on 14 November 2007
Philippe Jaroussky truly has one of the finest countertenor voices around, and this is his first wander into some of the most tricky Baroque arias around. He tackles the most difficult, Handel's 'Scherza infida', with great expertise. I do wonder about some of the ornamentation he does the second time round, but his voice displays such a range of emotion it is still a fantastic recording. He takes on the Handel arias from Alcina very well, and reaches astronomical heights with what sounds like great ease in 'Sta nell'Ircana'. On the whole, a very well-judged performance, and a great showcase of his impressive range and coloratura. Emanuelle Haim and Le Concert d'Astree do very well, and generally the tempi are sound across the board
on 1 December 2007
To follow the career of the castrato Carestini across and around Europe is no simple task. But it leads us to very different composers in many different towns and he will now be a ghost that will be known - and hopefully challenge - Farinelli - nearly - known as the only Italian castrato of his time. The choice of arias and excerpts is far reaching in styles, genres and musical characteristics and qualities. These castratos well full-fledged artists who had to be flexible and astonishingly innovative to keep their audience suspended to their singing lips. They were the first case of a long sickness that makes the opera thrive, the primo uomo that has become the prima donna. In this case the alto who plays the role is a perfect choice, THE perfect choice. Jaroussky is a man indeed but he has retained a certain childish tone in his voice, particularly of course in the upper stratum of the range of his singing. Yet he is able to go down to the rock-bottom of this range and then those notes are deeply cavernous and they reveal the full manly essence of the singer. He also has retained his childish playfulness when he flies over the scales, up and down, turning and tumbling at times like a spinning top in his vocalized antics. And Philippe Jaroussky even manages to trap us into believing some particularly high notes are coming from... and we hesitate... a child or a woman? We cannot know. A droplet of crystal in the tiara of the concert.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
on 17 March 2011
I have capitulated. I have now bought all the CDs by Jaroussky and this one, I think, is my favourite. Not for Jaroussky the slow plodding of the cross-country skier (the fate of some great counter-tenors)but rather the tours en l'air of the fearless skate-boarder - usually, but on this CD he chooses to display the 'pure, clear and sublime' style of Carestini instead of the pyrotechnics of Farinelli who 'surprises more than he touches' according to a contemporary.These rivals came to vocal blows in Rome,1722-23, and in London,1734,when Carestini came to the rescue of Handel who had just been deserted by his favourite castrato, Senesino. We hear on this CD some of the exquisite arias Handel wrote for Carestini but which failed to detain him for more than a season. The interesting choice of composers (some unknown to me) gives Jaroussky the opportunity to beguile us with those delicate,velvety tones(arias 1, 11)and impress us with his wide vocal range, hitting the low notes robustly and strongly(arias 3,7,10,12).Jaroussky is at his most arresting in Capelli's aria in which he achieves the tenderest phrasing and a honeyed lilting effect.You catch yourself levitating and not breathing at the end of this. At moments in this and aria 4 it's hard to distinguish the voice from oboe. The 'purity of his (Carestini's) sound and perfect style of singing' is captured best by Jaroussky in his pure,unembellished ,yet affecting, singing of arias 6 and 8. There are plenty of arias with exuberant tempi where Philippe can dash from soft shades to brash sunlight(Gluck) but his delivery of the coloratura sections is restrained, in keeping with the vocal subtlety of Carestini.
...Philippe Jaroussky gets better and better, but then one goes back to this disc from 2007 and finds him just as astonishing a performer back then. I'm not going to go over the same ground as the many reviewers here, except to single out in particular Jaroussky's performance on this recording of "Scherza infida" as the most affecting and moving I have heard (indeed of any aria by any composer sung by any performer for that matter), aided by the sensitive accompaniment of Le Convert d'Astrée. Director Emanuelle Haim can be a bit self-indulgent with her arrangements but there's nothing out of place here. 'Nuff said.
on 2 November 2011
I could not recommend this cd more highly. Of course Phillipe Jaroussky's countertenor voice is wonderful, but the arias he sings on this cd - particularly those by Hasse, Gluck, and Handel - are sublime. The lengthy Hasse aria is extraordinarily beautiful, and (for me at least) a hugely exciting discovery. I hope you enjoy it as much as me!
on 13 July 2015
Bought this originally as a CD years ago; case fell apart from much use, as they do, but still I play the CD in the car as, with only a short trip to work, by the time I''ve plugged my iPod into the car's system and told it to play what I want and repeated it umpteen times because the track title is in Italian, I'm in the car-park and people are looking at me askance for apparently shouting at myself in Italian - life's too short. But on tablets, the download is fine. Philippe Jaroussky has astonishing technique, wonderful expression and clear enunciation - bravissimo!