“Franco Fagioli was perfect as the unpredictable tyrant: he stormed on and off the stage, and he overacted his passion and his rage, bringing the silly story to life with emotional participation. His acting was particularly engaging in the aria closing the first act “Se bramate d’amar chi vi sdegna”, where Serse, tired of Romilda’s refusals, shouts at her that he’s going to forget about her, and then he realizes he has no idea how to stop loving her. Fagioli managed to project the image of an arrogant child who stomps his feet and has no clue about his own emotions and how to handle them, all the while singing with true perfection. He truly confirmed his status as the star countertenor of his generation. His palette of vocal colours was vast, with perfect coloratura, his musicality and sense of the Baroque style astounding. He ventured into variations of the utmost difficulty and originality, but always with a great respect for the music. The standing ovation for him at the end of the opera was endless.”


“Preuve en est : chaque air —même celui qui dépasse à peine la minute— est applaudi, souvent couvert de bravi éclatant en furie pour ceux de Franco Fagioli. Franco Fagioli incarne Xerxès Ier comme un Empereur et dans les traces de Farinelli. Les vocalises sont d’une virtuosité hallucinante, (ses trilles ont des trilles !) mais les ornements ne sont jamais gratuits : ils soutiennent toujours un propos, et ce grâce à une voix complète. L’interprète porte en effet son falsetto (voix de tête) jusque dans les graves (qualité rare et indispensable pour que cette voix de castrat ne soit pas que pur esprit). Le public vibre d’ailleurs audiblement par les deux bouts de cet ambitus, frémissant de ses suraigus mais aussi de ses appuis poitrinés. Le volume sonore est à la mesure de l’Opéra Royal, tout comme le port de la voix et du corps. Franco Fagioli va jusqu’à offrir une démonstration de doppio messa di voce, c’est-à-dire conduisant la voix du piano au forte, par deux fois dans un même souffle ! La spécificité de son timbre tient enfin à un placement infimement engorgé auquel d’aucuns préféreraient un caractère angélique, mais qui contribue aussi à forger un timbre.”


“Proof of this: each aria —even the one that barely exceeds a minute— is applauded, often covered with bravery bursting into fury for those of Franco Fagioli. Franco Fagioli embodies Xerxes I as an Emperor and in the footsteps of Farinelli. The vocalizations are of a hallucinating virtuosity, (his trills have trills!) but the ornaments are never free: they always support a point, and this thanks to a full voice.The interpreter indeed carries his falsetto (head voice). right down to the bass (a rare and essential quality so that this castrato’s voice is not just pure spirit). The audience vibrates audibly from both ends of this range, quivering from its high notes but also from its chesty supports. sound volume is commensurate with the Royal Opera, as is the bearing of the voice and the body. Franco Fagioli goes so far as to offer a demonstration of doppio messa di voce, that is to say leading the voice of the piano au forte, twice in the same breath ! The specificity of its timbre is finally due to a tinyly engorged placement to which some would prefer an angelic character, but which also contributes to forging a timbre.”