Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Philippe Jaroussky Elegizes (Massenet)

Philippe Jaroussky's Opium album is a tonic for...well, almost anything. Admittedly, with 24 songs, it may be more Mélodies francaises than a non-Francophone would care for in one sitting. (Of course if you spring for the CD, you probably get translations, which would help.) I was listening to this collection the other day and thinking, "Wow, his French sounds really idiomatic." DUH.

Anyway, enjoy this performance. There are a few other selections available on YT, including some studio recordings (no video). Since PJ is so physically expressive, as well as vocally, I think watching enhances the listening experience.  The eye contact between the musicians also draws one into the performance.

Massenet: Elegie


  1. I will confess to an inability to listen to a countertenor for more than thirty seconds. My problem so I rarely even express an opinion on the subject, but somehow they are more bearable when they sing Handel and others of the 18th century. But Massenet!!!! Jaroussky seems to garner very high critical opinion but I found this totally inappropriate--musically, that is. I would assume the marketing department came up with the title "Opium"; that it has nothing to do with any "classical" CD is beside the point. Do you think it will help with sales? Sorry to be so negative!

    1. No problem. Different voices and music appeal to different folks. I don't love every countertenor voice I've ever heard. I grew to love it back when Paul Esswood was singing with Harnoncourt. A few CTs should probably stop singing, as they are not up to their former standards. There are CTs I will not listen to (I won't name them. no point in being mean)

      PJ has one of the purist, most natural sounding countertenor voices, combined with fine artistry and musicality. I do enjoy his work, (though maybe not for more than a full hour at a time) He may not have come up with "Opium" but he does make a convincing explanation of the theme behind the recording in one of his promotional interviews. I also enjoy listening to David Daniels and Max Emanuel Cencic in particular.

      I am not trying to convert you (how could I) but a major highlight of last year's (in many other ways questionable) Guilio Cesare in Salzburg was ASvO and PJ singing "Son nata lagrimar"


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