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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

TOP 50 REVIEWERon 2 September 2015
Posing as an errant schoolboy on the cover gets the daring note of this album, the speed of Philippe Jaroussky's singing and the verve of every number. The arias are surprisingly varied, perhaps, if one is relatively new to Vivaldi's opera output as I am. They range from the highly virtuosic to the poignant, as in the first two tracks. The second has descending staccato chords in the strings against which the solo line weaves a cantilena beguiling indeed. The words are likewise sublime as a statement on the bliss of love. The emotions evoked throughout are succinct, often tragic, as the title 'Heroes' implies, but sometimes sounding quite jolly, almost, in spite of the difficulties the characters face. No doubt the conventions required this as putting on a brave face. In the middle of the disc there is a long aria from Andromeda liberata - almost ten minutes - with a poignant violin obbligato played by the conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi. You imagine him to be an angel from Botticelli, making such ethereal, exquisite sounds against the fuller vocal timbre. A later number, also outstanding and highlighted by the notes, sounds very Bachian in its harmonic richness (Perdona, o figlio amato, from Farnace). You realise that Vivaldi was a composer of surprising range, and the playing of the Ensemble Matheus brings out the angularity of line and rhythmic energy, often accompanied by a certain textural bareness. Two tracks have pizzicato accompaniment only, like landing on a feather pillow. In the others the precision and attack of the playing is remarkable, no doubt down in part to the inspired direction of Spinosi. However the biggest praise must go to Jaroussky: in fast passages his accuracy in runs seems to equal that of Marilyn Horne - the control is breathtaking. A number of photos show both men not only to look as good as the music sounds, but to engage in playful poses together that suggest the rapport that comes across in their musical collaboration.
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on 31 March 2008
Trail-blazing counter-tenors, like Andreas Scholl, David Daniels and Robin Blaze, have come to take their rightful place as artistes of equal interest and value to any jet-setting diva. This relative newcomer, Philippe Jaroussky, simply out-classes them all with this truly astonishing disc of Vivaldi rareties. Whether it's his total mastery of the virtuoso pyrotechnics of 'Fra Pocelle' or the almost painful, exquisite rendering of 'Sovente il sole' the sheer beauty of his tone, musical intelligence of his subtle interpretations and technical skill and control are simply beyond compare. He demonstrates an astonishing ease with the most challenging of baroque ornamentation but, unlike many divas, always at the service of the music. Ensemble Matheus and their conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi accompany in a way which also reaches new heights of musical achievement. This is an irresistible disc which is guaranteed to bring hours of endless pleasure.
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on 6 May 2011
This CD jostles for pole position with 'Carestini'. The lyrical genius of Vivaldi is overwhelming in arias 2,4,7,10 and 14 and allows Jaroussky to display his unsurpassable vocal faculty.Several arias exhibit his undoubted dramatic and theatrical skills. In the opening aria, composed for the alto castrato,Pacini, a very animated Jaroussky delivers a rapid and continuous coloratura. By abrupt changes in volume in aria 3 he conveys the emperor's irritation at having to leave his beloved for state business. His quivering oscillations in arias 5 and 6 communicate the hero's despair at having to relinquish his lover. The shipwreck and drowning of aria 8 is paralleled in Jaroussky' rising and falling phrases, urgent but not melodramatic. He is passionate and threatening revenge in Ossi's aria 11 and punctuates aria 13 (composed for the young castrato Minelli) with leaps of the lover's racing heart. But it his singing of the pianissimo sections of the lyrical arias that so entrances the listener. He sings aria 2 (composed for Ossi) with crystal clarity and the most sublime softness and delicacy. We hang suspended with the breeze (aria 4) as both voice and music float, transmitting the ecstasy and tender anticipation of the lover. The inner calm and sense of relief after Perseus's rescue of Andromeda (aria 7) is conveyed in a voice of such naturalness and simplicity that it enchants, with the lyrical violin embroidering around. Again, the somnolence of the voice lulls us to sleep with the bucolic hero (arias 9 and 10), preserving the reverie though the music is calling us to arms. Finally Jaroussky imparts the inconsolable cries of the king (aria 14)and his emotional disintegration without any histrionics. I was not expecting such beauty and tenderness from the scruffy sixth-former depicted on the cover.
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on 11 August 2010
The Jaroussky/Spinosi collaboration is simply divine to experience. This production is so perfect one would think it was studio enhanced but I'd have to say that Jaroussky sounds exactly like this live. There are not too many people in the world who can claim this; Josh Groban being one of that select number. It's no wonder he's one of the world's most celebrated Counter Tenors.

If you are unsure of taking your first steps into the beautiful world of Baroque music, Jaroussky and Spinosi are your most perfect hosts on that journey.

Now I look forward to hearing Jaroussky singing Handel.
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on 27 March 2010
I discovered Philippe Jaroussky a few months ago on the Vigin Classics collection ALTUS (from Castrato to Countertenor); maybe my most precious discovery of the last 40 years.

I doubt if I have been moved as much as by Jaroussky's singing of Vivaldi's Vedro con mio diletto from the opera Guistino, since hearing Janet Baker's When I am laid in Earth from the 1962 recording of Dido and Aeneas.

Jaroussky's singing on this recording is to me a twice in a life time's experience. A desert island disc so as to be able to hear what an angel (should there be any) sounds like.
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on 3 August 2011
Jaroussky and Spinosi are creating pure magic here. They are breathing together in full and complete understanding. The musicians are first class. And the singer is - Jaroussky. Not many singers today with that ease and drama in the voice.
This recording brings Vivaldi to life.
Most reviews focus on Jaroussky, but I would like to highlight the superb reading by Spinosi. Such an energy!
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on 16 March 2012
This is an excellent CD, wonderful music by a very talented musician. I highly recommend all his work, a joy to listen to.
Good seller, first-class service, I would buy again without hesitation.
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on 27 April 2015
Superb CD, this young man is costing me a fortune. There are so many unknown (to me) pieces which make a welcome change from the repetition found on various other singers CDs
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on 2 June 2010
One of the best counter tenors we currently have. This disc is a scintillating collection of show pieces.
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on 28 October 2015
Very early PJ. His voice is so sweet at this stage. For the true PJ fan this is a must have.
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