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Rivals conjures for the listener the age when castrati were the celebrities of the European opera world, their high voices and androgynous physiques captivating audiences as they competed for the position of primo uomo. Castrati duels were organised to bring in the crowds, where Farinelli and his rivals would vie to out-do each other’s ornamentation and make women swoon. Ably accompanied by Academia Montis Regalis, Australian countertenor David Hansen brings this repertoire to life. His combination of accomplished coloratura and expressive lyrical singing easily place him in the first rank of today’s generation of countertenors. It will be intriguing to hear the results as he and others like him make the previously inaccessible castrati repertoire known to a wider public.

Nicholas Bown Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing