2019-03-01 featured press

Das Opernglas – Great Fun – Translation to English

2019-03, Das Opernglas, by Yeri Han

“When I will have done my first tentative steps towards conducting, maybe then, when it’s time, it won’t be quite as sad for me, to little by little, sing fewer performances – who knows!”

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

2019-03, Das Opernglas, by Yeri Han

Philippe Jaroussky

The Interview

Great fun

Just in time for the carnival season, Philippe Jaroussky surprises in some cheeky costumes. His new album offers the matching program. Yeri Han wanted to know more.

The last time we talked to each other was almost four years ago. In the meantime, a lot of good things have been happening for you. Where do you currently see yourself, and what are you looking forward to the most?

2019 will be a big trade Hänel year for me. For once, because I have the opportunity to sing “Alcina” in Salzburg, next to Cecilia Bartoli, with whom I am going to give my house debut at La Scala in Milan this autumn – as Sesto in “Giulio Cesare”. These will be my only two stage productions this year, but they are really big, fantastic projects! Then there is also the start of my Cavalli tour for my new Album, as well as the release of yet another album that is planned to go on sale in January 2020, and for which I am going to do a big German tour. With this new project, I am going to explore new avenues that may be unexpected for some. They’re in for a surprise.

Another project that continues to gain importance in my life is my “Académie Jaroussky” that I founded in 2017. Each year, we are giving lessons to 25 young talents with free master classes in the categories violin, cello, piano and singing. It is incredibly moving and uplifting to witness, how the children learn to play their first pieces. It makes me incredibly happy!

You already mentioned your upcoming debut at La Scala. What special significance does this debut hold for you?

As a young singer, you keep dreaming about singing “somewhere”. I’ve done enough of that in the meantime; I sang in so many places all over the world, most of which I never had imagined. The Scala never was a defined goal, but obviously, it means a lot, especially as it always irked me that, in spite of basically singing exclusively in Italian and frequently with Italian ensembles, I almost never sing on Italian soil. So it is almost fair to say that “Giulio Cesare”, after 20 years, is my Italian debut.

That’s one of the paradoxes of my job, and a little frustrating for me. I often gained the impression, that the Italians don’t like programs with works written for castrato voices. And after all, the matter has some ambivalence. On one side, it is about pure beauty and music, on the other, historically, it’s about mutilation of children. I often had the notion that it makes Italian audiences uncomfortable. Because of that, I hope that this “Giulio Cesare” is going to be one of the big events of the season, and a good opportunity to introduce baroque repertoire to the Italian audiences as well as inviting the listeners to engage themselves with the topic of the castrati.

How is it in other countries; do you have the feeling that a part of the audience is still a little wary of countertenor singing there as well? Can you relate to the scepticism?  

I can very well understand that some people quite plainly don’t like the specific timbre of countertenors very much, and even in Baroque music prefer mezzo-sopranos or sopranos. At the same time, there needs to be some credit given to fact that a lot has changed during the last 20 years; not only, that now there are far more countertenors around, who vary wildly concerning their vocal techniques, vocal ranges, and personalities, but across the board, a lot has changed. At the start, it has been said that our voices were quite small – which is untrue. It’s also been said we all sound alike – which is of course false as well. I still remember doing “Sant’Alessio” under the baton of William Christie; we were seven countertenors in total, and some members of the audience told me they had been afraid of hearing the same voice all the time – a fear that fortunately proved to be unfounded. Nowadays, there are countertenors whose voices have more facets than that of a many female singers.

Do you have any idea yet how the new “Giulio Cesare” at the Scala will look like?

No not yet. But I am pleased that Robert Carsen will be in charge of for the new production as a director. I like the feeling of knowing in advance that you are going to work with someone you already know. It means much less stress – because opera productions are stressful as a default. You travel there, and you are still unfamiliar with the costumes, the general aesthetic of the production, or what you have to do on stage. Then you are surrounded by a multitude of people who you never met before; there are a lot of rehearsals; you are nervous before the premiere, … A stage production really means a lot more stress than a concert tour!

Right at the beginning, you were mentioning your album shortly to be released: there you focus entirely on opera arias of Francesco Cavalli. What tempted you about this repertoire in particular?

