A passion for Early music

Philippe Jaroussky and Jean-Christophe Spinosi make their debuts with the Berliner Philharmoniker

Before his concerts, we talked to countertenor Philippe Jaroussky about early music, his special register and his work as a teacher and conductor.

Two long-standing artistic friends make their debuts with the Berliner Philharmoniker: countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi met and came to admire each other at the beginning of their careers. Since then they have worked together regularly and intensively, and their performances of Antonio Vivaldi’s operas in particular have received much acclaim. So obviously, in addition to Haydn’s symphony “L’Ours” (The Bear) and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, two virtuoso arias by Vivaldi and the cavatina “Di tanti palpiti” from Rossini’s opera Tancredi are also part of the programme of their debut concert. In our cover story, you can read that both musicians – in addition to their great love of Early music – have other exciting artistic facets to offer.

Concerts on 17, 18 and 19 June 2021

You can experience the debuts of Philippe Jaroussky and Jean-Christophe Spinosi in concerts on 17, 18 and 19 June 2021 at the Philharmonie with works by Antonio Vivaldi, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gioacchino Rossini.

More about the programme

Radiant, velvety smooth and ethereal – Philippe Jaroussky’s countertenor has a unique, unmistakable timbre that is ideal for Baroque vocal music. He sang his way to the top as an interpreter of works by Claudio Monteverdi, George Frideric Handel and Antonio Vivaldi. The French artist never ceases to impress audiences with the virtuosic lightness of his voice, with which he seems to negotiate the most brilliant coloratura passages effortlessly. Philippe Jaroussky originally wanted to become a violinist, but then he heard the countertenor Fabrice di Falco singing Handel arias and immediately knew: “That’s for me! I essentially made the decision to become a countertenor on one evening,” Jaroussky says. He studied with Nicole Fallien and celebrated his first successes in productions of Monteverdi operas at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Further milestones of his career were the collaboration with René Jacobs at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s double opera Only the Sound Remains at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, in which Philippe Jaroussky also excelled as an interpreter of contemporary music, and his appearance at the opening of Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie in 2017.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi
(Photo: Kajimoto)

Baroque or rock – for Jean-Christophe Spinosi, a fan of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Eddie Van Halen, they are not opposites. He demonstrated that, for example, with his “Tribute to Eddie Van Halen & Antonio Vivaldi”, in which he combined music of the Baroque composer and the electric guitarist in an exciting arrangement for orchestra, rock band and electric violin. The charismatic Frenchman, who was initially drawn to the violin, discovered his love for music of the 17th and 18th centuries as a 13-year-old. In 1991 he founded the Ensemble Matheus, which appears throughout the world and specializes primarily in performances of works by Antonio Vivaldi – but not exclusively, as successful productions of Mozart and Rossini operas at the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Vienna’s Theater an der Wien show. Jean-Christophe Spinosi has collaborated closely with Cecilia Bartoli and Philippe Jaroussky for many years. He is also regularly invited to conduct orchestras, including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In his encounters with such ensembles, there are – Spinosi says – “often wonderful surprises, a human and musical exchange that leads to entirely new experiences”.

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