La Storia di Orfeo: Philippe Jaroussky
With Philippe Jaroussky’s new album, Storia di Orfeo, the French countertenor realises a long-held dream: to portray the mythic Orpheus – divine musician who ventures into the underworld to retrieve his beloved wife Eurydice from the clutches of death – in his many guises, an inspiration for the very first opera and beyond.
“This project, which was inspired by three key 17th-century operas, was conceived as a kind of opera in miniature or as a cantata for two solo voices and chorus, and features just two characters: Orpheus and Eurydice,” explains Jaroussky. “The three operas focus on different aspects of the story: Sartorio and Rossi depict the happiness of the young lovers and the scene in which Eurydice is bitten by the snake; Monteverdi, on the other hand, concentrates more on Orpheus’ search for Eurydice in the underworld, and the highpoint of his work is an aria that has remained without parallel in the history of opera: the magical ‘Possente spirto’, which I have the temerity to perform here as a countertenor, for the first time on record.”
He is joined by sublime soprano Emőke Baráth and period-instrument ensemble par excellence I Barocchisti with Diego Fasolis at the helm. A journey to the beginnings of opera, to the Italian Baroque, to the underworld and back.