2013-10-06 featured press

Die Welt – Hoch die Stimme für ein ganz kleines Genie – English Translation

2013-10-06, Die Zeit, by Manuel Brug

Die Welt: Und sind Sie als neuer Mensch zurückgekommen?

Jaroussky: Wie man so schön sagt, ich habe schon ein wenig als Sänger auf meine innere Stimme gehört. Habe ein bisschen Bilanz gezogen. Und ich weiß jetzt sicher, dass die aktuelle Porpora-CD eines meiner letzten wirklichen Virtuoso-Projekte ist. Ich habe in den vergangenen Jahren so viele verzierte Arien gesungen, ich habe fast schon ein wenig genug von all dem Vokalfeuerwerk. Obwohl es Spaß macht.

Source/Read more: [x] Disclaimer: The following is not a professional translation; no profit is being made, no infringement of copyright is intended.

Raising the voice for a tiny genius

Right now, Philippe Jaroussky is the world’s most famous counter-tenor. But the 35 year old Frenchman who had his great breakthrough in 1999, after just three years of singing education, already thinks one step ahead. With his enormous heights he already had his great share in the renaissance of Vivaldi’s operas, and now he goes on to use his popularity to try and call our attention to unknown aspects of the former castrato cult as well – for instance regarding the composer Nicola Antonio Propora. We had the chance to speak with him right before the start of his tour through Germany.

Die Welt: You took an eight months sabbatical. What does a counter-tenor do during this time?

Philippe Jaroussky: The same as anybody else – nearly. I traveled for four months, I went to South America, Australia – where I gave a few concert after all, because I won’t be able to return there until 2017 –, and then to New Zealand and Thailand.

Die Welt: And did you return as “a new man”?

Jaroussky: As the saying goes, as a singer I really listened to my inner voice a bit. Struck a balance in a way. And now I know for sure that my new Porpora CD is one of my last real virtuoso projects. In the last years I sang so many embellished arias that I have nearly grown a little tired of all the vocal fireworks. Although it’s a fun thing to do.

Die Welt: What’s the alternative?

Jaroussky: Bach, Handel’s oratories, sacred music. I think that now I have the maturity and the experience that are needed for the Simple, and I want to put my mark on it. Which won’t necessarily be easy. As to Handel’s oratory “Theodora”, David Daniels still echoes in my ear, who did a fucking good job as Didimus under the baton of William Christie in Glyndebourne, and who really sang like an angel. That won’t be easy to reach. And there are Purcell and Dowland on my schedule too, and I also intend to browse the works of Scarlatti, Jommelli, Paisiello, Cimarosa, Graun and Telemann a little.

Die Welt: The Gluck year is ahead, now isn’t that a godsend for counter-tenors?

Jaroussky: Of course, but in this regard I don’t have so many irons in the fire. At some stage there will surely be the Orfeo again whom I sang already but who is a little too low for me, and who was written for an alto like Bejun Mehta. But there is also a higher version for a soprano castrato that was staged in Naples, moreover with a few external insertions that nicely speak of the practice of this era where the scores were not as “holy” (meaning fixed) as today. I think I will do that. The original version will be too strenuous for me today, as my voice has mightily bloomed in the heights during the last years. A strange phenomenon, which I also noticed in my younger colleague Franco Fagioli who for a long time also seldom used his upper registers.

Die Welt: …and who also sings a few Porpora arias on his solo album that’s dedicated to the castrato Caffarelli…

Jaroussky: Why not? I too have used the castrato Farinelli’s fame for my CD in order to promote this composer who was underrated for so long.

Die Welt: Was he really a genius?

