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T h e W i l l i a m T. K e m p e r I n t e r n a t i o n a l c h a m b e r M u s i c s e r i e s
Venice Baroque Orchestra
and Philippe Jaroussky
Friday, February 14
8 pm
Yardley Hall
Andrea Marcon, director
Overture from Germanico in Germania
“Mira in cielo” from Arianna e Teseo
“Si pietoso il tuo labbro” from Semiramide riconosciuta
Overture from L’Olimpiade
“Mi lusinga il dolce affetto” from Alcina
“Sta nell’ircana” from Alcina
HANDEL “Agitato da fiere tempest” from Oreste
“Scherza infida” from Ariodante
“La Tempesta, in tempo di Ciaccona”
“Alto Giove” from the autograph version of Polifemo
“Nell´attendere il mio bene” from Polifemo
This concert is co-presented byThe Friends of Chamber Music and the Performing Arts Series of JCCC
This concert is underwritten, in part, by the National Endowmnet for the Arts
The Early Music Series is underwritten, in part, by The Friends of Chamber Music Endowment Funds
The International Chamber Music Series is underwritten, in part, by the William T. Kemper Foundation
The Venice Baroque Orchestra is supported by Fondazione Cassamaraca in Treviso.
Phillipe Jarousky records exclusively for Virgin Classics.
Additional suport is also provided by:
the friends of chamber music | Live Performance. Be There.
program notes
This evening’s program focuses on a grand
operatic rivalry between German-born George
Frederic Handel and the Neapolitan composer
Nicola Porpora. The competition unfolded in
London in the 1730s, dominating the city’s
cultural life and involving Frederick, Prince of
Wales as a central figure.
Handel’s Italian operas were immensely
popular in England in the 1720s and 1730s.
(Only later did he focus on English language
sacred oratorios, most famously the Messiah.)
Initially, his Royal Academy of Music stage
productions were mounted at the King’s
Theatre in Haymarket.
In 1733, with the backing of the Prince
of Wales and other aristocrats, the Opera of
the Nobility was formed to challenge Handel.
Many of Handel’s singers from the Haymarket
Theatre – including the celebrated castrato
Senesino – defected to the new company,
which had invited the famous Italian master
Nicola Porpora to England as its music
director. The company opened in the 173334 season at the Lincoln’s Inns Fields Theater
with Porpora’s Arianna in Nasso. The following
season, they displaced Handel’s Royal Academy
from the Haymarket, and lured the famous
castrato Farinelli to London to sing for the
Opera of the Nobility. Handel was forced to
move his productions to the newly constructed
Covent Garden Theatre.
The two companies went head to head
against each other for three seasons, at which
point both were plagued by debt. Porpora
returned to Italy in 1736; Handel suffered a
physical breakdown in April 1737. By then,
Italian opera was waning in popularity with
London audiences, but the competition had
inspired Handel and Porpora to compose some
of their greatest music.
Dramatis personae: The Composers
Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) was an opera
composer and the foremost voice teacher of his
age. He was educated in his native Naples and
composed his first opera for the Neapolitan
royal theatre. The Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt,
stationed in Naples with the Austrian army,
Italy was the birthplace of opera. The genre flourished in all
major Italian cities and many minor urban centers. Naples
boasted a particularly rich, diverse, and influential opera culture
that derived in part from the city’s unique political history. From
the 16th through the 18th centuries, Naples was one of Europe’s
most important musical capitals.
Though we think of Naples as Italian, the city actually lost its
independence in 1503, becoming a vice-royalty of Spain.
During the two centuries of Spanish rule, Naples became a
natural meeting point for Italian and Spanish traditions. Science,
philosophy, and literature all flourished, but music most of all.
During that time, Naples also boasted the largest and most
important royal chapel in Europe. In an overwhelmingly Catholic
kingdom, that meant sacred music, which was essential to the
image of a royal court. The nobility wanted entertainment as well,
leading to a vibrant culture of opera. Members of the aristocracy
sang, played instruments, and learned to dance as part of their
general education.
In 1707, Naples came under Austrian rule, which lasted until
1734, when the city regained its independence. During the
Austrian decades and Naples’ initial years as an independent
kingdom, Neapolitan music blossomed as never before. The
Teatro San Carlo was part of a surge of new construction in the
late 1730s, rising up in an astounding 270 days in 1737.
