2017-09-06, AVROTROS Klassiek on Youtube
L’Arpeggiata conducted by Christina Pluhar with Phillippe Jaroussky – Utrecht Early Music Festival
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2017-09-03, Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook
“C ‘est la rentrée après un mois d absence sur scène! En compagnie de L’Arpeggiata et la soprane Céline Scheen! …” […]
— at TivoliVredenburg.
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2017-03-23, Place de l’Opera, by Rudolf Hunnik
“Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky presenteerde maandagavond in het Concertgebouw zijn nieuwste concertprogramma La Storia di Orfeo. Hij werd bijgestaan door sopraan Amanda Forsythe en begeleid door ensemble I Barocchisti onder leiding van Diego Fasolis. Het werd een theatraal mooi programma, met Orfeo-muziek van Sartorio, Rossi, Monteverdi en Gluck.”
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2016-08-29, nrc.nl, by Mischa Spel/Merlijn Kerkhof
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* This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended, no profit is being made. Translation by MVK*[The beginning of the Article is about the festival in general]
It would have been better to start with the big star at this year’s festival (The Old Music Festival): countertenor Philippe Jaroussky. On Saturday, with his ensemble Artaserse, Jaroussky presented a balanced program with music by Cavalli, Steffani and Rossi – a repertoire that suits him excellently. On stage, we had a relaxed singer with an enviable vocal mastery, who has also improved on his dosage of embellishments.
Jaroussky with his easily recognizable voice, rich in overtones, can be situated at the ethereal side of the countertenor spectrum. An special edge in the lower sounds, like the one that Bejun Mehta produces, is not present. But is that bad? Even without grim darker tones, Jaroussky has the flair (and sometimes gasp) of a chansonnier, and it is credible. On top of that, he has another trump card: his ensemble is an extension of his voice, and knows how to add the right colors.
Artaserse kept the momentum up, improvising from one aria to the next. Even when Jaroussky was not singing, it was festive: the solos from violinist Raul Orellana – folkish but based on thorough knowledge of baroque rhetoric – were compelling. The absolute highlight was the encore “Si dolce è’l tormento” (Monteverdi), initially only with lute and harp. Unforgettable.
2016-08-29, Place d’Opera, original by Martin Toet
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* This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended, no profit is being made. Translation by RvO*
(Jaroussky’s retour in Utrecht is groot feest)
In seventeenth-century Italy, the roles of performer and composer were often united in one person. With unprecedented joyful and outside-the-box [the dutch as well as the German word “vogelvrij”/”vogelfrei” means “outlawed” as well as literally “free as a bird”] musicianship, Philippe Jaroussky and his ensemble Artaserse somewhat made these times come to life on Saturday at the Festival TivoliVredenburg. A memorable concert of a vocal superstar.
“Che città!” What a city! This Saturday, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky sang this almost as surprised as the errant page wandering through Fez in Cavalli’s L’Ormindo. The exasperated sigh could also hint at Venice, the theme of the Festival Old Music in Utrecht. Or at the Cathedral City itself… The overwhelming offer in numerous locations is hard to overlook, even for the true enthusiast. The bulky program book and the numerous helpful staff at the cozy Festival Center provide some help.
Ten years ago, Jaroussky surprised at the Utrecht festival with jazzy interpretations of Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals. This time, with his own ensemble Artaserse, he performed music from the Italian “Seicento,” music from the seventeenth century at the TivoliVredenburg, [a program] centered around the lively opera scene in Venice.
With the opening of the first commercial theatre in Venice in 1637, the young art form became full-fledged, shedding its ideological feathers. They were done with the sublime, Arcadian themes served for the nobles and humanists in Florence or Mantua. In Venice with its lagoons and islands, everything centered on the the mortal man, with all his passions and weaknesses, nowhere embodied better than in L’incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi. His pupil Francesco Cavalli continued the dramatic thread with a long series of successes.
From Poppea, Jaroussky sang “Oblivion soave,” a lullaby sung by the old nurse Arnalta – not in a light and comedic way, as it presumably was rendered in 1642, but with ear-caressing tenderness and unending sustained notes, dissolving in dying string sounds.
The theme of sleep dominated most slow numbers, such as Endimione’s night prayer to Diana in La Calisto, and – awakening from Amor’s grip – the one of the hero in Giasone. These two works by cavalli were right up Jaroussky’s street, but not because of his soporific singing! On the contrary, it is hypnotic how, seemingly effortless, his smooth golden sound ascends to heights that leave other countertenors gasping for breath. In every detail, Jaroussky showed his masterful interpretation of the text. With one word alone, “Fermate,” he aptly expressed Giasone’s overtired passion.
