Mozart - Arias for Male Soprano
The highly-rated early music ensemble Boston Baroque and its conductor Martin Pearlman join forces with the talented American singer and true male soprano Michael Maniaci, in a recording of arias that Mozart originally composed for the castrato voice. The disc contains arias from Idomeneo, Lucio Silla, and La Clemenza di Tito, as well as the beloved motet Exsultate, jubilate. The recording also includes two brilliant orchestral pieces, the overtures to Idomeneo and Clemenza.
The first permanent Baroque orchestra established in North America, Boston Baroque is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier period-instrument bands. The ensemble's performances and recordings of the Baroque and Classical repertoire have been hailed by audiences and critics in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia for their freshness, virtuosity, and exuberant appeal. Although Maniaci’s voice is natural, his stunning performances give Boston Baroque the opportunity to add yet another “original” instrument, the male soprano voice, to their performing forces. A voice type that was enormously popular in opera and religious music in the 17th century but completely disappeared over a century ago, the male castrato’s true chest voice – unlike falsetto singers – was in the soprano or alto range, yet extremely powerful due to the male lung capacity. Up until now, all we have really known of this voice are the verbal descriptions of contemporary listeners and a single, scratchy recording made late in the life of the last castrato performer.
“each comes across fully formed, assured in recitative, rhythmically alert, skilful in phrasing...a distinctive musical personality is evident throughout, supporting by first-rate 'period' accompaniment.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2010 ***
“Maniaci’s voice is truly extraordinary. Its range is about a sixth higher than that of most countertenors, and high C presents no problem...The arias...are all delivered with assurance, their testing passages of coloratura negotiated with disarming ease” Sunday Times, 28th February 2010 ***
“This is quite an unsettling recording. It's as though we have opened a door on another world...It's probably the nearest we have to the sound of the castrato voice...the voice is effortless, with no hint of a break into falsetto” The Observer, 28th March 2010