Jaroussky: At least a little. An icon of transition to the gallant style and later on to Mozart, as was Johann Christian Bach. He was one of the best teachers for singing and composition of his time. That’s already not a little, is it? In his about ten operas for Farinelli he usually included five arias for him, and they are outstanding. So one already gets 50 from which I chose eleven. Because Porpora was already quite smart in terms of economics, those are usually the only good arias in these operas. He knew exactly that the audience only listens when the stars are singing. Why waste one’s talents then? Only in his “Polifemo” that premiered in 1735 in London, and that was intended to be a strong weapon against Handel’s crew, he is good throughout. But there he had four stars at his command. And therefore I would like to fuel the small Porpora boom a little by taking part in a stage production that will take place in September 2015 as part of the Musikfest Bremen and that will tour from there. So I won’t entirely abandon virtuosity. And to be totally honest: It’s easier for me to penetrate big halls with high notes as my voice just carries better this way.

Die Welt: Do counter-tenors have to think earlier about their future after their singing career (as other kinds of singers)?

Jaroussky: Our voices seldom last until the age of sixty, as experience shows. So one really needs to have a forward-looking strategy even when one’s vocal apparatus still works completely fine. Going forward, I will use my middle range to a greater degree. And for instance I still want to make a program with art songs (Kunstliedern) of the Romantic period. In terms of music there lies an entirely different world that really pushed me forward enormously.

Die Welt: Will counter-tenors be totally normal (natural) in 20 years’ time?

Jaroussky: Never. Of course when it comes to education we are a voice category like any other. The audience has got used to our sound. And now we also have many more brave boys (than before) who already start their career as sopranists, so that today I would really have to make an effort with my former technique. But the castrato repertory really is something unusual, and the audience will always feel something special when a man can sing so high. And one really has to acknowledge that.

Die Welt: How did you tempt Cecilia Bartoli to participate in your CD?

Jaroussky: We like each other a lot, and our voices go together well, but I am shy, and for a long time I didn’t dare to ask her. And then she said “Yes” on the spot! But of course, she had also asked me regarding her Steffani project. And please don’t pass it on: In order for us to realize this project so quickly, we sang for each other for free, renouncing any rights to it. Or else our record companies would still be negotiating, and we would have lost interest long ago.

Die Welt: What will come after Porpora?

Jaroussky: A crazy project with the queer (meaning a little weird) Christina Pluhar, and before that Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the extraordinary Julia Leshneva. That is totally pure, we really sound like two children in that.

2013-10-05 featured press

The Times – Philippe Jaroussky: Farinelli/Porpora

2013-10-05, The Times, by Richard Morrison

Farinelli was the greatest 18th-century castrato. Nicola Porpora was his singing teacher and, in 50 operas, the composer who gave him the fizzingly virtuosic or meltingly lyrical arias with which he dazzled Europe. I’d be surprised if Farinelli’s voice was any more astonishing than the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, who sings 11 of Porpora’s arias here, most previously unrecorded. The Venice Baroque Orchestra supplies zesty backing; Cecilia Bartoli, no less, is on two duets.

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2013-10-02 featured press

Colta Russia – Colta Russia – Филипп Жарусски: «Для контратеноров сейчас нет границ»

Colta Russia – Philippe Jaroussky: ” For countertenors, there are no boundaries now”

2013-10-02, Филипп Жарусски (Colta Russia)m by Илья Овчинников (Ilya Ovchinnikov)

Что мне еще не понравилось — мой костюм с длинными гольфами и короткими штанами. Думаю, что выгляжу достаточно молодо, зачем же делать из меня школьника? Я не пел эту оперу прежде, кроме как в концертном исполнении, и очень давно ждал. Моей мечтой также было спеть когда-нибудь с Чечилией и Анне Софи фон Оттер, я и не думал, что все это исполнится одновременно. Странно, что спектакль не выпустили на DVD, хотя плата за это даже входила в мой гонорар.

What I still do not like – my suit with a long [“гольфами”] and a short pants. I think that I look young enough; why turn me into a school-boy? I did not sing this opera before, except in a concert performance, quite a while ago. My dream has always been to sing it with Cecilia and Anne Sofie von Otter, and I didn’t think it would become reality at the same time. It’s strange that it hasn’t been released on DVD, although the fee is even included in my fee. [“хотя плата за это даже входила в мой гонорар.”]