The years between 1720 and 1750 were a period of great
prestige for Neapolitan composers, whose influence affected
opera throughout Italy. Francesco Durante, Nicola Porpora, Nicola
Logroscino, Leonardo Vinci, Leonardo Leo, Giovanni Battista
Pergolesi, and Niccolò Jommelli were all active during these
years. Though their names are known primarily to specialists
today, in their time, the music of these composers was performed
all over Europe.
Equally important was Naples’ dominance in the school of
Italian singing. The combination of a large number of gifted
composers, an influential approach to singing, and a bevy of
accomplished vocalists all helped elevate the city’s reputation
for operatic excellence. Between 1725 and 1740, Neapolitan
operas dominated the stage in Rome and Venice and flourished
throughout Europe. The most popular composers were Leo, Vinci
and Porpora.
This evening’s program is dominated by music of Porpora, a
Neapolitan native who traveled widely, and Handel, who spent
many years in Italy but settled permanently in England by about
1716. We also hear an overture by Leonardo Leo, who spent his
entire career in Naples, and a work by the later 18th-century
composer Domenico Cimarosa, a contemporary of Mozart who
studied in Naples and became a central figure in late 18thcentury comic opera.
– L.S. ©2013
38th season 2013-14
program notes
was an early patron. Between 1715 and 1721, Porpora
was Maestro di capella at the Conservatorio di San
Onofrio, where he gained a reputation as an excellent
singing teacher. His students included Farinelli,
Caffarelli, Salimbeni, Appiani, and Porporino, five of the
most famous castrati of the day.
George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) was born in
Halle and at the age of ten, demonstrated considerable
talent as an organist. He moved to Hamburg in 1703,
playing violin and harpsichord in the opera orchestra
while learning about the business of theatre. He
composed his first operas in Hamburg, then was invited
to Italy by Gian Gastone de’ Medici, Grand Duke of
Tuscany. Between 1706 and 1710, he worked in Florence
and Rome, mastering the Italian style.
After returning to Germany, Handel was appointed
Kapellmeister in the Electoral Court of Hannover. The
position allowed him considerable latitude for travel. He
was in England from 1710 to 1711 and again in 1712.
His music enjoyed enormous popularity there, and when
his German employer fell heir to the throne of England,
Handel’s career became anchored in the British Isles. He
was appointed music director of the new Royal Academy
of Music, an opera venture, in 1719 and remained there
until the company collapsed
in 1728.
Handel was then hired to produce operas at the
King’s Theatre. He soon faced competition from a
short-lived English Opera at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, then
from fledgling Opera of the Nobility. When that troupe
took over the Haymarket Theatre, Handel moved his
company to the new Covent Garden.
By the late 1730s, Italian opera was waning in
popularity with English audiences. Handel reinvented
himself, focusing on English language oratorios, the most
famous of which is the Messiah. He was blind in his last
Domenico Cimarosa
years, but continued playing organ until his death in
As his reputation grew, Porpora wrote for the Vienna 1759.
Leonardo Leo (1694-1744) was a Neapolitan
Hoftheater, then took a position in Venice in 1726.
composer of oratorio and opera who spent most of
In 1733 he traveled to London at the invitation of the
newly-formed Opera of the Nobility. Porpora wrote five career in service to the Neapolitan viceroy. He began as
an organist and held some church jobs early on. After
of his best operas for them, including Arianna in Nasso
and Polifemo. His London compositions include chamber Alessandro Scarlatti died in 1725, Leo was appointed
first organist in the viceregal chapel. He composed
cantatas and other instrumental pieces for the Prince
of Wales, who was a competent cellist. Porpora returned primarily opera seria, but he also experimented with
comic opera and intermezzi. He often supervised
to Venice in summer 1736, less than a year before
performances of his operas in Roman and Venetian
both London opera companies collapsed for lack of
theatres. The pinnacle of his career was the mid-1730s,
public support.
including the 1737 L’olimpiade.
Porpora spent his later career in Venice, Dresden
(where he was singing teacher to the Electoral Princess),
and Vienna. Haydn studied with him in 1752 and 1753,
also serving as his valet. The Italian composer spent his
last years back in his native Naples.
Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) was born in
Aversa, just outside Naples. He studied the organ,
singing, violin, harpsichord, and composition at the
Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto, producing his
the friends of chamber music | Live Performance. Be There.
program notes
first opera in Naples in 1772. He spent four years at
the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great from 1787 to
1791 as maestro di capella, but disliked the climate and
returned to western Europe, accepting a position in
the Viennese Imperial Court of Leopold II until 1794.
Cimarosa composed primarily opere buffa, several of
which were among the most popular in Europe.
The Librettists
Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782) was trained as a
notary in his native Rome. He traveled to Naples in
1719 and began writing poetry for music. He became
the greatest Italian poet of the 18th century, producing
27 opera seria libretti, each of which was set by dozens of
composers: more than 1000 operas in all. His career took
him to Rome, Venice, and eventually Vienna, where he
was appointed court poet. Writing in the 1780s, Stefano
Arteaga observed in his History of Opera:
No one better than [Metastasio] has known how to bend
the Italian language to the nature of music . . .
No one better than he has understood the needs of opera
in accommodating the lyrical style to drama.
Leonardo Leo adapted Metastasio’s libretto for
L’Olimpiade; Porpora set his Semiramide riconosciuta.
Paolo Antonio Rolli (1687-1765) was the son of a
Burgundian architect, who probably introduced him to
great French literature. He studied with Gian Vincenzo
Gravina, who also trained Metastasio, and had his first
plays produced in Rome by 1714. Within two years he
went to London to teach Italian and translate literary
works between the two languages. He forged an excellent
relationship with the Princess of Wales. When her
husband became King George II in 1727, she appointed
Rolli tutor to the royal children.
16th century, castrati had become the norm for soprano
and alto parts in sacred music. With the invention of
the new genres of opera and cantata, castrati were called
upon for secular music as well.
Properly trained, these singers achieved astonishing
levels of skill, in part because their training could begin
so many years earlier than training for female singers,
whose voices are not fully mature until their late 20’s
or early 30’s. Naples became an important center for
schooling singers, with four major conservatories. The
poverty of the area prompted many parents to forfeit
one of their sons to this practice in the hope of achieving
wealth and glory.
The best castrati enjoyed high social status and
immense prestige, especially in their youth. Their
androgynous appearance made them attractive to both
sexes, and their musicianship was unimpeachable.
Caffarelli (born Gaetano Majorano; 1710-1783)
was a student of Porpora in Naples who made his debut
in Rome in 1726. He took his stage name from his first
teacher, Caffaro. He sang in several major Italian cities
before accepting a position as chamber virtuoso to the
Grand Duke of Tuscany in Rome in 1730. From 1734,
he was based at the royal chapel in Naples, where he
continued to perform mezzo-soprano roles for another
twenty years. In his day, he was ranked as second only
to Farinelli; however, he had a reputation for arrogance
and a short temper that landed him under house arrest
or even in prison on several occasions. Porpora wrote the
role of Arminio, Prince of Germania in Germanico in
Germania for Caffarelli.
Giovanni Carestini (c.1704-c.1760) was from a
small town near Ancona, on Italy’s Adriatic coast. He
was under the protection of the Milanese Cusani family
after his castration and made his debut in Milan in
1719. During the 1720s he sang in Rome, Venice, and
Rolli remained in England until 1744, writing and
Munich; he was also at the Viennese court during the
revising libretti for dozens of operas. He was the librettist 1723-24 season. In 1733 he followed Handel to London,
for Porpora’s Arianna in Nasso and Polifemo.
appearing in five Handel operas during the next two
seasons, including Alcina and Ariodante. He was back in
Naples by 1735, and his career declined after 1740.
The Singers
Handel’s writing for Carestini took advantage of
The arias Mr. Jaroussky sings were all composed
for castrati. The 1730s was a golden age for this
phenomenon of music history. The rise of the castrato can
be attributed to the Catholic Church, which proscribed
women’s voices in church from about the 4th century
AD. Initially boys and falsetti sang high parts. By the late
the singer’s astonishing two-octave range. He was
apparently an excellent actor, and was considered
handsome by contemporaries.
