Men with heavenly voices

By Korea Herald

Philippe Jaroussky, Ian Bostridge to hold solo recitals in April

  • Published : Apr 2, 2014 - 20:24
  • Updated : Apr 2, 2014 - 20:24
If music aficionados in Korea were starting to get a little bored with the local classical music scene dominated by orchestras and players of major solo instruments, April brings a rare treat.

Two men with heavenly voices are coming to Korea for solo recitals: countertenor Philippe Jaroussky on April 30 and Lieder singer Ian Bostridge on April 19.

Frenchman Jaroussky is an unusual star in the world of countertenors, grown men who sing soprano or mezzo-soprano and perform roles that were originally written for castratos (male singers who were castrated before puberty to retain their soprano voice range) in the 18th century. 
Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (LG Arts Center)

Tall, young and handsome, the countertenor “with the tone of an angel and the virtuosity of the devil” has a passionate following in his native France, Japan and other countries. But in Korea, he is still a new voice to check out.

For the upcoming Seoul concert, his first in Korea, the 36-year-old has prepared a repertoire that demonstrates just why he is so hot.

Titled “A Legendary Battle,” the program is designed to bring the audience back to 18th-century London where the rivalry between two castrati and two composers unfolds. It is Farinelli versus Carestini, for whom the two greatest composers of the time, Porpora and Handel, competitively wrote.

“In this program, I do not claim to be able to relive these two legends of singing ― the great castrati Farinelli and Carestini,” Jaroussky humbly says in the program note. “Rather, this program is more to show to what extent the presence of the rival troops of the theaters of Handel and Porpora at the same time in London allowed these two composers to create some of their most beautiful operatic arias, culminating with ‘Alto Giove’ for Porpora and ‘Scherza infida’ for Handel.”

Venice Baroque Orchestra, a premier period instrument ensemble, will accompany him on stage.

The Philippe Jaroussky recital will take place at LG Arts Center located near Yeoksam Station on Line 2. Ticket prices range 40,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com. 
Tenor Ian Bostridge (Goyang Cultural Foundation)

For British tenor Ian Bostridge, the April 19 recital in Goyang, a city north of Seoul, is his fourth performance in Korea and a follow-up to his two previous solo recitals.

In 2004 and 2008, he sang Schubert. This time he will sing Schumann, with his longtime companion Julius Drake on piano, which, combined with his two Schubert recitals, will show why this former Oxford historian is now the world’s most sought-after Lieder singer.

Lieder are a form of Germen songs developed during the Romantic era of the 19th century for solo voice and piano. Schubert and Schumann are two of the most important composers of the genre who began setting poems from famous or amateur poets to music.

The voice of Bostridge is not huge, like some other famous tenors. Rather, it is his expressiveness and the way he gives life to the romantic Lieder lyrics that makes him stand out.

The repertoire for the upcoming recital includes Liederkreis, Op. 24, a song cycle composed by Schumann on nine poems by Heinrich Heine and Dichterliebe, or “The Poet’s Love,” for which the composer used 16 other poems from the same poet.

The Ian Bostridge recital will be held at Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center, located near Jeongbalsan Station on Line 3. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call 1577-7766 or visit www.artgy.or.kr.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)