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Disclaimer: The following is not a professional translation; no profit is being made, no infringement of copyright is intended.

2013-10-01 featured press

Die Zeit – “Der Countertenor ist eine neue Art Mann” – English Translation

2013-10-01, Zeit Online, by Rabea Weihser

ZEIT ONLINE: Macht man sich als Countertenor ganz von allein Gedanken um ein männliches Rollenbild?

Jaroussky: Ein Countertenor zu sein ist eine Art auszudrücken, was ein Mann sein kann. Er kann seine weibliche Seite entdecken und eine Vielzahl von Gefühlen ausdrücken. Diese romantische Idee vom mutigen Helden, der in den Krieg zieht, ist längst abgelöst. Ich kann ein Mann sein und hoch singen. Wo ist das Problem? Ich kann genauso eine Frau sein und arbeiten gehen.

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Disclaimer: The following is not a professional translation. We believe its publication fulfills the requirements of “fair use,” discussion and study.  No infringement of copyright is intended.

“A countertenor is a new kind of man”

Philippe Jaroussky is one of the best sopranos in the world. Now he ventures on the arias of the castrato Farinelli. With this, does he overcome manliness? [this is awkward to translate to English. What is meant by manliness (as I see it), is an outdated concept of masculinity.] Philippe Jaroussky was born in 1978 in Maisons-Laffitte, France. He describes himself as “mezzo with the colour of a soprano.”

ZEIT ONLINE: Monsieur Jaroussky , you’ve just released an album with the arias of the great Farinelli. We know his story from the movie – the absolute cliché when it comes to opera-castratos. Isn’t this a little too obvious?

Philippe Jaroussky: I was always afraid to record a Farinelli programme. But I’ve noticed that his repertoire fits my voice quite well. [Via this repertoire,]I thought it was a good idea to discover a different composer. I’m using the name Farinelli to tell something about Nicola Porpora. And what I wanted to show with this project is that castrato voices aren’t miracles. The singers had to work hard.

ZEIT ONLINE: In which way does your voice differ from Farinelli’s?

Jaroussky: Some critics say: His voice doesn’t sound like Farinelli at all.”

ZEIT ONLINE: Who knows for sure? Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, died in 1782.

Jaroussky: We know a lot about the qualities of his voice. He could sing a very high soprano and – in the same opera – an aria for contralto. And he used his chest voice far more often than I do. I cannot sing the entire repertoire of Farinelli’s. However, in Porpora’s music I have found many very touching arias and that’s the most important thing about this project: I want the audience to feel what Porpora felt for Farinelli.

ZEIT ONLINE: Porpora wrote the most virtuosic arias for Farinelli. How did you realize them?

Jaroussky: It’s gymnastics. To sing this music, you have to train, just as for as Verdi, Puccini and Wagner. You have to sing these high sections [in German, it is unclear if he means the whole aria or just the specific part of it] 50 times a day in order to survive on the stage.

ZEIT ONLINE: There is hardly another genre of classical music that is equally focused on the artistry of the performer. You step in front of the audience, and show how to overcome human and also male limits. At times, do you feel like a circus horse that’s showing off a few tricks?
Jaroussky: Naturally, during the concert, the audience most reacts to the virtuosic arias. People shout, they go mad. But when I’m talking to them later, they are talking about the emotional arias, not of the virtuosic ones.

ZEIT ONLINE: These are effects just in big pop music.
Jaroussky: Yes, and people have a strange relationship to castrato operas. Of course, they don’t want to see real castratos any more, that’s passé. But nonetheless, there’s this desire [“Sehnsucht” is such a beautiful German word. Hard to translate] to hear them again. These concerts with castrato repertoire are something very special.