Farinelli (born Carlo Broschi; 1705-1782) was the
most celebrated of the castrati, and is one of the most
famous singers of all time. He appeared in more than
38th season 2013-14
program notes
60 operas over the course of 17 active years on the stage.
Farinelli began study with his father in his native Apulia,
the studied privately with Porpora in Naples, making
his debut in Porpora’s Angelica in 1720. He soon made
triumphal appearances in virtually every important
musical center in Italy, as well as in Vienna and Munich.
He made his debut in Venice in the 1707-08 season,
soon appearing in Genoa, Rome, Reggio, Brescia, and
Naples. By 1717 his reputation had spread beyond
Italy and he took a position in Dresden, but soon made
enemies there because of his prickly personality and
volatile behavior in rehearsals. Handel heard Senesino
in Dresden and invited him to London, where Senesino
created the title role of Giulio Cesare and sang in more
than a dozen other Handel operas.
Composer and castrato had a falling-out in 1733,
prompting Senesino to defect to the newly-formed
Opera of the Nobility. There he appeared in five operas
by Porpora and a couple by other composers. In the late
1730s he returned to Florence and Naples, where his last
documented performance took place in 1740.
Senesino did not have an especially wide range, but
he was renowned for his coloratura technique in heroic
arias, his declamation in recitative, and his expressivity in
slower passages.
Overture from Germanico in Germania
Nicola Porpora
Farinelli, by Wagner after Amigoni 1735
Porpora brought Farinelli to London in 1734 as
the flagship star for the newly-formed Opera of the
Nobility. After that troupe failed in 1737, Farinelli left
for Paris, then received an extraordinary summons from
the Spanish royal court. He sang exclusively for the ailing
Spanish monarch Philip V and his successor, Ferdinand
VI, until Charles III ascended the throne in 1759 and
dismissed him. Farinelli retired to Bologna, where his
distinguished visitors included Padre Martini, the boy
Wolfang Mozart, Casanova, and the Austrian Emperor
Joseph II.
Senesino (born Francesco Bernardi; c.1686-1759)
took his stage name from his home town of Siena. He
was as renowned for arrogance as for his vocal prowess.
Germanico in Germania is a two-act opera seria
first produced in Rome in February 1732 at the Teatro
Capranica. The libretto is by Niccolò Coluzzi (fl.1730s),
an obscure figure who was also active in Turin; he is
best known for this libretto. As its title implies, the
plot concerns Germanicus’s adventures in the northern
outposts of the Roman Empire. The convoluted plot
deals with love, patriotism, betrayal, and military conflict
between the Romans the the Germans.
“Mira in cielo” from Arianna e Teseo
“Si pietoso il tuo labbro”
from Semiramide riconosciuta
Nicola Porpora
These arias come from two of Porpora’s most popular
works. By 1711, Porpora had become maestro di cappella
under the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt at Naples, and
two years later, following the departure of the Prince,
became the maestro di cappella for the Portuguese
ambassador. In 1714, he received a Viennese Court
commission for his opera Arianna e Teseo. At Court
during this same time, was the young librettist, Pietro
Pariati, just beginning the first years of his appointment
the friends of chamber music | Live Performance. Be There.
program notes
in Vienna. Pariati was to write the libretto for Arianna e
Teseo. He added new subplots and two new characters,
the lovers Alceste and Laodice, to the Greek story.
1737. L’Olimpiade was only the second production in
the theatre, which is still standing and is one of the city’s
Baroque glories.
The story unfolds on the island of Crete where
several young Athenian men and maidens await ritual
sacrifice to the fearsome Minotaur who dwells in the
labyrinth. Among the Athenians is Arianna, the daughter
of Minos (Minosse), King of Crete, who was abducted as
a child by King Aegeus. Also in the group is the disguised
Prince Teseo, son of Aegeus. Teseo is determined to kill
the Minotaur in order to save Arianna’s friend Laodice,
whom Arianna believes that Teseo loves. In spite of
her doubts, she whispers to Teseo a secret plan to kill
the Minotaur. The work ends with Teseo’s victory and
reconciliation with Arianna. Porpora would compose the
second half of Arianna’s story, Arianna in Naxos in 1733
and debut it at the Opera of Nobility in England.
