role. For me, the most important thing is to achieve a connection to the music. The music should influence how I sing, and not the other way around. When I’m learning a new role, I start with the score and let the feelings the music triggers in me pass into my voice. It’s a very intuitive process and sometimes exciting new things come of it: a really fast-paced aria gains a certain sweetness, or a slow aria gains something very dominant.

On your new album, you will be able to devote yourself to various arias and duets by Francesco Cavalli. Additionally, there are richly orchestrated orchestral works. How did you come across this composer?

My first contact with Baroque music in the opera was Monteverdi. Shortly afterwards, I discovered Cavalli’s music, and from the beginning, was fascinated by the variety of timbres, contrasts and moods. The collaboration with Gabriel Garrido and René Jacobs was pivotal for me as well. I learned so much from them and discovered how rich Cavalli’s music is. With only a few notes, he creates wonderful melodies full of charm. The operas of Cavalli have great dramatic potential, and with good reason, they are being playing extensively at many opera houses for several years now.

“Cavalli operas have great dramatic potential”

The operas of Cavalli were mainly on scheduled for Carnival time in Venice. Have you ever experienced the Venetian Carnival yourself?

I’ve been to Venice many times, but never during carnival. And I’m not sure that nowadays’ version truly represents what it used to be like. However, on myalbum, I wanted to highlight the contrast of the time. On the one hand, carnival was a moment of abundance and luxury, but at the same time there were also a grim side to it. After all, there were plenty of illnesses at the time, as well as severe epidemics like the plague. All the more, people wanted to enjoy life right now, because they did not know whether they would live to enjoy another year. Cavalli’s music reflects exactly that. Both sides – the light and the dark mask, the wealth, the poverty and death – are present in his operas. I wanted that yin and yang represented on the album. Carnival was the time of the year when people behind their masks were all on one level. That’s the reason for its great social significance. The rich could go incognito; the poor were a little less poor and everyone celebrated together.

“One possible lesson from Cavalli is: We should all be much freer and braver, and complain and lament less.”

Cavalli was a pupil of Monteverdi. How independent is his music?

First of all, it is clear that Monteverdi has created a style. Cavalli does not change it, but he remains faithful to the school of Monteverdi. However, during Cavalli’s time, there had been a substantial change: The first public theaters were opened! Until then, opera had been an entertainment exclusively for the rich. rich people. Cavalli now made opera accessible to everyone, and that’s probably why humor and comedy play such a big part in his music. Cavalli didn’t only want to portray kings and princes – he wanted to show people’s everyday lives and truly represent society including the common people.

His operas feature a multitude of different characters, and you can veritably feel the Venetian society. In this respect, only Cavalli finally made the style of Monteverdi really popular, and his catchy melodies resemble today’s pop music. Listening to Cavalli, it’s astounding how candid and courageous the material is. Despite all the tragedy, the pieces are full of humour and, by the way, they are are very sexually explicit – one part in the love duet, unequivocally, is about sex (laughs). Which means: the music is almost 400 years old; however, sometimes there’s more freedom there to be found than in our present time. That’s incredibly exciting.

Sometimes I feel like we’re getting less and less free. One possible lesson from Cavalli is: We should all be much freer and braver, and complain and lament less.

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