ZEIT ONLINE: One could also say, the castrato opera was the first art form based on hormonal doping. By castration, the larynx and the vocal chords remained childlike, while the rest of the body continued to grow. Farinelli and his colleagues were rather tall, after all, had little heads on top of delicate bodies, narrow hips and wide chests.

Jaroussky: The hormonal imbalance turned them into monsters. The comparison with athletes who take hormones to pump up their muscles fits somehow. On stage, the castrati were treated like gods – in real life, they were treated like a doormat. They needed all these feathers and costumes, to gain themselves respect. Very dramatic with all that makeup. They were caught up in an artificial world; their life only happened on stage. Most castrati died quickly after they ceased to sing.

ZEIT ONLINE: Especially love duets between a high male voice and a soprano can often be irritating, because one cannot get to match the visual with the acoustic impression. On the other hand, there can hardly be a more appropriate analogy of intimacy than two lovers singing around each other in close third intervals.

Jaroussky: That’s right. There is this fantastic duet at the end of L’ Incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi…

ZEIT ONLINE: Emperor Nero sings mezzo, and his mistress Poppea soprano.

Jaroussky: And the two are always together very close. There are many productions of Poppea with tenor and soprano, and it renders an altogether different impression then.

ZEIT ONLINE: As a countertenor, does it come natural to give more thought than average to a male role models? [literally: Männliches Rollenbild is the image that others and oneself have of what ‘male’ might actually mean or imply.]

Jaroussky: To be a countertenor is one way to express what a man can be. He can discover his feminine side and express a variety of feelings. This romantic idea of the brave hero who goes to war is long a thing of the past. I can be a man and sing high. Where’s the problem? Equally, I can be a woman and go to work.

ZEIT ONLINE: It is said that we were in a post- gender era. Do you see any connection to the success of countertenors there?

Jaroussky: Of course. And there’s a whole new school, many young colleagues. A few of them are just as good as female mezzo-sopranos. Perhaps this sounds a little presumptuous, but I think that most from the new school of male sopranos have heard me. I think in the past ten years, I have contributed to direct the voice of countertenors in a different direction. Not only into the alto, but into the mezzo- soprano and soprano Fach. Today I listen to singers who have a greater vocal range than I do. A few years ago, this wasn’t the case.

ZEIT ONLINE: Who were your role models?

Jaroussky: We have to thank like Alfred Deller. Back then, they emerged out of nowhere and decided to sing a repertoire that no one was interested in. When I started , I listened to Andreas Scholl, David Daniels , James Bowman. And I never would have thought, but it’s really easier to sing when you have them as reference.

ZEIT ONLINE: Has the audience changed as well?

Jaroussky: Yes, for them it doesn’t suffice anymore just to listen to a countertenor. They already heard many. He has to sing with perfect intonation and with a strong voice. At the moment, there is a competition amongst countertenors, different colours of voices and different personalities. This is great. Some are giving their best to church music. Others have developed a Belcanto technique.

ZEIT ONLINE: And where is your place ? Forever in Baroque opera?

Jaroussky: I paused for eight months, thinking about what I wanted to sing in the future. This Farinelli project could be my last from the castrato repertoire. I’m not quite so athletic; sometimes I have no desire to exercise. That’s one reason why I want to sing something else. There are so many interesting parts in sacred music, by Bach, Purcell, or Dowland. There it isn’t about virtuosity; there it is all about how to interpret a piece of poetry. For me, this is getting more important.

