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High-Level Singing: French Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky

Most professional singers of any success sing at a high-level of performance. The voice of a countertenor demands even higher levels of performance, if only because his register is so high.  

Then there's Philippe Jaroussky. The highs he hits are a triple-play: an angelic castrato-like voice, a high-level of performance, and quite a few awards to complement the package.

At 36, Jaroussky's success is all-encompassing, having already established himself as one of the major singers in the international music world. He's won the Victoires de la Musique Classique (France's version of the Grammy awards) in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and was nominated again in 2013.  He also has Gramophone award to his name, and the list goes on.


Not surprisingly, it is in the music of the Baroque era, when the castrato reigned, that Jaroussky has captured the attention of worldwide devotees. Bach, Rossi, Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Handel and others have been his musical stomping grounds over the years, having performed with Baroque orchestras such as Ensemble Matheus, Les Arts florissants, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and with conductors like William Christie, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, René Jacobs, Jérémie Rhorer, Emmanuelle Haïm, and Fabio Biondi.

On this week's program, Jill speaks with Philippe about his career thus far, and plays selections from his Erato/Warner Brothers CD, Porpora Arias,arias written for the legendary Farinelli by Nicola Popora. He's joined by the Venice Baroque Orchestra on the disc, led by Andrea Marcon.  And on two of the arias, he welcomes mezzo Cecilia Bartoli as duet partner. We dare you to try to tell the difference between the two as they're singing. We had a hard time ourselves!  But the result is entrancingly beautiful.

Crossover, Saturday morning at 11:30 on WRTI-FM, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 pm on WRTI-HD2. Both airings can be heard on the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.

It's his parents' fault. For Joe's sixth birthday, they gave him a transistor radio. All of a sudden, their dreams of having a doctor or lawyer (or even a fry cook) in the family went down the tubes.