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Musical World

Philippe Jaroussky

  • Countertenor


Philippe Jaroussky enters new territory with this programme of French songs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries – well over a hundred years after the end of the Baroque era. Taking its name, Opium, from a song by Saint-Saëns, it evokes the voluptuous, sometimes decadent spirit of the Belle Époque, the era of transition between Romanticism and Modernism. The programme includes a number of rarities by composers such as Dukas, Caplet, and Chaminade, as well as better-known numbers by figures like Fauré, Chausson and Hahn.

 “Many people will probably wonder why a counter tenor should sing these songs,” says Jaroussky, “but if you think about it, the countertenor voice as such has no repertoire of its own, except the modern music written specifically for it. For the most part we sing music written for castratos who – as we know – had very different voices from ours. So why not venture into other musical worlds if we feel they are suited to our voices? ... There has been David Daniels in Schubert, Max Emmanuel Cencic in Rossini, and even Andreas Scholl and Gérard Lesne in pop music.