2013-09-18_02 featured press

Die Welt – Die Kastratenparty

2013-09-18, Die Welt, by Manuel Brug

Als gegenwärtiger König der Countertenöre hat der Franzose Philippe Jaroussky (35) einen Ruf zu verteidigen. Nach einem Sabbatical meldet er sich jetzt gewohnt cremestimmig und mit lichter, leichter Höhe als begnadeter Elegiker zurück. Sein aktuelles Thema: Porporas Arien für Carlo Broschi, genannt Farinelli, zirzensische Klangfeuerwerke, aber eben auch traumhaft lang ausgesponnene Klagewunderfolgen wie etwa das zehnminütige, wie auf einem Atem dahinschwebende Lamento “Alto Giove” aus “Polifemo” – jener Oper, die 1735 einmal mehr die Rivalität der beiden Londoner Opernkompanien als Tonkampf zwischen Porpora und Händel anspornte. Jarousskys These, die er beispielhaft an elf Ausschnitten aus sechs Opern ausformuliert: Besonders in den ungewöhnlich zarten Stücken sind sich Komponist und Schüler, Diener und Star, aber eben auch Ersatzvater und Sohn extrem nahe. Die Arie als Seelenspiegel des Protagonisten wie auch als Psychogramm ihres Interpreten.

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2013-09-29 featured press

Вечерняя Москва (Moscow Evening) – Дом музыки открыл сезон концертом Филиппа Жарусски (House of Music opens season with concert of Philippe Jaroussky)

2013-09-29, Вечерняя Москва (Moscow Evening)

However, the charming voice, coupled with a boyish charm and good looks, together with some Hollywood acting intoxicated the hall.  And in the end, the audience, not even the most educated and sophisticated part of it, naturally falls into extatic rapture.

Но чарующий голос вкупе с мальчишеским обаянием и с голливудской внешностью действует на зал наркотически. И в финале публика, даже не самая просвещенная и утонченная ее часть, закономерно впадает в экстатический восторг.

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2013-09-24 featured press

Paris Match – Philippe Jaroussky, une voix au sommet

2013-09-24, Paris Match, by Philippe Noisette

« Farinelli s’est produit quinze ans sur les scènes puis s’est mis au service du roi d’Espagne. Il chantait pour soigner la mélancolie du monarque. Quel destin ! » Philippe Jaroussky parle encore de bête vocale : en est-il une, lui aussi ? « Se comparer à une légende est toujours un risque. Il y a un vrai fantasme par rapport à ces voix de castrats. Ils passaient 90 % de leur temps à créer des œuvres faites pour leur tessiture. Du sur-mesure. Moi je fais du prêt-à-porter en endossant ces rôles. »

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2015-09-20 featured press

Concerti – Ich warte schon 15 Jahre auf das hohe C – English Translation

2013-09-20, Concerti, by Jakob Buhre

… Johann Sebastian Bach
Ich habe ein bisschen Bach gesungen, als ich jünger war, in den letzten Jahren aber überhaupt nicht mehr. Er gehört zu den Komponisten, die ich mir für die Zukunft vorgenommen habe, allerdings frühestens in zwei Jahren. Erst möchte ich noch mein Deutsch verbessern. Und dann… Wissen Sie, ich habe die Arie aus der Matthäus-Passion gesungen, „Erbarme dich, mein Gott“, aber es ist fürchterlich: Selbst wenn ich mein Bestes gebe, habe ich das Gefühl, dass man der Perfektion dieser Komposition nicht gerecht wird.

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English Translation

Disclaimer: This isn’t a professional translation. We believe that the publication fulfills the criteria of “fair use,” discussion and study. No infringement of copyright is intended. 

“I ‘ve been waiting for the top C for 15 years”

Philippe Jaroussky is one of the most successful countertenors. Here he talks about …

Sense of humour …

Sense of humour is becoming more and more important for me. In many concerts with Christina Pluhar and her ensemble Les Arpeggiata, I have learned that a Classical concert on one hand has to be serious, but on the otherhand that sometimes you can offer something different. At the end of the concert, for example, we turned “Ohimè ch’io cado” by Monteverdi into a kind of jazz version; I danced to it a bit. This creates a different relationship between the artist and the audience . Moreover, in opera , in the libretti, there are incredibly funny things as well. Humour is a part of life , and music should show everything, not just suffering and love.