The opera takes its title from the Olympic Games
that take place in the ancient city of Sicyon. The
principal characters are lovers, rulers, and competitors,
some in disguise. They interact through the plot devices
of deception, banishment, rescue, and attempted
assassination. Virtue triumphs, and the strong women at
the center of the story are successful in being united with
their lovers. A revival of L’Olimpiade in the
1742-43 season included chorus for the first time in a
Neapolitan opera.
Semiramide riconosciuta (‘Semiramis Recognized’) is
earlier. Porpora wrote it for the Venetian Teatro di San
Giovanni Grisostomo for performance during Carnival
season 1729. His was only the second setting of this
Metastasio libretto; Leonardo Vinci’s Roman production
was the first, also in early 1729. The title character is an
Egyptian princess who elopes with an Indian prince and
survives an attempt on her life and false accusations of
infidelity. When Semiramide riconosciuta begins, she is
disguised as Nino, the ruler of Assyria. Both her Indian
husband and her brother, the Egyptian prince Mirteo,
believe her dead.
Semiramis dramas were popular in Spain and France
throughout the 17th and 18th centuries; Rossini’s
Semiramide attests to the topic’s ongoing appeal into
the 19th century. Metastasio’s libretto was set by some
30 composers between 1729 and 1819. The cast for
Porpora’s 1729 production featured Farinelli in the role
of Mirteo.
Overture from L’Olimpiade
Leonardo Leo
Metastasio’s libretto for L’Olimpiade was one of his
most popular. First set by Antonio Caldara in Vienne
in 1733, it was subsequently inspiration for dozens
of composers including Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,
Baldassare Galuppi, and Niccolò Jommelli. Leonardo
Leo’s version is among the finest. The premiere took
place in Naples’ new Teatro San Carlo on December 19,
A castrato (Italian, plural: castrati) is a type of
classical male singing voice equivalent to that of a
soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto. The voice is
produced by castration of the singer before puberty,
or it occurs in one who, due to an endocrinological
condition, never reaches sexual maturity.
Castration before puberty (or in its early stages)
prevents a boy’s larynx from being transformed
by the normal physiological events of puberty.
As a result, the vocal range of prepubescence
(shared by both sexes) is largely retained, and
the voice develops into adulthood in a unique way.
Prepubescent castration for this purpose diminished
greatly in the late 18th century and was made illegal
in Italy in 1870.
As the castrato’s body grew, his lack of testosterone
meant that his epiphyses (bone-joints) did not harden
in the normal manner. Thus the limbs of the castrati
often grew unusually long, as did the bones of their
ribs. This, combined with intensive training, gave
them unrivalled lung-power and breath capacity.
Operating through small, child-sized vocal cords,
their voices were also extraordinarily flexible, and
quite different from the equivalent adult female
voice. Their vocal range was higher than that of the
uncastrated adult male.
Visit Youtube to hear Alessandro Moreschi, a castrati,
who was First Soprano of the Sistine Chapel Choir
for 30 years. This was recorded between 1902 and
1904 when Moreschi was around 50 years old.
38th season 2013-14
program notes
“Mi lusinga il dolce affetto” from Alcina
“Sta nell’Ircana” from Alcina
George Frederick Handel
Alcina was presented at the newly-constructed
Covent Garden Theatre on April 16, 1735; it was the
last opera in the 1734-35 season. The anonymous
libretto was based on two cantos from Orlando furioso
(1516) the masterpiece of the 16th century Italian
poet Ludovico Ariosto about adventures of paladins in
Charlemagne’s court.
The opera deals with a sorceress, Alcina, who lures
brave men to her island, seducing them before she
transforms them into boulders, trees, streams, or wild
animals. Her latest captive is the knight Ruggiero, who
has not yet been transformed. Ruggiero is besotted with
the sultry Alcina. Living in sin with her, he has forgotten
his betrothal to Bradamante, who has pursued him to
the island, disguised as a youth. Eventually Ruggiero
succeeds in destroying Alcina’s magic powers. All the
enchanted heroes are restored to their human form and
Ruggiero is reunited with Bradamante.