Exemplary phrasing and articulation also graced the big slumber scene from Giustino Legrenzi’s Giustino, a once wildly popular opera of the same name. Jaroussky went into the recitative with a fascinating dialogue with the viola da gamba of Christine Plubeau, a colleague of the first hour at [the ensemble] Artaserse. With twelve persons, the instrumental structure differed probably not so much from the “orchestra pit” in the Venetian theatres (the singers, at the time, used up most financial resources). But what richness of colours rose from this group of strings and the pluckers of harp, theorbo and guitar! Yoko Nakamura laid out a modest basis on the harpsichord and the organ, while two woodwinds with their (un)curved cornetti ensured color. Literally at the centre stood the playful percussionist Michèle Claude. Musical leader Jaroussky, during the instrumental intermezzi from, among others, Marco Uccellini, could watch the joy of playing with confidence.
Violinist Raul Orellana deserves a special mention for his rendition of the Sonata La cesta, by Pandolfi Mealli, composed in the “stylus phantasticus.” Fantastic indeed, these virtuosic but delicate antics, gradually supplemented by Plubeau in a typical Baroque lamento style on the gamba. The Sonata is a musical portrait of the composer Antonio Cesti, of whom Jaroussky performed a yearning plaint of love.
A diverse program indeed, but deliberately constructed with such a tight fit that applause had almost no chance. Of course, in between all the lamentations, there was also space for energetic fast paced numbers. After the break, Jaroussky’s coloraturas were even smoother than before. Long live the surtitles, so that in Cavalli’s warlike “All’armi mio core,” it became clear how the strings and horns respectively symbolize whistling arrows and clattering weapons.
A pity that the translation was missing for the so expressively interpreted recitative of “Dal mio petto” from Agostino Steffani’s Niobe. Together with the intense lament from Luigi Rossi’s L’Orfeo, written shortly after the death of Rossi’s wife, this belonged to my personal highlights. Above all, that beautiful bridge passage to the da capo! In a powerful show of musicality, Jaroussky filled the relatively simple melodic lines with bold ornaments. Here blurred the border between composer and performer; each repeated phrase sounded like new and seemed to be improvised on the spot.
The enthusiasm of the audience knew no bounds, and was rewarded with three encores. Monteverdi’s immortal “Si dolce è’l tormento” I rarely ever heard worked out so subtly, in flawless interaction of singer, cornet player and violinist. As an official finale, Steffani’s ‘ Gelosia, lasciami in pace ‘ was already a swinging jam session, but in the reprise it was all brakes-off. Percussionist Claude stole the show and the exchange between her and a quasi-offended Jaroussky let everyone return home with a broad smile.
2016-05-29, Klassieke Zaken, by Hein van Eekert
This is a fan translation – no infringement of copyright is intended. If you are the copyright holder and have any objections to this being online, drop us a line and we will remove it immediately.
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When you think of the sometimes un-earthly voice of Philippe Jaroussky, you somehow expect him to come floating to the interview. Nothing like that: It’s a happy, friendly man, courteous, with a sociable presénce, and an enthusiasm that could be called child-like – if it wasn’t rooted in an impressive mountain of knowledge about his own work and that of others. Moreover, even if he knows a lot about the past, he is certainly not “retro.” He can’t be, he says, because “The countertenor is a voice of the future.”
We want to know more. The countertenor voice? The one that is often used to sing the Ancient music of the castrati? “The sound evokes the past, but it’s a modern voice type. It really came back en vogue since the sixties. During the past eight years, I got lots of offers to sing modern music. I often have to decline, because studying requires a lot of time for preparation, and I don’t always have that.” Jaroussky participated in Only the sound remains by Kaija Saariaho, because he know she wanted him and not just the ethereal, androgynous sound of any countertenor: “When I was asked, it was also agreed that this production would be taken on tour to different cities, including Amsterdam. She wrote two scenes for me because I wanted to audition. I wanted her to get to know my voice.” In the end, Jaroussky was cast in two roles in the opera, instead of only one he was originally planned for.
Next to the modern repertoire, there are earlier works. We talk about forgotten composers: there might be a reason why they are forgotten. Bach and Händel are great geniuses, but how about lesser-known names? “Geniuses are not always the greatest innovators,” Jaroussky says. “Agostino Steffani didn’t have Händel’s genius, but he has caused big changes. Alessandro Scarlatti is also very notable. They don’t always have the big hits, but they are bolder and more prone to trying out new things than Händel.”
