Michael Spyres - BariTenor

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Michael Spyres - BariTenor
Michael Spyres (baritone/tenor) / Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg, Marko Letonja, Choeur d'hommes de l'Opéra national du Rhine

[ Erato Classics / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 1 October 2021

An album with a mission to defy classification, BariTenor is a tour de force for Michael Spyres. It ranges wide, encompassing repertoire normally assigned to both tenors and baritones. Programming 18 arias by 15 composers, it covers three centuries of opera in Italian, French and German, setting mainstream works beside relative rarities, and rediscovering Étienne Méhul's Ariodant, first heard in 1799.

Michael Spyres has achieved renown as a multi-faceted tenor, but 'baritenor' is the term he uses to describe his voice, which balances brilliant high notes with a robust lower register.

"Having started off as a baritone, I spent 10 years turning myself into a tenor. Voices like mine have existed as long as opera has existed, and the entire programme of this album is linked by the baritenor technique. I am making an honest attempt to explore the baritenor as a forgotten vocal phenomenon ... For me, this album is more than a dream come true."

Joining Spyres are the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg under its Chief Conductor Marko Letonja, and the male singers of the chorus of the Opéra du Rhin.

"Spyres has a remarkable range and is a consummate vocal chameleon too...in a truly remarkable finale to his 'Largo al factotum', Rossini's Figaro is indeed all things to all men vocally. What Spyres brings to each role here is a pitch-perfect sense of character as he teaches a familiar lesson, that the voice is always in service of the role - however you choose to categorise it." BBC Music Five Stars November 2021 Opera Choice

"The range of roles is astonishing, but then so are these performances...Spyres really is a tenor - and a baritone, it seems - who has the operatic world at his feet." Recording of the Month Gramophone Awards issue 2021


Mozart: Idomeneo, K. 366, Act II: "Fuor del mar" (Idomeneo)

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act III: "Hai gia vinto la causa?" (Il Conte d'Almaviva)

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K. 527, Act II: "Deh, vieni al la finestra" (Don Giovanni)

Méhul: Ariodant, Act III: "Oh, Dieux! Ecoutez ma prière" (Edgard)

Spontini: La Vestale, Act III: "Qu'ai-je vu! Quels apprêts" (Licinius)

Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Act I: "Largo al factotum" (Figaro)

Rossini: Otello, Act I: "Ah si, per voi già sento" - "Premio maggior di questo" - "Amor, dirada il nembo" (Otello, Iago, Chorus)

Adam: Le Postillon de Lonjumeau, Act I: "Mes amis, écoutez l'histoire" (Chapelou, Chorus)

Donizetti: La fille du régiment, Act I: "Ah! Mes amis, quel jour de fête!" - "Pour mon âme" (Tonio, Chorus)

Verdi: Il trovatore, Act II: "Tutto è deserto" - "Il balen del suo sorriso" (Il Conte di Luna)

Thomas, Ambroise: Hamlet, Act II: "C'est en croyant revoir" - "Oh, vin! Dissipe la tristesse" (Hamlet, Marcellus, Horatio, Chorus)

Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Act I: "Va! pour Kleinzach" (Hoffmann, Nathanaël, Chorus)

Wagner: Lohengrin, Act III: "Aux bords lointains" (Lohengrin)

Leoncavallo: Pagliacci, Prologue: "Si può? Signore! Signori!" (Tonio)

Lehár: Die lustige Witwe, Act I: "O Vaterland du machst bei Tag" - "Da geh ich zu Maxim" (Danilo)

Ravel: L'heure espagnole, M. 52: "Voilà, ce que j'appelle une femme charmante" (Ramiro)

Orff: Carmina Burana, Pt. 4 "Cour d'amours": Dies nox et omnia

Korngold: Die tote Stadt, Op. 12, Act I: Lied. "Glück, das mir verblied" (Marietta)

MICHAEL SPYRES Largo al factotum (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia)