Venice Baroque Orchestra to Play Jorgensen, 2/23/

Countertenor sensation Philippe Jaroussky returns to Jorgensen, this time with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m. Jaroussky's "pure, radiant voice" (the LA Times declares) thrilled Jorgensen's audience two seasons ago with Apollo's Fire Baroque Orchestra performing Handel and Vivaldi arias and concertos. Now, after a nine-month sabbatical, Jaroussky is back on a world tour with the VBO for an exciting program of Italian arias. The program highlights the legendary musical battle between the composers and leading castrati of the 18th century, specifically George Frideric Handel and Carestini vs. Farinelli and Nicola Porpora.

Dr. Eric Rice of the UConn Music Department will speak about this exciting period of opera to the concert audience at 2:15 p.m.

Music was the top attraction in the 18th century baroque city of Venice, where composers and singers competed aggressively for audience. And opera was king. A fickle public demanded more and more works to be turned out. The key ingredient, however, was the performing castrati, such as Farinelli and Carestini, superstars of Italian opera.

As Roger Pickering gushed in 1755 London, "Farinelli drew every Body to the Haymarket. What a pipe! What Modulation! What Extasy to the Ear!"

Fast forward to the 21st century where "Jaroussky soars as effortlessly as a bird," - Gramophone. The French countertenor, on high demand in Europe and at Carnegie Hall, was awarded his fourth "Victoire de la Musique" in 2010 (the French equivalent of a Grammy) and for "CD of the Year" in 2009. His recordings La Dolce Flamma, dedicated to forgotten castrato arias by Johann Christian Bach, and Tribute to Carestini have both gone gold. His Opium CD of French melodies met with immediate international success.

Founded by Baroque scholar and harpsichordist Andrea Marcon in 1997, the Venice Baroque Orchestra is one of the world's premier period instrument ensembles. It has received wide critical acclaim for its concert and opera performances throughout North America, Europe, South America, Japan and Korea. In 2010, the VBO premiered Philip Glass's violin concerto, The American Four Seasons. The orchestra's newest recording - of Porpora arias featuring Jaroussky with special guest Cecilia Bartoli - was released by Erato in September 2013. Their 2012 release on Naïve, a pasticcio of Metastasio's L'Olimpiade featuring the recording premieres of many 18th-century opera arias, was awarded Choc du Monde de la Musique.

This performance is sponsored by New England Public Radio and the Alexander-Hewitt Fund.

Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Ticket prices are $47, $44 and $40, with some discounts. For tickets and information, call the Box Office at 860.486.4226, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or order online at jorgensen.uconn.edu. Convenient, free parking is available across the street in the North Garage.




More On: Carnegie Hall, Philip Glass, Cecilia Bartoli,

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