Yi sung Artaserse fantastically

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The audience did not stop clapping and stamping their feet until Fasolis and then Fagioli came out on stage to thank them. Credit must be given to them for wearing such crazy creations so confidently. If a kind of feminine verisimilitude is a mark of distinction for countertenors which I am not sure is, or should be the case then Yi would win the award from our ensemble that night. Last, but not least, the tenor Juan Sancho played Artabano as a buffo character and what he lacked in agility he made up with his lively expression.

Pity the poor ducks, but I was suitably ravished by the outfits on display as I was by the singing. Artabano is forced to confess, Arbace is freed, Artaserse is crowned and the two couples are reunited. In all ways, this a glorious evening which I will treasure. However, the way in which they are performed have something mesmerizing in it. Artabano, the ambitious prefect of the Royal Guard, attempts to seize the throne by killing Serse, King of Persia.

The works areAs such his was one of

All this colourful singing was controlled brilliantly, but with flexibility, by Diego Fasolis, directing from the harpsichord. Too, my perception may have also been due to where I was sitting, a box, elevated stage right. France has been quick to champion the Baroque and early classical. The set was curious, three of four large flats on pneumatic rail or motorised pulleys, showing at times an etching of what I assume to be the destruction of Susa. It was indeed a grand spectacle fit for the Sun King.

In the first work, Lezhneva and Fagioli sing together they have also an amazing duet and then they perform one of the next two works each. He is very fine singer, and an intelligent actor too, keenly aware of the baroque mode of delivery as this interview shows.

As such his was one of the most impressive vocal instruments of the night for me. The works are not rarities, as they have been recorded several times.

As the lady next to me agreed, when he reached his sweetest notes, there were times when I truly thought a woman was singing his Artaserse. Lovers berate lovers, fathers disown sons, friends weep with friends as a coup unfolds, a poisoned chalice gets passed around but everyone lives happily ever after. It is a voice without the tint of previous generations of countertenors that belies their sex.

Juan Sancho was a fine Artabano, slimy in all but voice. Persia, the opera revolves around political intrigue, filial loyalty, friendship and the relationship between two pairs of lovers.

Within this open-plan stage, the opera sets are created by a clever and speedy use of a revolving stage and movable partitions. Obviously, casting five fine countertenors in the production helped, but I also think it is a testament to the recent rise of interest in Baroque operas by composers other than Handel. Perhaps this is due to the shimmering colours of the fabulous ensemble I Barocchisti, which are sumptuously conducted by Fasolis. The harmonious contrast of that piece spread to the two works they sing later.