Counter-tenor Franco Fagioli makes his Pentatone debut with Anime Immortali, together with the Kammerorchester Basel, exploring the music that Mozart composed for castratos. Ranging from opera to sacred music and culminating in Exsultate, jubilate, the recorded works share a sublime and profound character, demonstrating Mozart’s strong connection to the castrato voice. With this album, Fagioli finally returns to the composer that inflamed his desire to become a musician during his youth.
Franco Fagioli is one of today’s most esteemed countertenors, and makes his Pentatone debut. The Kammerorchester Basel returns to the label after a recording of Haydn’s Stabat Mater (2023) with René Jacobs.
“I still remember when I first got to know Mozart, when I first heard his music. I was still a child and sang the first boy in Die Zauberflöte. What music! How joyful, how deep, how sad, how everything! Clearly it could not be otherwise for such a genius. I remember exactly the sensations when I was singing as part of the trio, in the scenes with Tamino, Pamina or Papageno, how that music moved me. And I clearly remember the emotion of listening to the orchestra and those solo singers performing their roles with such commitment. It was all evidently engraved in the depths of my being. At that moment, my need to study music was born.
“As a countertenor and looking into the repertoire of the old castratos, I happily discovered that Mozart had written for some of them, so I began to study the solo vocal music that Mozart had written for castrato singers. And such beautiful music it was! The aria ‘Parto, parto’ sung by Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito, or the famous motet Exsultate Jubílate, and so many others. It is evident that Mozart had a connection with these singers.
“Somehow, I notice in Mozart’s operas that when he writes for the castrato the music is usually sublime and very deep. Undoubtedly, they connect me to that spiritual part of a young soul that Mozart had, and which becomes present in me when I sing the music.
“That is why I have always been interested in interpreting this music and also in singing his operas on stage. For this album I have chosen those arias that I have come to know along my musical path, and through which I have managed to connect more intimately with the Mozartian spirit.” (Franco Fagioli)