This type of magical opera provided opportunities for
elaborate staging and special effects that were immensely
popular with Handel’s audiences. The two numbers that
Mr. Jaroussky sings are both da capo arias, but could
not be farther apart in character; one is leisurely and
introspective, the other bold and aggressive. In “Mi
lusinga il dolce affetto,” Ruggiero has been freed from
the enchantment and his affections are restored to his
fiancée, but he fears that Alcina may have disguised
herself as Bradamante in order to further deceive him.
The melodic line stresses expressivity and lyricism.
Handel wrote the part of Ruggiero for Carestini,
taking full advantage of the castrato’s technical skill in
coloratura arias like “Sta nell’Ircana.” In this virtuosic
number, Ruggiero resumes his heroic stance, with rapid
runs and trills in the Neapolitan style.
“Agitato da fiere tempeste” from Oreste
“Scherza infida” from Ariodante
George Frederick Handel
Both Oreste and Ariodante date from 1735, after
Handel’s troupe had moved to the Covent Garden
theatre. Oreste is a pasticcio – a hodgepodge compiled
from different sources and adapted to an existing libretto.
In this case the poetic source was adapted from a 1723
libretto by Giovanni Gualberto Barlocci based on
Euripides’s drama Iphigenia in Tauris. Handel drew on
nine of his earlier operas for the arias, as well as ballet
music from two other operas. “Agitato da fiere tempeste”
is a dazzling bravura aria with even more extended
passage work than the one that closed the first half.
“Scherza infida” is more a scena than an aria: an
extended movement of nearly ten minutes. It comes
from Ariodante, which premiered at Covent Garden on
8 January 1735; the anonymous libretto is adapted from
a 1708 text that in turn derives from Ariosto’s Orlando
furioso. In the aria, the title character, a vassal prince,
expresses his despair upon learning that his intended
bride apparently loves another. The aria is noteworthy
for Handel’s remarkable orchestration, with bassoon
obbligato, muted violins, and pizzicato bass.
La tempesta, in tempo di Ciaccona
Domenico Cimarosa
Cimarosa’s La tempesta is the sole representative
from the second half of the 18th century on this
program. He tapped into two favorite sub-genres: the
storm movement and the Baroque chaconne, a series of
sequential variations, generally in slow triple meter, on a
repeating ground bass. Their combination in one piece
makes this music unique.
“Alto Giove” from Polifemo
“Nell’attendere il mio bene” from Polifemo
Nicola Porpora
In ancient Greek mythology, Polyphemus was the
Cyclops who imprisoned Odysseus and his men in a
cave, systematically devouring them until the surviving
men succeeded in blinding him while he was passed out
from drink. Before his demise, Polyphemus loved the seanymph Galatea, and wooed her with little finesse – and
no success. The tale was popular with pastoral writers
in Greece and Baroque authors, including Porpora’s
librettist Rolli. Porpora’s three-act opera seria was the
first of his operas to be produced after the Theatre of the
Nobility took over the Kings Theatre, having successfully
displaced Handel.
the friends of chamber music | Live Performance. Be There.
Program Notes by Laurie Shulman ©2013
program notes
Venice Baroque Orchestra
ounded in 1997 by Baroque scholar and harpsichordist
Andrea Marcon, Venice Baroque Orchestra is recognized
as one of the premier ensembles devoted to period
instrument performance.
Committed to the rediscovery of 17th and 18th-century
masterpieces, VBO has given the modern-day premieres of
Francesco Cavalli’s L’Orione, Vivaldi’s Atenaide and Andromeda
liberata, Benedetto Marcello’s La morte d’Adone and Il trionfo
della poesia e della musica, and Boccherini’s La Clementina.
With Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Orchestra has staged
Cimarosa’s L’Olimpiade, Handel’s Siroe, and Galuppi’s
L’Olimpiade, and reprised Siroe at the Brooklyn Academy of
Music in New York in its first full staging in the United States.
The Orchestra’s recent disc for Naïve, a pasticcio of
Metastasio’s L’Olimpiade featuring the recording premieres
of many 18th-century opera arias, was released in 2012
and awarded Choc du Monde de la Musique. The VBO
has an extensive discography with Sony and Deutsche
Grammophon. The Orchestra has been honored with the
Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Echo Award
and the Edison Award.