For me, singing Cavalli is a little like returning to my musical roots. At the very beginning of my career, I was given the chance to sing three Monteverdi operas with Jean-Claude Malgoire. So Monteverdi and early Baroque became my first contact with operatic music in general. Shortly after, I met Gabriel Garrido and his ensemble Elyma, who have been playing a lot of Cavalli even back then – in fact, thy belong to the very first who were interested in this wonderful music. Since then, I always had this thought on my mind that once in my life, I wanted to realize a Cavalli project – and during the last years, it started to become more and more palpable: “Cavalli is in the air!” (Laughs) And not only because of the wonderful music. But also because the dramaturgical potential his operas have to offer – and there are 27 in total! They aren’t quite unlike Monteverdi’s – very lively, a bit like theatre plays, without any long arias, full of contrasts, with an abundance of comical passages, erotic and salacious bits, and veritably grotesque plot turns. I thought it was delightful to finally being able to show with my album how modern, funny, and free the genre of opera could be in its infancy. In Cavalli’s music, there are incredibly tragical passages with sublime lamenti – and right in the next scene, there’s capering about and fun. It is never limited to just one sentiment; everything is very rich in contrasts and lively.

“How modern, witty and free the genre of opera could be in its infancy!”

The cover as well as the promo pictures for your new album suggest you are a fan of carnival?

Well, I am not a fan of Venetian carnival in particular, but I definitely like to slip into a costume and become someone else. Even in, in private, I prefer it more subtle: the opera stage allows us to be eccentric. I’m not a born actor, but quite early on, I realized that Make-Up and costumes assist me a lot when it comes to become one with a role. With the cover, we wanted to give a cue to a modern take of carnival in Venice. I suppose you have seen that I am wearing a white shirt; but what seems to be the frills of a cravat, in reality, is a plastic bag. The cover, with white being the predominant colour, is supposed to be a contrast to the back, which is kept in black. A little like Yin and Yang. Venice was well known as a rich town, famous for its carnival season, when the rich and the poor mingled in the anonymity of the masks. That’s also mirrored in Cavalli’s operas: his operas feature gods, kings, wealthy merchants – but then there are poor people as well, which results in a wide range of society being depicted. We consciously decided on “Ombra mai fu”, because we wanted to tickle people’s attention and curiosity a little who might not be as familiar with Cavalli as they are with Händel and other composers of the 18th century. However, it’s Cavalli who wrote the very first “Ombra mai fu,” with exactly the same libretto we’re familiar with from Händel! So this track is surely going to cause some confusion and curiosity.

Which changes do do perceive yourself in your voice?

There definitely have been some, that’s why it isn’t entirely by chance that I am doing the Cavalli project at this point. It’s a lot less viruosic than, for example, my Händel album from two years ago; it contains fewer coloraturas – which doesn’t mean that it is easier to sing. Also it’s a lot more text based. In the future, I don’t want to focus this much anymore on the big castrato roles, but work to establish a repertoire that is a bit more “human”. Cavalli, for example, does not focus on any spectacular high notes or virtuosic coloraturas; it’s more about the vocal expression. And something else that is particularly nice about the music of the time: Not everything is notated, so as a performing artist, you have some freedom when it comes to embellishments or the choice of instruments. Which means, you get to pick the musical colours all by yourself. That was a lot of fun!

What plans and thoughts do you have for the future?

For quite some time now, I have had that dream to conduct and most probably, within the next four years, I am going to be able to do my first project in that direction. It makes me very happy, but I am nervous as well, because it is somewhat the start of a second career. And without wanting to start sounding sad or melancholy: it’s not easy to get older as a singer. Inevitably, there will be a moment, where you will be on stage, but suddenly, you don’t sound as exciting or brilliant anymore than you did in years past – and no one dares to say it out loud. And even if I love to sing: this business comes with with a huge amount of pressure. Only a few, I think, really can imagine, what it means to be uncertain, when you go on stage and sometimes, you are not sure whether you’re in top shape. I withstood this pressure now for twenty years – and they have been twenty fantastic years with wonderful projects and collaborations with a plethora of amazing artists! However: whether I am able to do the same in ten years from now, …? When I will have done my first tentative steps towards conducting, maybe then, when it’s time, it won’t be quite as sad for me, to little by little, sing fewer performances – who knows!

The new album: OMBRA MAI FU

Opera arias by Francesco Cavalli

Excerpts from Il Xerse, Statira, Erismenea, Calisto, Eliogabalo, Ercole Amante, Ormindo, Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne, Orione, Eritrea, Giasone, Doricla, Calisto, La Virtù dei Strali d’amore, Pompeo Magno

Release: 8. März

2018-02-23 featured press

blu – Whether King Or Girl – Translation to English

2018-02-23, Blue Fm, by Christian K. L. Fischer

” … What a life I had! I was able to travel the world, never had money problems, had the chance to meet all these musicians. Plus, I had a lot of time for my friends. What a privilege! And I am allowed to sleep in!”

