'Recording an album entirely devoted to Händel is an unmissable opportunity for any singer who loves Baroque music, but especially for a countertenor.
'Recording an album entirely devoted to Händel is an unmissable opportunity for any singer who loves Baroque music, but especially for a countertenor. In fact the sheer choice of arias, each more wonderful than the one before, is staggering, but does mean that every singer can find the numbers best suited to his or her voice and personality. Although it’s only in the last few years that I’ve been able to play the big Händel roles on stage – Sesto in Giulio Cesare, for example, or Ruggiero in Alcina – for this recital I wanted to choose a selection of arias from less well-known operas. I’ve been performing some of them for many years now and I felt ready to record them with my ensemble, Artaserse, a group of players who have gained further maturity from the experience of performing around the world over the years.
This recording also stems from observations about the repertoire, and the castrato repertoire in particular. Today, we singers almost always sing arias that weren’t written for us, and so have to adapt to play roles that are more ‘off-the-peg’ than ‘bespoke’. When Händel revived an opera with a different cast, however, he had no hesitation in transposing entire roles to adapt them to his new singers. I therefore decided to do the same with some of the arias on this album, in order to be able to perform them as comfortably as possible. I very much hope you will enjoy listening to the album as much as we all enjoyed making it!' Philippe Jaroussky