In addition to frequent radio broadcast of their concerts,
the Orchestra has been seen worldwide through several
television specials, including films by the BBC, ARTE, NTR
(Netherlands), and NHK. They have been the subject of three
recent video recordings, in Romania, Croatia and Lisbon.
Their performances will also be featured on Swiss TV in an
upcoming documentary on Vivaldi.
The Venice Baroque Orchestra is supported by Fondazione
Cassamarca in Treviso and can be heard on Deutsche
Grammophon, Sony Classical, Naïve and Virgin Classics
The Venice Baroque appears courtesy of Alliance Artist Management
For more information visit
Philippe Jaroussky
hilippe Jaroussky is arguably the most prominent French
countertenor today. His main focus is on early music, with a
preference for the works of Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel, and
many lesser-known 17th and 18th century composers. He is
noted for a virtuosic technique of melisma, and for compelling
and enlivened interpretations of baroque cantatas and opera.
This has contributed to his unusual revival of repertoire.
Jaroussky was born in Maisons Lafitte, France, on January 13,
1978. He first studied violin, and later piano. He enrolled at
the Paris Conservatory, where he graduated with a diploma in
violin performance from the Ancient Music department there.
In 1996 he began vocal studies with soprano Nicole Fallien and
three years later debuted at the music festivals in Royaumont
and Ambronay, where he sang in the Alessandro Scarlatti
oratorio Sedecia, rè di Gerusalemme. A critically acclaimed
recording derived from these performances was released shortly
afterward on Virgin Classics.
The following year, he appeared in the Monteverdi operatic
trilogy Orfeo, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse and Incoronazione di Poppea
under conductor Jean-Claude Malgoire. In 2001 Jaroussky’s
schedule swelled with major appearances all over France and
abroad: he sang Arbace in Vivaldi’s opera Catone in Utica and
also appeared in performances of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.
Jaroussky’s meteoric rise continued with his critically praised
portrayal of Nero in Handel’s Agrippina at the Théâtre des
Champs Elysées in Paris in 2003.
Mr Jaroussky has formed his own ensemble called Artaserse,
and also often performs with the Ensemble Matheus under
Jean-Christophe Spinosi and with L’Arpeggiata under Christina
Pluhar. He has made several recordings with Artaserse.
Philippe Jaroussky’s first recital disc with works by Benedetto
Ferrari received outstanding critical acclaim, winning Diapason
Découverte, Recommandé de Repertoire, Timbre de Platine
d’Opéra International, Prix de l’Academie Charles Cros, Grand
Prix du Syndicat de la Critique, etc. Mr. Jaroussky now records
exclusively for Virgin Classics.
Mr. Jaroussky appears courtesy of Alliance Artists Management
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38th season 2013-14
t e xt s a n d t r a n s l at i on s
“Mira in cielo” from Arianna e Teseo
Pietro Pariati, librettist
Mira in cielo; a Giove impera.
vedi in mar; comanda all’ onde,
turba il cielo, il mar confonde,
Pluto cede, e Stige nera
pur paventa il suo poter.
È fanciullo, e tutto affalle,
cieco impiaga, e tutti atterra;
scherza, alletta, e poi fa guerra
colla face, collo strale,
ed è legge il suo voler.
“Mira in cielo” from Arianna e Teseo
Pietro Pariati, librettist
Look up to heaven, Love gives orders to Jove,
consider the sea, Love commands the waves,
he shakes the heavens, agitates the sea,
Pluto yields and even the black Styx
fears his power,
Although he is a child, he orders everything,
he blindly wounds and brings down everyone;
he jokes and entices, then makes war
with his torch and his arrows,
and his will imposes his laws.
“Si pietoso il tuo labro” from Semiramide Riconosciuto
Pietro Metastasio, librettist
Si pietoso il tuo labbro ragiona
che quesť alma non teme che finga;
s’ abbandona alla dolce lusinga
e contenti sognando si và.
Care pene, felici martiri,
se mostrasse ĺ ingrata Tamiri
qualche parte di questa pietà.
“Si pietoso il tuo labro” from Semiramide Riconosciuto
Pietro Metastasio, librettist
Since you speak so sympathetically,
my heart fears no deception;
it abandons itself to sweet blandishment
and continues happily dreaming.
