2017-05-07 featured press

klassik-begeistert.de – NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Philippe Jaroussky Countertenor, … – Translation to English

2017-05-07, klassik-begeistert.de, by Leon Battran

“Philippe Jaroussky singt die Lieder in seiner Muttersprache wunderbar ätherisch und mit herausragender Textverständlichkeit. Sein Mezzosopran schwebt geisterhaft über dem Klanggrund des Orchesters. Seine Stimme lässt er erwachsen, erblühen und erstrahlen und überzeugt in allen Registern mit Wandelbarkeit und außergewöhnlicher Klangschönheit.” […] “Es ist die Wärme in der Stimme von Philippe Jaroussky, die berührt; die Aufmerksamkeit, die er jeder Note zuteil werden lässt. Er formt die Töne ganz ohne zu drängen oder zu pressen, mit behutsamer Leichtigkeit, als würde er Seifenblasen pusten. Und ebenso viele Farben spiegeln sich im Glanz dieser Stimme wider. Bravo, Monsieur! Cela, c’était superbe!”

*This is a fan translation. If you have any problems with this being online, drop us a line and we will remove it immediately.

Translation by Lankin*

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NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
Philippe Jaroussky Countertenor
Dirigent Antonello Manacorda

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, »Das Märchen von der schönen Melusine« / Konzertouvertüre F-Dur op. 32
Hector Berlioz, Les nuits d’été
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Musik zu »Ein Sommernachtstraum« op. 21 und 61

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, 5. Mai 2017

By Leon Battran

Even if, as a countertenor, Philippe Jaroussky appears to be predestined for it, it can’t always be repertoire for castrati. This evening, he is merely a mezzosoprano, interpreting Hector Berlioz’ “Les nuits d’été” – songs originating from the heart of the 19th century – and Philippe Jaroussky demonstrates beyond any doubt that he’s just as home in French Romantic music as he is in Baroque.

The Frenchman is “Artist in Residence” during the current season at the Elbphilharmonie. Already at the two inaugural concerts in January 2017, he had delighted with Italian vocal works from around 1600. The Berlioz songs originate between 1840 and 1856 and were originally designed for different voice types. Les nuits d’été (Summer Nights) is regarded as the first cycle of orchestral songs in music history, making Hector Berlioz the inventor of this genre. Spring awakening, young love and happiness are introduced just as well as pain of separation, despair, and death.

Philippe Jaroussky sings the songs in his native language, wonderfully ethereally and with outstandingly clear diction. Like a phantasm, his mezzosoprano wafts over the foundation of the orchestra. He lets his voice grow, blossom and shine, convincing through all registers with great versatility and exceptional beauty of sound. Jaroussky’s appearance is professional and extremely focused. Whenever some minute lapses in intonation want to sneak in, he immediately corrects them already at the onset.

In Berlioz’ songs, the singer navigates through idyll and melancholy: frolicing through spring meadows, gathering fragrant flowers of May, forlornly sailing the surging sea, and strolling through a moonlit cemetery. An equally dignified as well as fragile drama pervades the cycle, which the French countertenor renders particularly palpable.  

The warmth in Philippe Jaroussky’s voice affects deeply, the attention he bestows on every single note. He forms his notes without any hint of coaxing or pressing, with gentle ease, as if he were blowing soap bubbles. And just as many colours are scintillating in the luster of this voice. Bravo, Monsieur! Cela, c’était superbe!

The audience is over the moon. There is applause after every piece. The enthusiastic audience even sticks to this pattern during the Instrumental Suite of Mendelssohn’s incidental music for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The evening already started with Mendelssohn’s program music, to be specific, with his concert overture “The fair Melusina”; well proportioned musical poetry, crisply performed by the Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, providing a slim quarter of an hour of delicate enchantment.

Manacorda was at the baton. The Artistic Director of the Kammerakademie Potsdam stood in for Thomas Hengelbrock due to the latter’s illness. The Italian conducted the Midsummer Night’s Dream with reputable suppleness and verve, and somehow Italian. His conducting is very transparent, and positively pithy. Manacorda’s baton traces the music like with a paintbrush, sending a multitude of signals in various directions, swirls and atomises, tickling the musicians from afar or nudging them.

Particularly beautiful is the flowing intermezzo: the first part lyrical, elegant, beckoning; in the second part, changing to a rustic-style dance rhythm. The solo horn defrays the Notturno, in pastoral bliss. From then on, the music swells into greater drama, only to come to a rest on rocking sounds of the flute.

And then, at last, the famous trumpet fanfare, announcing: the wedding is about to begin! This wedding march comes along quite briskly, in a sporty-happy tempo, but at the same time festive enough to fit a New Year’s Eve concert. A single broad smile. There isn’t any better get-out dance. A last clang from the cymbals closes the what is probably the first summer night of the year in Hamburg.

Leon Battran, May 7, 2017, for


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2017-05 featured press

Hamburger Abendblatt – Eine feine Nachtmusik – A Delicate Serenade – Translation to English

2017-05-06, Hamburger Abendblatt, by Joachim Mischke

“Mit einer Frauenstimme haben diese Nachtstücke immer etwas süffig Parfümiertes, das unverwechselbar klare Jaroussky-Timbre gab ihnen ein faszinierend uneindeutiges Flair. Manacorda bremste das Orchester aufs gerade noch Nötigste ab, modellierte mit Leichtigkeit hauchfeine Piani und breitete so unter Jarousskys Gesangslinien einen seidenweichen Klangteppich aus, in dem nichts einsank, nichts plump verloren ging. Dezenz ist Schwäche? Hier war sie Stärke. In jedem einzelnen Lied fand Jaroussky die eine Nuance, die es besonders aufrichtig machte. Hier ein zart schwebender Halteton, dort eine Nuance Innigkeit.” 


*This is a fan translation. If you have any problems with this being online, just drop us a line and we’ll remove it immediately. Translation by Lankin*

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A Delicate Serenade

The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester with Philippe Philippe Jaroussky, Berlioz’ “Les nuits d’été,” and Mendelssohn’s music from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”



If Thomas Hengelbrock, principal conductor of the NDR, wouldn’t have had to cancel due to illness, he would have presented a concert at the Elbphilharmonie under the motto “Three Tonal Colours Of A Summer Night,” with equally fitting and appealing works by Purcell, Berlioz and Mendelssohn. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, … It was different in the end: Antonello Manacorda appeared on the stage of the large hall, the Mendelssohn part was being augmented with the “Melusina” overture. And Manacorda – otherwise artistic director of the small but exquisite Kammerakademie Potsdam, commended himself – very relaxed, very elegant – for further appointments at the Elbphilharmonie, where he debuted with his own orchestra merely a month ago. Clearly, he wasn’t just a fill-in to muddle through, but an interesting alternative, especially because the violinist/conductor Manacorda, just as the violinist/conductor Hengelbrock both share their background of the Ancient Music scene, with its different approach and concept of leadership.

Discreetness is a weakness? This time, it was a strength

At the same time, this endearing concert program was Philippe Jaroussky’s hard goodbye, whose time as artist in residence of the NDR in the first concert season of the Elbphilharmonie is ending this Sunday, as charming and convincing as it began. Berlioz’ soul-caressing song cycle with orchestra “Les nuits d’été” can be sung by different voice types; however, it wasn’t composed for a countertenor, a voice that, by default, is associated with pomp, affect, and baroque wigs, and less with salon-music-like sensitivity or the 19th century.

That was precisely the special appeal of the element that Jaroussky contributed, highlighted by his placement in the orchestra: he wasn’t flirting with his notes at the apron, neither above the brass at the end of the stage, but right in the middle, between the woodwinds section and the contrabasses – for reasons to do with the acoustics of the hall, but also for greater transparency concerning the score, to blend in as yet another timbre, one who also had to sing the poems.

Whereas with a female voice, these night-pieces usually come along somewhat light and sweet and perfumed; the unmistakable clarity of Jaroussky’s timbre gifted them with a fascinating ambiguous flair. Mancorda toned down the orchestra to the bare necessary, modelling with ease the most delicate piani, draping a tapestry of sound soft as silk around Jaroussky’s vocal lines, where nothing was submerged, nothing clumsily lost. Discreetness means weakness? Here it was a strength. In every single piece, Jaroussky managed to find the one nuance that rendered it the most sincere. A tenderly wafting portamento, or an intimate nuance. Especially during “Absence,” there was more guessing the airy and light music than actually hearing it.

In some respects, Mendelssohn is a lot like Mozart: it all seems perfectly easy, it all sounds quite harmless, but only before one is actually undergoing the attempt to play it playfully and easily. That Manacorda, an expert on Mendelssohn, chose the overture from “The Fair Melusina” as a preparation for the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was only consistent. Both pieces call for an empathetic narrator rather than an authoritarian guide. The low and gentle, lustrous ripples, swirling around the theme of the hapless mermaid, Manacorda sets in scene in the style of a chamber music prelude.

It was easy to spot the subtle hint of what the sujet was going to evolve into about two decades later, in Wagner’s monumental, surging prelude to “The Rhinegold” (how fitting: Hengelbocks next project at the Elbphilharmonie, in three weeks, is going to be a concertante “Rhinegold.” With the same high standard, after the cheered Berlioz, the program continued with the music to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Here both the conductor and the tutti displayed their security and attention to detail, clearly enjoying themselves. With a light touch, they sketched a collection of lovely atmospheric pictures, and Mancorda’s encouraging calm, in passing, seemed to free the solo horn player Claudia Strenkert from her slight nervosity at the beginning of her solo at the Notturno. It’s impossible to imagine a happier ending than the famous Wedding March for a concert that, without any ifs or buts, marks a success on the NDR’s timeline of the first months at the Elbphilharmonie.
(Image caption:) Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky at the curtain call at the large hall of the Elbphilharmonie

Image credit: Claudia Höhne

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2017-05-03 featured press

Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook – “Ein paar Monate nach der Eröffnung …”

2017-05-03, Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook

“Ein paar Monate nach der Eröffnung , bin ich zurück zu Elbphilharmonie Hamburg! Ich bin sehr glücklich!”

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2017-01-18 featured press

kultur-port.de – Händels „Alcina“ – Operncoup mit Jaroussky, Petibon und Prohaska – Translation to English

2017-01-18, kulturport.de, by Hans-Juergen Fink

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Disclaimer: This is a fan translation; no infringement of copyright is intended. We believe the publication of this translation fulfills the requirements for “Fair Use,” for discussion and study.

Händel’s “Alcina” – An Operatic Coup With Jaroussky, Petibon And Prohaska

(five stars)
by Hans-Juergen Fink – Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 10:10 h

With sorcery and love, the sorceress Alcina is fighting a desperate battle against the horrors of old age. For his Baroque opera, Händel set this psychological drama to ravishing music; for Aix-en-Provence 2015, director Katie Mitchell envisioned a sombre, disturbing, but also surprising and amusing imagery. The cast: a feast for the ears and eyes.

Recently, at the beginning of November, Philippe Jaroussky was at the Hamburger Laeiszhalle. Joined by the Freiburger Barockorchester, he performed for the concert series “Das Alte Werk” hosted by the NDR, with a programme comprising the repertoire on his latest CD, “Sacred Cantatas,” featuring four cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann – where obviously he was minutely more at home with Telemann, a composer field-tested in opera, than with the very introvert music of the cantor at the Thomaskirche. On record though, you can savour Jaroussky’s angel voice at its absolute best, at both composer’s works.

Before the concert in November, the man with the clear, assertive voice had already sung the season opening of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester – last early September at the Laeiszhalle; still a future project then: his participation at both the inauguration concerts of the Elbphilharmonie, where at the 11th and 12th of January, he sang renaissance madrigals from one of the balconies, accompanied by a harp.

In May, he returns once more to the spectacular new building at the harbour: he will be giving three early summer concerts with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Thomas Hengelbrock, were he is going to lend his very own, unusual and unique sound to the song cycle “Les nuits d’été” by Hector Berlioz, originally written for low tenor or mezzosoprano.

The frequency with which Jaroussky is popping by in Hamburg doesn’t need to come as a surprise for anyone – after all, the countertenor superstar is artist in residence of the NDR Orchester during the season 2016/2017.

Baroque opera at its finest: Händel’s “Alcina” with Jaroussky

Who didn’t manage to get hold of tickets for any of the performances can draw some comfort from the CD “Sacred Cantatas,” and from the really magnificent opera on DVD or BluRay: Händel’s great Baroque “Alcina,” premiered in 1745 in London. Recorded in 2015 at the Festival in Aix-en-Provence. A recording of the ingenious production by Katie Mitchell, who stages an interpretation of “Alcina” where not a single one of the 187 minutes and not one of the many arias is even a tiny bit boring.

The story around the aging sorceress Alcina and her sister Morgana becomes a fascinating game between illusion (the youthful appearances of the two, Patricia Petibon and Anna Prohaska in the parlour), and reality, when their alter egos are played by older actresses once they are leaving the parlour at the centre of the dollhouse via the side doors, heading for their magic laboratories.

The two capture young men, who after some time, once love has cooled down, are ending up in showcases as taxidermy specimens. Naturally, the young knight Ruggiero (Philippe Jaroussky) is an ideal victim – if it wasn’t for his lover, who seeks him out and, dressed as a man, tries to free him. Pure drama in the sultry parlour of love of Alcina’s, with the passionate acting of Petibon’s and Prohaska’s adding compelling allure (with a hint of “Fifty Shades Of Grey.”)

