Eric Jurenas: British Heroes

Sunday 10 June 2018 - 8:30pm
Approximate duration: 
1h10 without intermission


Eric Jurenas, a Juilliard graduate, prize winner of numerous competitions, such as Competizione Renata Tebaldi 2017, is quickly establishing himself to one of the most saught after countertenors of his generation. Committments led him to the Wiener Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, Glimmerglass Festival, Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik, Santa Fe and Philadelphia Opera.

Future engagements include three Händel operas in Berlin, his debuts at ROH Covent Garden, Bayrische Staatsoper München, Oper Frankfurt, Händelfestspiele Göttingen.
This recital in Versailles will be the first opportunity to hear him in France.


British tradition only became aware of Italian castrati at the beginning of the 18th century and the great operas of Handel and his rival Porpora. But the art of counter-tenors, a variation on the French haute-contre, had reached summits there. This recital of vocal treasures by Purcell and Handel will wonderfully showcase this very "British" voice and its remarkable heroic dimension that would from inception dominate sacred music. The exceptional suaveness of Purcell's counter-tenor arias, steeped in French writing, have touched the hearts of audiences for four centuries and require great refinement and poetic feeling from the singer. The arias from King Arthur, the famous Evening Hymn or the magnificent lamentation of the heroin in Dido and Aeneas highlight the counter-tenor's talent, and his sense of tragedy…

As for Handel, counter-tenors were his companions in the "British tradition" confronted to the excesses of castrati, of whom Londoners had become weary, to the point of ridiculing them :"The Opera House, or the Italian Eunuchs'  Glory!" As the castrati's reign over Italian opera was coming to an end, oratorios (in English) were at the centre of Handel's creation and counter-tenors took on alto roles, for the greatest pleasure of audiences. Eric Jurenas will sing the arias by Handel with which he first met with success, opera castrati arias (Rodelinda, Admeto), and counter-tenor arias from oratorios Saul, Jephta and Belshazaar. Valentin Tournet and his young ensemble La Chapelle Harmonique, discovered in Versailles in 2017, will bring their accomplished vigor to this ideally British recital.

O thou that tellest - Handel's 'Messiah' - Eric Jurenas


Eric Jurenas: British Heroes
Aria of operas and oratorio from Purcell and Haendel

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Prelude of The Fairy Queen
Come ye sons of art - Strike the viol
« Music for a while » extract from Oedipus
« What Power art thou ? » extract from King Arthur
Chaconne extract from King Arthur
« Fairest Isle » extract from King Arthur
« When I am Laid in Earth » extract from Didon et Enée
« An Evening Hymn » extract from Harmonia Sacra

Georg Friedrich Haendel (1685-1759)
Opening of Jephtha
« Oh sacred oracles of truth » extract from Belshazzar
« Sí, l’infida consorte… Confusa si miri » extract from Rodelinda
« Eternal Source of Light Divine » extract from l’Ode pour l’Anniversaire de la Reine Mary
« Kind Heaven » extract from Theodora
« O Lord, whose mercies numberless » extract from Saul
« Mortals think that Time is sleeping » extract from The Triumph of Time and Truth
« Orride larve… Chiudetevi, miei lumi » extract from Admeto

Useful information

A first category ticket is offer to Doge category ticket holders booked for Orfeo ed Eurifdice (10 June). 

Picto abonnement 
Castrati subscription




Eric Jurenas Countertenor

La Chapelle Harmonique

Valentin Tournet Direction