“Geniuses are not always the greatest innovators”
Jaroussky does a concert tour which also takes him to the Netherlands, with a sample of the works by composers we don’t hear performed often enough. The arias he came up with himself: “I research in libraries, for manuscripts of arias that I want to include in the programs and if you’re looking for something, you often end up finding something even better. You read the sheet music of an aria, you turn the page, and there is suddenly a much more interesting piece.” This involves contemporaries of Bach and Händel as well as composers of an earlier time. “There are composers like Jomelli and Traetta that are yet to be discovered. I also like the era of early Baroque a lot; for example, many operas by Cavalli are being staged. His Ercole amante in Amsterdam was set in scene both modern and Baroque.” That’s meant as a compliment, because Jaroussky is fascinated by the combination of contemporary and historic. This is partly because our modern era allowed the sound of the old music to return in its full glory. “Cavalli has many recitativos: It is really dramatic. And think of Niobe by Steffani: A beautiful opera with da capo arias, dances, and comic relief characters. We now don’t only have the voices, but the orchestras as well, and that’s very important. Producing an opera like Vinci’s Artaserse wouldn’t have been possible without the virtuosity and the lightness of the modern Baroque orchestras. With the recording, we set out to prove that not all countertenors have the same colour of voice. I also discovered that there often is a sad, decadent note to the music written for castrati.” Händel, for example, wrote for the castrato Carestini: the title role in Ariodante as well as the role of Ruggiero in Alcina. “Ruggiero is an anti-hero, who is under Alcina’s thumb. It fits my character more than Ariodante, who I would have liked to sing, but it just doesn’t suit me.” There will be a DVD release, directed by Katie Mitchell: “What is great is that the staging is based on the libretto as well as Orlando Furioso by Ariosto. So Alcina and Morgana are old women, pretending to be young. It is modern and Baroque at the same time.” There it is again: modern and Baroque. The combination characterizes Jaroussky as well: the sound of the past, the voice of the future.
HEIN VAN EEKERT
NATURAL HIGH – PHILIPPE JAROUSSKY
The term countertenor has become common knowledge. Yet there are people who yet have to get used to the sometimes apparently unnatural high male voice. For these people, there is but one advice: Listen to Philippe Jaroussky. His voice, tone, and diction are so immediate and natural [vanzelfsprekend en natuurlijk] that they only invite to be surprised and delighted to hear so much beauty. On this compilation CD with some highlights from his oeuvre, every track is a hit. Of course, the French countertenor excels in the Baroque repertoire from Monteverdi to Vivaldi, but he equally feels at home in the early classical works by Johann Christian Bach or a nineteenth-century song by Reynaldo Hahn. And of course, he is surrounded by the best musicians and ensembles such as the Ensemble Matheus and L’Arpeggiata. An introduction for less than ten euros that will prove worth at least double the price. Jaroussky lovers should just buy a few as a gift when they visit friends to bring instead of flowers. Success is guaranteed.
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2016-03-29, Cultural Resuena, by Albert Fernández Chafer
Los protagonistas vocales (Davone Tines, barítono, en el papel de Gyokei y del pescador, y Philippe Jaroussky, contratenor, en el de Tsunemasa y voz de la Tennin, interpretada por Nora Kimball-Mentzos) hacen una interpretación correcta, pero sin ningún lucimiento (acaso Jaroussky en alguno de los lamentos de Tsunamis), aunque tampoco es el propósito de la obra.
La conclusión general es que, desde un punto de vista holístico, la obra es original, sin que ninguno de sus elementos por separado lo sea, quizá con la excepción de la música de Saariaho, quien ha sabido interpretar la canción nhô con un grupo instrumental diferente del clásico y creando una policromía tonal que, especialmente en Hagaromo, se acerca a lo que podría verse como melodía, sin acabar de desarrollarla del todo, y que queda por lo tanto más cerca del sonido, y aquí es donde veo el segundo significado del título y de la obra en general: ‘the Sound’.
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2016-03-23, Financial Times, by Shirley Apthorp
Baritone Davone Tines and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky are perfect as the earth/spirit counterparts of the two pieces (ghost and priest for the first opera, fisherman and angel for the second), Tines with his earthy, virile warmth, Jaroussky with his ethereal purity, the music tailored for these two exceptional voices.[…]
Since this production goes on to Helsinki, Paris, Madrid and Toronto, its success was a foregone conclusion and transcends the petty judgment of irritable individuals. It is meticulously crafted and superbly performed; Saariaho is in fine form. Perhaps that is enough.
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