… the German audience

I know it by the silence, by the high concentration during the entire concert. In France and Spain, people often applaud or call already after the first aria; this almost never happens in Germany. In return, people can be all the more enthusiastic at the end, then they are telling you whether they liked it or not. I remember my first appearance in Germany; I initially thought people didn’t like it – until I heard the final applause.

… his highest note

The two-lined B flat (b flat ‘’). I wish I would manage the C – but that’s probably my fate : I’ve been waiting for 15 years for the C already , but in the meantime I think it is time to see it will not come anymore (laughs ) . Of course I’m always working on my entire vocal range, not only on the high segment. [At a loss for technical terms there in English, please feel free to correct me.] With this, one doesn’t only try to develop the high range to actually sing the high notes, but one works at the extremes to feel more comfortable in the normal range, to be more relaxed at the less difficult parts.

Singing … in women’s costumes

I’ve never done that; I think I would feel uncomfortable about it. Last year we performed the opera Artaserse by Leonardo Vinci, with five countertenors , and I was offered a woman’s role , but I preferred to take over one of the male parts. For me, the countertenor voice has nothing to do with portraying a woman. What’s more, I never try to imitate a woman . I chose this voice , because I can comfortably with it; it just happens to be easier for me this way than as a basso or tenor .

… composing

There was a time when I had a big urge for it, and spent days composing. However, the result was not good enough. And at some point I lacked the time as well. I am of the opinion: If you want to be a composer and want to write something good, then you have to devote your whole life to it. That’s why I have great respect for composers. It gives [me] a certain amount of frustration that nowadays I am only a performing artist, and do not create anything new myself.

… Johann Sebastian Bach

I have sung a little Bach when I was younger, but not anymore at all in the recent years. He is one of the composers that I have plans to work on in the future, but at the earliest in two years’ time. First I would like to improve my German. And then … You know, I have sung the aria from St. Matthew’s Passion , “Erbarme dich, mein Gott” [Have mercy, Lord, on me], but it is dreadful: Even if I give it my best, I’m having the feeling that one doesn’t do the perfection of this composition justice.

… funny viewer reactions to his high voice

It still happens that people are surprised, or react negatively. I try to focus them, sometimes I look at them directly. But you cannot convince everyone. There are always people who are attending a concert because someone invited them. And if someone like this doesn’t like your singing, there is nothing you can do about it. But actually this is what I like about this register. There are many fans of it, but just as many people who think countertenors are a fake, an imitation. And I respect that attitude as well;, it’s a very personal matter, after all, whether you like a voice or not.


2013-09-17 featured press

Mediapart – Philippe Jaroussky de nouveau

2013-09-17, Blogs.mediapart.fr
“Conduire une carrière est difficile et chacun de nous peut citer le nom de tel artiste embourbé dans ses doutes ou bien cerné par un narcissisme excessif. Ici, rien de tout cela. Philippe Jaroussky mène son chemin sans fausses notes. Il es…t sans doute bien accompagné, bien conseillé, bien écouté. C’est à partir de ce constat que le contre ténor a conçu son nouveau disque, hommage au célèbre castrat Farinelli, mais aussi au compositeur qui le découvrit, le forma, le soutint jusqu’à le perdre: Nicola Porpora. Sous la musicologie se devine un message de gratitude, exprimé par le chanteur français à son professeur: Nicole Fallien.
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2013-09-13_02 featured press

Album review: Philippe Jaroussky, Farinelli – Porpora Arias (Erato)

The Independent, 13 September 2013, by Andy Gill

Over string arrangements of a Vivaldian timbre, Jaroussky’s gossamer technique is playfully employed on the likes of “Mira in cielo”, the rapid ornamentation verging at times on laughter; but the more undulating upper-register glide of the sublime “Alto Giove” from Polifemo gives some indication of why Porpora’s 50 operas were once considered the equal of Handel’s.

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