After his foray into the early Romantic era – heroic arias written for female mezzo sopranos to perform in male disguise – Max Emmanuel Cencic returns to core countertenor repertoire with this program of Handel. It comprises arias taken from a variety of operas and other vocal works and includes two of the composer’s operatic ‘greatest hits’, the dynamic ‘Dopo notte’ from Ariodante and the poignant ‘Cara speme’ from Giulio Cesare. When Cencic performed the role of Sesto in Giulio Cesare on stage in Toulouse in 2006, ResMusica described him as a “true phenomenon”.
Handel retains a prominent position in Cencic’s performance schedule. Among operas by the composer that he has performed are Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano, Fernando, Serse, Ottone and Faramondo – his complete Virgin Classics recording of this work was designated a Diapason ‘Découverte’ in March 2009, also being selected for Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in July 2009. The Daily Telegraph wrote of the recording that: “The cast is notable for the flamboyant contributions of the impressive young countertenors Max Emanuel Cencic (in the title role) and Philippe Jaroussky. Strongly recommended to diehard Handel fans.”