Argentina Vivaldi: Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) with Ensemble Artaserse, Mozarteum Argentino at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. 3.11.2014. (JSJ)
Once again Mozarteum Argentino is at the forefront of Argentina’s musical life, this time in hosting French counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky and his Ensemble Artaserse in two concerts to round off its 2014 season.
It is a first for Jaroussky too – indeed in South America and in addition to Buenos Aires, the five-country tour also included performances in Montevideo, São Paulo, Lima and Mexico.
Jaroussky has been at the forefront of the revival of Vivaldi as well as other early music composers, with numerous productions and both solo recital and opera recordings to his name. His recent latest disc is also devoted to Vivaldi, and so it was little surprise that this should be an all Vivaldi recital, combining string concertos with extracts from sacred works in the first half – including items from this recording – and from operas in the second.
To open, the sparkling Concerto in C minor RV 120, then straight into the Stabat Mater RV 621, showing off the more contemplative aspects of Jaroussky’s voice. Then the opening Allegro from the Concerto in D Major RV 123 and the brilliant, almost operatic, motet “Longe mala, umbrae, terrores” RV 629.
The varied, some familiar, opera extracts included “Se in ogni guardo” from Orlando finto pazzo, “Vedro con mio diletto” from Giustino, and “Mentre dormi” and “Con questo ferro indegno… Gemo in un punto e fremo” from L’Olimpiade. In between the energetic Concerto for two violins in A minor RV 522 from L’estro armonico, with Ensemble Artaserse leader Alessandro Tampieri and Petr Ruzicka as the soloists. And as encores “Sento in seno” also from Giustino and the exquisite “Cum dederit” from the Nisi Dominus RV 608.
These showed off the full range and expression of Jaroussky’s voice, almost angelic in the Stabat Mater to the dazzling displays of virtuosity in the motet and in for example the aria from Orlando finto pazzo. Ensemble Artaserse, now 15-strong, provided good accompaniment – and surely, despite the very infrequent performance of any of Vivaldi’s music locally, dispelling any myth about its similarity.
Jonathan Spencer Jones