Dear pains, happy torments,
if only the ungrateful Tamiri would show
some part of this pity.
“Mi lusinga il dolce affetto” from Alcina
Riccardo Broschi, librettist
Mi lusinga il dolce affetto
con l’aspetto
del mio bene.
pur chi sa? Temer conviene
che m’inganni
amando ancor.
Ma se quella fosse mai
che adorai
e l’abbandono,
infedele, ingrato io sono,
son crudele e traditor.
“Mi lusinga il dolce affetto” from Alcina
Riccardo Broschi, librettist
Sweet passion tempts me
at the appearance
of my beloved.
But who knows? I fear that
by loving once more,
I deceive myself.
But if it ever should come to pass
that I adore
and yet abandon her,
unfaithful, ungrateful am I,
I am cruel and and a traitor
“Sta nell’ircana” from Alcina
Riccardo Broschi, librettist
Sta nell’ircana
pietroso tana
Tigre sdegnosa,
e incerta pende
Se parte, o attende
il cacciator.
“Sta nell’ircana” from Alcina
Riccardo Broschi, librettist
In her stony
Caspian lair
The fierce tiger
stands, unsure
whether to flee,
or await the hunter.
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t e xt s a n d t r a n s l at i on s
Dal teso strale
guardar si vuole
Ma poi la prole
lascia in periglio.
Freme e l’assale,
desio di sangue
Pieta del figlio
poi vince amor.
She wants to defend
herself from his arrow,
But that would leave
her offspring in danger.
She trembles, and struggles
between her taste for blood
and her duty to her young;
then love prevails
“Agitato da fiere tempeste” from Oreste
libretto adapeted anonymously from
Giangulberto Barclocci’s L’Oreste
Agitato da fiere tempeste,
se il nocchiero rivede sua stella
tutto lieto e sicuro se n’va.
Io ancor spero tra l´ire funeste
dar la calma a quest´alma rubella,
che placata, poi lieta sará.
“Agitato da fiere tempeste” from Oreste
libretto adapeted anonymously from
Giangulberto Barclocci’s L’Oreste
Shaken by ferocious storms,
if the sailor sees his star again,
he sails on happy and safe.
I hope, even amidst deadly wrath,
to calm this rebellious heart,
which, appeased, shall then be happy.
“Scherza infida” from Ariodante
libretto adopted anonymously from a work
by Antonio Salvi
Scherza infida in grembo al drudo,
io tradito a morte in braccio
per tua colpa ora men vò.
Ma a spezzar l’indegno laccio,
ombra mesta, e spirto ignudo,
per tua pena io tornerò.
“Scherza infida” from Ariodante
libretto adopted anonymously from a work
by Antonio Salvi
Mock me, faithless one, in your lover’s arms.
Betrayed by you, I lie
in the arms of death.
But to break these unworthy bonds,
for your sentence I shall return,
a sad ghost and a naked spirit.
“Alto Giove” from Ifigenia in Aulide
Paolo Antonio Rolli, librettist
Alto Giove, è tua grazia, è tuo vanto
il gran dono di vita immortale
che il tuo cenno sovrano mi fa.
Ma il rendermi poi quella
già sospirata tanto
diva amorosa e bella
è un dono senza uguale, come la tua beltà.
“Alto Giove” from Ifigenia in Aulide
Paolo Antonio Rolli, librettist
Mighty Jove, the great gift of immortal life
that your sovereign command granted me
is your blessing and your glory.
But to give me
that beautiful, loving goddess
I so sighed for
is a gift beyond compare, as is your magnificence
“Nell’attendere il mio bene” from Ifigenia in Aulide
Paolo Antonio Rolli, librettist
Nell’ attendere il mio bene
mille gioie intorno all’ alma,
sul momento ch’ ella viene,
la speranza porterà.
Rammentarti sol vog’ io
che il mio cor, se torni o parti,
teco va, bell’ idol mio,
e con te ritornerà.
“Nell’attendere il mio bene” from Ifigenia in Aulide
Paolo Antonio Rolli, librettist
While I await my beloved,
hope promises
a thousand joys for my soul
at the moment of her arrival.
Only remember this:
that whether you leave or return
my heart goes with you, fair treasure,
and comes back with you.
38th season 2013-14