OP0320. FARINELLI - Il Castrato (Broschi, Porpora, Hasse, Händel, Pergolesi, Lully, Gluck, Royer, Bach, Purcell, Salieri, Desmarest, Jommelli & Martin Y Soler), Recorded 1993, w. Christophe Rousset Cond. Les Talens Lyriques, w. Ewa Mallas-Godlewska & Derek Lee Ragin. (Italy) 2-Näive 5150, Hardbound Book w.Elaborate Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 822186051504
"This has to be one of the finest collections of period music available, bar none. Wonderful performances (both vocal and instrumental)but perhaps even more important, an amazing selection of music, especially assorted Handel pieces. Simply a ‘must-have disk’!!!
Disc one consists of eleven complete performances of arias and overtures, from composers as famous as Handel and Pergolesi to the relatively obscure, such as Broschi and Idaspe (a particularly lovely piece, ‘Ombra fedele anch’io’). A brief booklet note titled ‘Reinventing a castrato’s voice’ details the unique feature of this soundtrack: the producers, in conjunction with the Institut de Recherches et Coordination Acoustique Musique, found a way in the studio to meld the voice of a counter-tenor (Derek Lee Ragin) with that of a soprano (Ewa Mallas-Godlewska). The intention was to capture something of what a true castrato sounded like, with an extraordinary range and a timbre that, at least supposedly, retained masculine authority while climbing stratospheric heights. Technically, IRCAM produced a seamless blend; it is not easily apparent when and where the two voices separate or shift primarily to one or the other singer. Nonetheless, there are many moments where Ragin’s counter-tenor, a somewhat reedy instrument, clearly predominates, and others where the feminine sound Mallas-Godlewska produces come to the fore.
Rousset and his band play immaculately, and listeners who prefer the leaner, tauter sound of historically-informed performances will surely enjoy their efforts.…the set does offer handsome packaging and that enjoyable second disc of material."
- Chris Mullins, OPERA TODAY
"The vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Talens Lyriques was founded in 1991 by Christophe Rousset. By choosing the name, the conductor attested to his passionate interest in an 18th century music repertoire which he has fortunately begun to re-introduce to the public. Rousset, however, has in no way neglected composers of the previous century. The repertoire ranges from Monteverdi to Handel . In 1994, the ensemble realised the original soundtrack of the film FARINELLI IL CASTRATO. In 2001, it won the Classical Music Victory.”
“Farinelli's singing voice was provided by a soprano, Ewa Malas-Godlewska and a countertenor, Derek Lee Ragin, who were recorded separately then digitally merged to recreate the sound of a castrato. Through the film the general public discovered a whole repertoire of works for a voice that can no longer be heard today…. we discovered with delight some beautiful pieces by Handel, Pergolesi, Hasse, Porpora and others, in a unique interpretation."
- John Ruttner
“Founder of the period instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset is an inspirational musician and conductor specialising in the baroque and classical repertoire. Particularly inspired by European music of the 17th and 18th centuries, Rousset has rediscovered forgotten operas. Christophe Rousset has received honorary awards from the French government for his pioneering efforts work in classical music.”
- Les Talens Lyriques