Philippe Jaroussky and Les Violons du Roy

jarousskyLast night Philippe Jaroussky appeared with Les Violins du Roy and conductor Matthieu Lussier in a mostly Handel program at Koerner Hall.  It was a very good evening.  Les Violons du Roy is a pretty small band; less than twenty including continuo, but they manage to produce quite a big sound while remaining elegant and flexible in a thoroughly idiomatic baroque way.  The instrumental component consisted of a Handel overture, Fux’ Ouverture in D minor and Johann Gottlieb Graun’s (not the better known Carl Graun who was apparently his brother) Symphony in B Flat Major.  It was a pretty good sampling of what one might have heard in the courts of Germany in the early 1700s and rather enjoyable.

The singing was all Handel, all Italian and mostly from lesser known works like Radamisto and Flavio, re di Longobardi.  Jaroussky has an interesting voice.  It’s extremely accurate and flexible and rather beautiful but it doesn’t quite have the heft of, say, Andreas Scholl.  It’s easy to see why he tends to get cast as adolescents rather than emperors; more Sesto than Giulio Cesare.  Still, he’s not close to still just about under forty yet so who knows how things might develop.  He’s certainly a fine stylist.  The repeat in Se potessero i sospir’miei(*) from Imoneo was quite subtle but very interesting and Inumano fratei… Stille amare from Tolomeo was sung with the greatest delicacy.  It was all very classy indeed and really quite fun.

It was a generous evening too.  Jaroussky gave us three encores finishing up with a ravishingly beautiful Ombra mai fu.

(*)This is the one that sounds for about the first couple of bars as if it’s going to be AS with rosy steps the morn from Theodora.

3 thoughts on “Philippe Jaroussky and Les Violons du Roy

  1. Jaroussky is young, but already a legend. Adored in Europe, he has fans pretty much around the world. The admirers of his talent travel from other cities, countries and even across the ocean in order to listen to him in live concerts and opera production. His timbre is unique and immediately recognizable, his ability to convey emotions is profound. If you happen to listen to his interviews, he often speaks about the limitations of his voice, what he can and cannot do. He is an artist of great intelligence, and he possesses a good knowledge or baroque era practices and refined taste.

  2. Jaroussky is pretty much unrivalled as far as having an international mega fan base is concerned, and he is still ‘young’ when applying the concept to a career singer. Friendly fact check though: I’m not sure in what way 39 is ‘not close to forty yet’ – though I suppose singers have been known to remain 39 for decades! 😉

    • Thanks for the fact check. Everybody under 40 looks young to me these days! I can certainly see the appeal of Jaroussky though I think I prefer a bigger, firmer sound for the truly “heroic” castrato roles. Have to be careful in that territory. The mezzo mafia has spies everywhere!

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