[ Erato Classics / CD ]
Release Date: Friday 8 November 2019
Facce d'amore, 'Faces of love' follows Jakub Józef Orliński's first solo album, Anima Sacra, which moved Gramophone magazine to announce that "This is a voice with a big future." It brings a switch from the sacred to the personal and passionate. As the Polish-born, New York-trained countertenor says, the programme - which includes eight world premiere recordings - comprises "operatic arias that tell a story, showing a musical picture of a male lover in the baroque era - not only the positive side, like joyful or reciprocated love, but also anger or even madness." Spanning some 85 years of the baroque period, the arias on Facce d'amore are by Handel, Cavalli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Bononcini, Conti, Hasse, Orlandini, Predieri and Matteis. Orliński is again partnered by the instrumentalists of Il Pomo d'Oro and their Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev.
Facce d'amore, 'Faces of love', is the second solo album from countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński. It follows Anima Sacra, released in 2018, an Erato debut which moved Gramophone magazine to announce that "This is a voice with a big future," and The Sunday Times, having extolled the "the unearthly beauty of Orliński's tone, his pearly coloratura and fabulous breath control," to say, "He's only 28, but this is a special voice to look out for."
The new album brings a switch from the sacred to the personal and passionate. As the Polish-born, New York-trained singer explains: "On Anima Sacra I wanted to take listeners on a spiritual journey through an entire programme based on sacred music of the 18th century. The idea behind Facce d'amore is a bit different."
The programme - which includes an impressive eight world premiere recordings - comprises "operatic arias that tell a story, showing a musical picture of a male lover in the baroque era. They focus on totally different aspects of love - not only the positive side, like joyful or reciprocated love, but also the side where the characters are possessed by anger or even madness."
The album, which spans some 85 years of the baroque period, includes arias by major figures like Handel, Cavalli and Alessandro Scarlatti, by composers whose names have regained currency over recent decades, like Bononcini, Conti and Hasse (who wrote the virtuosic 'Sempre a si vaghi rai' - one of the album's world premieres - for the legendary castrato Farinelli), and by relatively obscure names like Orlandini, Predieri and Matteis. As for Anima Sacra, the bass-baritone Yannis François advised on the conception and compilation of the programme for Facce d'amore, while Orliński's performance partners are again the instrumentalists of Il Pomo d'Oro and their Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev.
A great deal has happened in Jakub Józef Orliński's career since the release of Anima Sacra, which has taken his name around the world. The New Yorker magazine has summed him up with the headline "A millennial countertenor's pop-star appeal", while his assumption of the title role in Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in August 2019 led the Financial Times to write that: "Jakub Józef Orliński is the new countertenor on the block. In the short time that he was been singing at the top level he has matured at speed and his Rinaldo is the number one reason for catching this run of performances."
"A wide-ranging and well-chosen collection devoted to the many faces of love… it reveals Orliński as an exceptional talent who is more than a poster boy with a ravishing voice… Orliński's talents as a dramatic singer are at their most potent in the accompanied recitative and aria 'Ah! stigie larve … Vaghe pupille'; here, aided by splendidly committed direction and playing, Orliński achieves spine-tingling intensity and passion." Opera
"It's music by Luca Antonio Predieri (a nearcontemporary of Handel's) that really hits the mark. Predieri's gentle lyricism and clean lines suit Orliński's soft-grained voice well. He's no convincing bad boy...but this supple and sweet-toned instrument has plenty to bring elsewhere...Il Pomo d'Oro offer all their usual technicolour support and showmanship." Gramophone
Cavalli: La Calisto, Act 2: "Erme e solinghe cime ... Lucidissima face" (Endimione)
Boretti: Eliogabalo, Act 3: "Chi scherza con Amor" (Eliogabalo)
Boretti: Claudio Cesare, Act 2 - Sinfonia / "Crudo amor, non hai pietà" (Claudio)
Bononcini, G B: La Nemica d'Amore fatta amante, Pt. 1: Sinfonia
Bononcini, G B: La costanza non gradita nel doppio amore d'Aminta: "Infelice mia costanza" (Aminta)
Scarlatti, A: Scarlatti, A: Il Pirro e Demetrio, Act 2: "Fra gl'assalti di Cupido" (Pirro)
Handel: Agrippina, HWV 6, Act 2 - "Otton qual portentoso fulmine" (Ottone) / "Voi che udite" (Ottone)
Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, Johann Mattheson: Orlandini / Mattheson: Nerone, Act 1: "Che m'ami ti prega" (Nerone)
Handel: Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11, Act 2: "Pena tiranna" (Dardano)
Handel: Muzio Scevola, HWV 13, Act 3: "Spera, che tra le care gioie" (Muzio)
Handel: Orlando, HWV 31, Act 2: "Ah stigie larve! ... Vaghe pupille" (Orlando)
Predieri: Scipione il giovane, Act 3: "Dovrian quest'occhi piangere" (Scipione)
Nicola Matteis: Ballo dei Bagatellieri
Conti, F: Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena, Act 4: "Odio, vendetta, amore" (Fernando)
Predieri: Scipione il giovane, Act 1: "Finche salvo è l'amor suo" (Scipione)
Hasse, J A: Orfeo: "Sempre a si vaghi rai" (Orfeo)