March 06, 2023

Franco Fagioli presents ‘Anime Immortali’

Pentatone releases Anime Immortali with Franco Fagioli and Kammerorchester Basel, in April 2023.

A Portrait of Mozart and the Castrato Voice

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. I chose to study the piano, somehow I wanted to be able to produce that music not only with my voice. And so I started, as I wanted to play Mozart.

I remember I went to a sheet music shop and I asked for something I could play by Mozart for someone who was just starting out. The shop clerk pulled out a little book that belonged to that well-known collection called “my first….”. And then he showed me “My first Mozart”. I remember it perfectly with its orange soft cover, capital lettering full of watermarks and a portrait of Mozart. So that’s where I started, with a little minuet in F Major.

What a thrill! I was playing Mozart’s music! Oh my God, I now realise how little I understood as I had to play the instrument, and due to the technical difficulties, I did not fully reach the music yet. But little by little I went on, played the famous sonata in C Major, and so on. I was completely in love with his music. Who would have thought that later on I would have the honour of being able to lend my voice to such beauty!

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

Digital Release Date: 14 APRIL 2023

Physical Release: APRIL 2023

Released as 1 CD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads.