Title - 'ARC'
Artist - Anthony Roth Costanzo
For those not in the classical know, Anthony Roth Costanzo is an American countertenor, actor, and producer who has led performances at the world's leading opera companies.
Beginning his career in musical theatre at the age of 11, he has since been featured at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Glyndebourne Opera Festival, as well as in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra.
In 2012, he won first place at Plácido Domingo's international opera competition Operalia and, in 2009, was a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
As an actor, he has performed in several films, including the Merchant Ivory film 'A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries', for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.
As a producer and curator, he has created shows for National Sawdust, Opera Philadelphia, the Philharmonia Baroque, Princeton University, WQXR, The State Theater in Salzburg, MasterVoices, and Kabuki-za Tokyo.
Costanzo is a graduate of Princeton University, where he has returned to teach, and received his master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
On ARC, his brand new album out now via Decca Gold Records, American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo performs works of baroque master G. F. Handel and minimalist 20/21st century composer Philip Glass; all played by the orchestra Les Violons du Roy and conducted by music director Jonathan Cohen.
1. Glass: "The Encounter"
2. Handel: "Pena tiranna"
3. Glass: "Liquid Days"
4. Handel: "Rompo i lacci"
5. Handel: "Lascia ch'io pianga"
6. Glass: "In the Arc of Your Mallet"
7. Handel: "Vivi, tiranno"
8. Handel: "Inumano fratel"
9. Handel: "Stille amare"
10. Glass: "How All Living Things Breathe"
11. Handel: "Ombra mai fu"
12. Glass: "Hymn to the Sun"
Anchored by Costanzos alternatingly powerful and sweet sound, ARC is a startlingly original work that weaves together the twin threads of Costanzos artistic life, while putting familiar works in a novel context that allows the listener to hear them anew.
"Handel defined me. Glass changed me, writes the 36-year-old singer in the liner notes. In that sense, the album is autobiographical, for as we well know now, Handel facilitated many of Costanzo's early successes.
The track sequence alternates between Glass and Handel, stringing together arias, songs, and excerpts like gemstones on a chain. So, with that in mind, this quiet marvelous album not only reaches across 250 years of music history, by pairing George Frideric Handel with Philip Glass, but on the the latter's track "Liquid Days," it now features lyrics by David Byrne (Talking Heads) - which render, in modern day mundaneness, the abstract concept of love.
Indeed, this wondrous juxtaposition of past and present is a common thread throughout Costanzo's work. Drawing from opera's interdisciplinary tradition, Costanzo collaborated with a broad range of creatives — from fashion designers Raf Simons and Calvin Klein, to choreographer Justin Peck, to painter George Condo and filmmaker James Ivory — for a highly well-received show recently surrounding ARC's release.
The Glass pieces on the album include "The Encounter" (1000 Airplanes on the Roof), originally performed by Linda Ronstadt; "Liquid Days," a curio originally written for the all-female folk band The Roches; and "Hymn to the Sun" (Akhnaten), which, with its bright rays of harmony and Costanzo's possessed performance, provides the album with its resplendent finale.
The track is also a sign of things to come, since Costanzo is slated to star in Akhnaten when it comes to the Metropolitan Opera in 2019.
In addition to lesser-known Handel repertoire that has marked the milestones in Costanzo's career, he includes two classics: "Ombra mai fu" (Serse) and "Lascia ch'io pianga" (Rinaldo). "I thought they were two interesting anchors for all of this weirdness," says Costanzo.
"As a countertenor, I feel like I'm a freakazoid," Costanzo admits. "I love to use the novelty of that to recruit new audiences. But also, I kind of have to forge my own path."
"The major opera houses may only do one thing a season that has a countertenor, if even that. So I've created all these projects, and engaged different kinds of people."
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