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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

Even if he doesn’t look like it, star opera singer Philippe Jaroussky is already past forty. And with age, some small problems occasionally appear – or just a lumbago.

“It was just a wrong move, … and it is really very painful. But at least, for the next few days, I don’t have to sing!” he says, laughing on the phone after having to cancel his trip to Berlin for our interview.
“My father already had back problems … something like that happens to me every two years. I really need to start doing sports – but I’m so lazy.” There, however, he is greatly exaggerating. After all, Philippe is one of the most sought-after countertenors, and on top of engagements at the major opera houses world-wide, and regular releases, two years ago, he founded his own academy.

“Ombra mai fu” by Philippe Jaroussky is available HERE.

So, turning forty wasn’t a big deal at all? “That birthday is a big mark for everyone. But it was also a good moment for me to see what I have done so far, and what I still want to do. However, I confess, if I was going to die tomorrow, … What a life I had! I was able to travel the world, never had money problems, had the chance to meet all these musicians. Plus, I had a lot of time for my friends. What a privilege! And I am allowed to sleep in!” he concludes, laughing again. He isn’t even worried about his voice.

“When I was twenty, my voice was very flexible. When I listen to old recordings of mine, I know that I cannot do this anymore. In exchange, I now have awareness of melody and words. My voice might have lost quickness, but it became stronger and more expressive. And if I lost it tomorrow, I still could become a teacher.”

Which is one thing he seems to prepare for with his Académie Musicale Philippe Jaroussky. “I love the idea of accompanying people for a year, giving them opportunities and enabling them to start making friends. If I’m allowed to dream, then I want the Académie to survive me.” Even with his latest recordings, it seems he wants to teach the world, because while well-known composers and pieces are being recorded again and again, Philippe now dedicates his last project, “Ombra mai fu” to the Baroque master Cavalli.

“During the last five to ten years, there has been a revival of his music, because the dramatic potential of his music was finally being recognized. Most of his arias are barely five minutes long; it’s a style full of surprises. And his music if full of freedom.“

And then, there is something else that Philippe loves about his profession: the wonderful, opulent garments that are part of his performances. “I like dressing up! Above all, I’m a musician and have never been a born actor. Whether I’m a king or a girl on stage, the costume helps me a lot. We rehearse for weeks without the proper costumes. You sing in what you happen to be wearing, so it’s hard to get into character. But when the make-up and the costumes are there, … Now I can be different; now I can be crazy!”

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2019-02-18 featured press

La Croix – “On ne peut dissocier la trop faible mixité sociale au sein du public et sur la scène”

2019-02-18, La Croix, by Emmanuelle Giuliani

“La Croix : Pourquoi avoir fondé cette académie destinée aux jeunes musiciens ?
Philippe Jaroussky : Sans doute pour donner à mon tour ce que j’ai reçu. Issu d’une famille de la classe moyenne éloignée de la musique classique, j’ai bénéficié de l’attention bienveillante d’un professeur de collège qui a su repérer mon goût et mes aptitudes.” […]

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2018-11-07 featured press

Música Clásica BA – Philippe Jaroussky, un cantante excepcional y un ser humano entregado a la transmisión de un legado

2018-11-07, Música Clásica BA, by Alicia Perris

Abrigado, vestido con ropa casual azul, distendido, disponible, en su día libre de función, me recibe en una de las coquetas salitas de que dispone el laberíntico territorio desconocido del gran público del Teatro Real. Fue emocionante. Esto es lo que me dijo. Que lo disfruten, porque es singular y una verdadera exclusiva. […]

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2018-11-07 featured press

Música Clásica – Interview Transcript/Translation to English – Philippe Jaroussky, an exceptional singer and a human being dedicated to passing on a legacy

(Philippe Jaroussky, un cantante excepcional y un ser humano entregado a la transmisión de un legado)

2018-11-07, Música Clásica BA, by Alicia Perris

Abrigado, vestido con ropa casual azul, distendido, disponible, en su día libre de función, me recibe en una de las coquetas salitas de que dispone el laberíntico territorio desconocido del gran público del Teatro Real. Fue emocionante. Esto es lo que me dijo. Que lo disfruten, porque es singular y una verdadera exclusiva. […]

Transcript/Translation to English

This is a fan transcript/translation; no infringement of copyright is intended. We believe it fulfills the criteria for “fair use,” discussion and study. Transcript/translation by *MT

A: We will try to do a different kind of interview, with a variety of topics.