Concerning playfulness and vitality, the young Alcina definitely surpasses Ruggiero’s lover. Not even remotely everything is acted out; cleverly, Katie Mitchell leaves many things to Händel’s incomparably touching music and the facial expressions of her actors. Devastatingly acted: Alcina’s break-down, when she realizes her magic is waning and Ruggiero is eluding her.

The orchestra in Aix – just like at the Bach/Telemann concert in Hamburg – was the Freiburger Barockorchester (with the Russian choir MusicAeterna.) Both are able to maintain the electrifying tension of the plot over the full distance, at every second. Conductor is the Italian Baroque specialist Andrea Marcon. A feast for the senses. Jaroussky sings pure drama – seductive, with effortless radiance, he elegantly musters the dazzling coloraturas. Definitely worth hearing and seeing are the two sisters/sorceresses as well as Kristina Bradic as Bradamante with her sensual mezzo. Special praise, however, goes to boy soprano Elias Mädler as Oberto. Mädler’s absolutely secure, thoughtful interpretation astonishes every listener.

An intelligent, musically captivating recording that has everything that comprises the magic of a Baroque opera like “Alcina.”




El arte de la fuga – Jaroussky y Stutzmann en Madrid

2016-10-26, El arte de la fuga, by Blanca Gutiérrez

BLANCA GUTIÉRREZ / Este fin de semana Philippe Jaroussky ha estado en el Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid cantando el ciclo de canciones Les Nuits d’été de Héctor Berlioz. En programa también la Ouberture du Roi d´Ys, de E. Lalo y las suites nº 1 y 2 de L´Arlesienne, de G. Bizet. Dirigió Nathalie Stutzmann a la Orquesta Nacional de España.

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Codalario – Crítica: Nathalie Stutzmann y Philippe Jaroussky con la Orquestra Nacional de España

2016-10-24, Codalario, Álvaro Menéndez Granda

Decíamos al comienzo de estas líneas que el contratenor supo convencer al público –que alabó su trabajo con prolongadas ovaciones– pero lamentamos de veras que, en esta ocasión, no llegara a lograrlo con nosotros. No obstante es no sólo respetable sino también admirable la actitud de un intérprete que sale de su repertorio habitual para probarse a sí mismo y conocer sus propios límites. La orquesta llevó a cabo su papel muy cuidadosamente aunque, en términos generales, la obra de Berlioz fue la menos redonda de las tres que componían el programa.

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2016-10-24 featured press

ABC Cultura – ABC Cultura – Philippe Jaroussky: «Un artista necesita arriesgar, hay que ser un poquito loco a veces»

2016-10-24, ABC Cultura, by Julio Bravo

El contratenor francés ha cantado junto a la ONE este fin de semana y presentará su nuevo disco el 12 de noviembre en el Auditorio Nacional.


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Música, arte y cultura – Emocionante concierto con Philippe Jaroussky y Nathalie Stutzmann …

2016-10-23, Música, arte y cultura, by Alicia Perris

“No está equivocado el programa de este concierto, aunque lo parezca. Nathalie Stutzmann dirige, aunque podría cantar «Les Nuits d’Ete». Y Philippe Jaroussky canta el ciclo de canciones de Berlioz aunque el compositor francés no las hubiera concebido para un contratenor. Surge de esta aparente confusión y promiscuidad un acontecimiento tan atractivo como coherente. Por la evidencia idiomática -Lalo, Berlioz, Bizet- y porque Stutzmann y Jaroussky han sobrepasado todas las convenciones de la carrera musical, incluso se han despojado de la especialidad del Barroco. […]

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Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook – “Je me prépare pour mes deuxième Nuits d’été de Berlioz …”

2016-10-22, Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook

“Je me prépare pour mes deuxième Nuits d’été de Berlioz avec l orquestre national de Madrid sous la direction de Nathalie Stutzmann … ” […]

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El País – “Para finalmente cantar bien debemos haber cantado antes mal”

2016-10-20, El País, by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla



[…] La evolución de su voz también se lo permite. “Hace 10 años no hubiese podido cantar este programa. Mi voz ha ensanchado tras un largo y concienzudo trabajo. Me llamaban de varios sitios para tentarme y empecé a decir que sí a cantar en salas donde la proyección de mi voz debía llegar con más potencia. Pero lo más difícil de esta aventura es que son 30 minutos de canto sin pausa. Una locura, pero de vez en cuando hay que animarse, ¿no?”. […]

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