The Fascination of Jaroussky

Philippe Jaroussky © Simon Fowler

To be acclaimed by critics around the world is gratifying. To be acclaimed by your peers is surely the ultimate compliment. French countertenor Phillipe Jaroussky, in Sydney for an exclusive series of concerts with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, received such an accolade from his fellow countertenor Andreas Scholl.

The pair was interviewed by Tom Service of The Guardian on the eve of a combined tour in 2010. Scholl said “There’s always this fascination about the countertenor voice. But I’ve never really understood what that is, because I’m doing it every day – it’s my voice. Yet when we sing, people cry and we get love letters. You get used to that.” Turning to Jaroussky, he continued: “But I experienced, for the first time, what other people feel when I heard your recording Opium. I got goosebumps. For the first time in my life….. I thought, ‘A-ha! This is why people are so fascinated by our voices.”

Sydney audiences have the opportunity to experience this fascination in a programme of Baroque music created by Artistic Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Paul Dyer, which combines some of the best of violin and countertenor repertoire.

Philippe Jaroussky’s musical companions include the elite Les Arts Florissants, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Le Concert ‘Astrée, L’Arpeggiata, and Europa Galante, and conductors like William Christie, Marc Minkowski, René Jacobs, and Fabio Biondi. He recently joined Cecilia Bartoli and Les Arts Florissants as Sesto for concert performances of Handel’s Giulio Cesare. He has won the highest of awards for his recordings, amongst them, a Diapason d’Or, a Choc from the Magazine Monde de la Musique, the Timbre de Platine from Opera International, and a Gramophone Award.

On this his third tour to Sydney, Jaroussky will perform a series of operatic showstoppers with the ABO, directed from the harpsichord by Paul Dyer. The arias are perfectly suited to his brilliant technique and timbre. They include those made famous by the great castrati Farinelli and Carestini, who created an unprecedented rivalry in 18th century London, singing for Handel and Porpora,  each with their own opera company. Giovanni Carestini (1705-1760), the contralto castrato, sang for Handel; Farinelli (1705-1782) the soprano castrato and the most admired of all the castrati, sang for Porpora, after Handel failed to secure his services. In a case of musical one-upmanship, Handel and Porpora wrote ever more virtuosic music to show off the talents of their singers.

Shaun Lee-Chen

On the instrumental side, the entire ensemble will perform the joyful Water Music Suite by Handel, and Brandenburg violinist, emerging virtuoso and winner of the 2007 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award, Shaun Lee-Chen features as soloist in Locatelli’s fiendishly virtuosic Violin Concerto in D major, which includes a spectacular unaccompanied capriccio.


Handel, G.F  Overture to Deborah HWV 51

                           Aria “Agitato da fiere tempest” from the pasticcio Oreste HWV A11, HG 48/102

                           Recitative “Oh patria” & aria “Sol ristoro di mortali” from Arianna in Creta HWV 32

                           Water Music Suite in D major HWV 349

Aria “Mi lusinga a dolce affetto” from Alcina HWV 34

Recitative and Aria “Ove son…..Qui ti sfido” from Arianna in Creta HWV 32

Porpora, N    Aria “Se pietoso il tuo labbro” from Semiramide riconosciuto

                         Aria “Mira in cielo” from Arianna a Nasso

                         Aria “Dall’amor più sventurato” from the pasticcio Orfeo

                          Aria “Alto giove” from Polifemo

Locatelli, P. A Violin Concerto Op. 3 No. 1 in D major

Bookings: City Recital Hall Angel Place (02) 8256 2222 or

Brandenburg (02) 9328 7581 or

Tickets range from $65 to $154 (Concessions/Under 30 available). Booking fees apply.




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