P: Ok.

A: Is an artist the same person on stage as in everyday life?

PJ: Not exactly, it’s a mix between the stage and your character, the role you’re playing and your own sensitivity, but the audience feels as if the artist also puts a part of himself, of his personality into his interpretation and appreciates that. Playing a role also makes you discover things about yourself; being on stage transforms you. It changes you in the eyes of the spectators, you are the most important one in the spotlight, in the eyes of others you are no longer a normal individual. The audience wants you to be ‘extra-ordinary’. However, it’s important to keep your personality – the essence of an artist.

A: After the last performance of this opera, you will take a long break.

PJ: Yes, I will stop for three months. I had planned to take a break of six months, but Cecilia asked me to act with her in Alcina, April this year, in Salzburg. If Cecilia asks me something, whatever it is, I will say “yes!” (Laughs)

I think it’s a privilege to have a job that is a passion, we never stop. However, I also have the chance to have tours planned – two, three, even four years in advance. This way, I can plan a break knowing that I will have work to do when I come back.

It is important for me, this break. I will not stop singing for three months; it will only be weeks, or one month, and then I will work on new projects that are important.

A: How would you describe the experience of Only The Sound Remains at the Teatro Real in Madrid?

PJ: It’s a unique opportunity, performing a contemporary opera created especially for my voice; it’s really something special. I know that a countertenor can sing a greater variety of works than the repertoire for castrati – that’s why contemporary music seems important to me.

Recently, I thought, if I think of my future self, thirty years from now, alive or dead, what will remain of my career in the people’s memory? What is it they are going to remember? Of course, they will remember me as a specialist when it comes to Baroque music, but this contemporary work will remain an equally important moment in my career. For me, Kaija approaches the genius of a Monteverdi when it comes to her way of composing, her connection to the text. To keep this fluidity because the text is in English, … Recently, I worked with some great directors. Before, I did quite a few operas, and it scared me. I could work with Peter Sellars for Theodora, and recently with Robert Carsen. In fact, I imagine working again with Peter Sellars in the future, maybe not a contemporary work, may be a Handel opera. To me, Peter Sellars is somewhere in between a singer and a director.

A: Are you Russian? do you like Russian music?

P My grandfather was Russian, So only my last name is Russian. But in fact, I have always liked Russian musicians, like Shostakovitch and Prokofiev, when I was about 17 years old. I’m not planning to sing in Russian though; maybe in the future.

I know I have a “joy” personality, but I also like slow arias, melancholic music, more than dramatic or hysterical music.

A: George Bertrand was your teacher?

P: Yes, when I was ten years old, he told my parents that I had to learn music. So I studied at the conservatory of my city, first violin, later piano. I have always had a complex, because I started to study music too late (ten years). Everybody said that I had started too late, that I would not be able to do it. (Maybe that is the reason why I founded the academy.) However, when I started singing at 18, … Everybody said I was too young! I had a good notion of high notes, possibly because of my training with the violin.

At 18, I started studying with my professor. Since 22 years ago, I always see her; she is my second mother (laughs). At the beginning, my voice was too flexible (metralleta) now I try to work with the lyrics.

A: How is your relation to Cecilia Bartoli?

P: I have a deep admiration for her. We have a deep connection. Even if we don’t see each other so frequently, we have a musical connection and we have the same understanding of “work” Cecilia managed to have a very natural contact with public.

I met her when I was 21 years old. I was still a student. I had been standing in line for an hour and a half with a disc to ask her to sign. When I was in front or her, I began to say that she was an example for me, and she stare her eyes on my eyes for a while, and she realized I was a student, and she wrote for me a complete sentence “For Philippe Jaroussky, future success in your life…,” and like this. I told her this 15 year later. When sometimes I am tired, signing, I always remember this moment of generosity with the audience.

A: what about Verlaine?

PJ: He is special for me. I had to read him at school when I was ten, eleven years. It was my first emotion that I encountered in poetry. That’s why I did the project I had have with Verlaine.

A: Do you think about another project with poetry? P: Not, no with poetry, but yes, in French language.

A: I want to ask you about two films which are, someway, related to you. One is “Farinelli,” and the other is “The Music Teacher.”

