Eric Jurenas

British Heroes


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.

Eric Jurenas, countertenor

La Chapelle Harmonique
Valentin Tournet, direction

10 June 2018, 8:30pm
Palace of Versailles
Hall of Crusades