ENCHANTED EVENING WITH THE COUNTERTENOR
by Wis Jablonski
On the night of the 12th of April my wife and I were a part of a huge audience at QPAC Concert Hall. We came to admire one of the world’s most celebrated countertenors, Max Emanuel Cenčić. Together with Camerata of St John’s – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra he graced us with a scintillating performance of the Baroque music.
Maestro Cenčić, only 38 years of age, started at a very early age and has been destined for the height of Parnassus. By the way, this is also the name of Parnassus Arts Production where he is Artistic Director responsible for the Italian Baroque music revival.
During the period of 1992 to 1997 Cenčić pursued a solo career, singing soprano although his voice had already broken. He made his debut as the countertenor in 2001 and never looked back. From the beginning his performances have received enthusiastic reviews from the critics and the praise from the cognoscenti. One of the critics described him as “.... undisputed singing god of the evening”.
The evening of the 12th of April has been a memorable one also due to a performance of Camerata of St John’s with its leader, violinist Brendan Joyce. The program has been designed to show the audience the very best of Baroque music and singing.
( click the arrowhead to hear him sing )
Maestro Cenčić gave us superb examples of music by Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783) with ten arias showing the vocal scale and the power of the singer. He brought the house down with unending bravi.
Johann A. Hasse, contemporary of Handel, has been promoter of opera seria, Italian style of the opera but performed also in Spain, England, Saxony and Habsburg Austria. He died in Venice like many of the VIP after him. That poses a curious question: is Venice a good place to die or is this the curse of the water?
Camerata of St John’s of the twenty two musicians accompanied Maestro with a feeling and virtuosity. I particularly enjoyed Camerata’s feisty interpretation of Christoph Gluck (1714 -1787) of “Dance of the Furies” from “Orphee et Euridice”; it sounded like Wagner’s “Flight of Valkyries”, a major achievement considering the absence of drums and heavy brass sections in Baroque musical assembly.
After the performance we had some luck to exchange a few sentences with Maestro and ask for an autograph on his CD. We found him a very charming and an easy going person with a great warm smile.
I would like to acknowledge generosity of the Queensland Conservatorium for providing us with free tickets.