P: “The Music Teacher” is very important because it is about the difficulties of “not belonging to a certain world”. There is a new student; he was not from the right class and is difficult for him to insert himself into that new world. I come from a middle class family; it was difficult for my family to buy the instruments that were expensive ones. That is why I have founded the Academy, to help children with no possibilities.

About “Farinelli”: It is the story of the most famous castrato. He was a god on stage, but in the real life, he didn’t have a complete life. When I watched “Farinelli” at the cinema with a friend, I told her I didn’t like it. I was still studying violin, so I was used to listen to a different kind of music. But I didn’t know that a few years later I would be singing this music. So, musical tastes change.

A: How do you see France nowadays?

P: I think France is in a kind of an awakened stake. I’m thinking about projects with children, about a new generation. I see that little by little, young people are getting tired of social networks. They have been with mobile phones all time since they were children, and now, at 20, 21, they are beginning to feel tired of that.

A: Do you think about writing a book about your experiences?

PJ: No, because now I want to dedicate a lot of time to the academy. I learn so much myself teaching in the academy. If one day I write a book, it would not be only of my life, but principally about music, so that it would be useful for other people. Maybe I would write in 10/15 years.

A: What about your dreams?

PJ: I am dreaming. For example, I have projects concerning conducting orchestras, with a first work in 2022.

A: Can you tell us where?

PJ: eeeeeerrrr…..: No!

A: What about your career?

PJ: I know I don’t want to sing if I can’t do it as today. I don’t want people to say “He still sings ok, but he used to be better.“

I am 40 years old. It is an important moment; is a fantastic age. And all these years, I have lived a very intense life, so many travels, successes, meetings with great people…I think that from now on, my life is a bonus. If I die tomorrow, I will know that I have had a privileged life.

A: Do you want to tell us something important?

P: Yes. Related to the “bonus.” Until a short time ago, I have had a very simple relation with success. When people talked to me after concerts, I used to listen them, but with a distance about that success they speak about, like, the important thing was the music, not me. Now however, I can accept these things in a more intense way. If people say “your singing is important to my life,” I listen to them with more attention.

In “Only the Sounds Remains,” in the second part, at one time, I have to wait 15 minutes. And so, I try to enjoy for example, to be in the same place I was 18 years before for the first time. I was on that same stage, and I enjoy this, not create limits. And all these feelings, I want to memorize them.

A: Are you thinking of going to South America?

PJ: I have been in Buenos Aires twice, at the Teatro Colón, and I know I will return to Argentina again, not too far in the future. I think that two years from now, I will be at the Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires four times, and two times in Santiago de Chile.


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2018-10-30_02 featured press

RTVE/Telediario – Curra Luengo interviews Philippe Jaroussky

Telediario’s website: [x]

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2018-10-30 featured press

movistar/Late Motiv – Episodio 30: Philippe Jaroussky

2018-10-30, movistar, by Andreu Bueafuente

Late Motiv. TEMPORADA 18/19

Episodio 30: Philippe Jaroussky

Entrevistamos a Philippe Jaroussky, famoso contratenor. Protagoniza en el Teatro Real de Madrid la ópera “Only the sound remains” y cerramos el programa con Miguel Maldonado, que nos cuenta cosas sobre Murcia.

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2018-10-30_03 featured press

Late Motiv/movistar+ – Philippe Jaroussky on Late Motiv

2018-10-30, Late Motiv/movistar+, by Andreu Buenafuente

“Ya sabéis que nos gusta amanecer con una dosis de música y buen gusto.
Buenos días …” […]

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2018-10-27 featured press

El Pais – “No quiero llegar a viejo cantando”

2018-10-27, El Pais, by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla

“No quiero llegar a viejo cantando”, comenta a sus 40 años. “Sé que deberé bajarme del escenario algún día. Pero no lo vivo como un trauma. Me considero músico en general y esto lo afronto solo como etapa de una carrera en la que quiero probar otros ámbitos, como la dirección”, afirma.

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2018-10-26_02 featured press

Cadena SER – Philippe Jaroussky: “Yo pienso que nací cantante, aunque no lo sabía”

2018-10-26, Cadena SER, by Juan Ángel Vela del Campo

uan Ángel Vela del Campo nos ha presentado al contratenor que según la crítica canta como los ángeles y en La Vanguardia leíamos “Levitar es posible…en el Real” Y es posible porque por el teatro pasó un ángel.


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