Anthony Roth Costanzo
+ Les Violons du Roy
Friday, October 12, 2018 | 8:00 pm
The New York Times recently made the astonishing assertion that countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo “exists to transform opera.” In a few short years, Costanzo — born in Durham to two Duke professors — has become one of the world’s most fascinating singers, set apart by his agile yet powerful voice, his musical and dramatic mastery, and his unusual dual interest in baroque and new music. Costanzo launched his career with a 2012 Operalia Competition win, singing Handel, and he drew rave reviews for his 2016 Los Angeles Opera performance of the title role in Philip Glass’ Akhnaten. On his widely anticipated debut album, due from Decca Gold in late 2018, Costanzo sings incandescent interpretations of Handel and Philip Glass, two composers for whom he has a thrilling affinity.
In Durham, on a very limited tour to support his debut, Costanzo and acclaimed chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy deliver a daring and revelatory concert of Handel and Glass masterpieces. Thirty-seven musicians will play alongside Costanzo on the Baldwin Auditorium stage, including strings, horns, harpsichord, and lute. The program opens with four Handel opera arias that allow Costanzo broad emotional latitude, as well as the Concerto Grosso in D Minor, then turns to Akhnaten’s “Hymn,” an ode to religious wonder. Les Violons du Roy transform Glass’ synthesizers into strings for a pulsing passage from 1,000 Airplanes on the Roof, and Costanzo channels three voices into one in the sublime “Liquid Days (Part I).” Costanzo’s thoughtful programming and interpretive skill make this a deeply compelling evening, illuminating the aesthetic companionship of baroque and contemporary music.
Handel: “Inumano fratel … Stille amare,” from Tolomeo, HWV 25
Handel: “Rompo i lacci,” from Flavio, Re de’ Langobardi, HWV 16
Handel: Concerto Grosso in D Minor, op. 6, no. 10, HWV 328
Handel: “Pena tiranna,” from Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11
Handel: “Vivi tiranno,” from Regina de’ Langobardi, HWV 19
Philip Glass: “Hymn,” from Akhnaten
Philip Glass: “The Encounter,” from 1,000 Airplanes on the Roof
Philip Glass: “In the Arc of Your Mallet,” from Monsters of Grace
Philip Glass: “Liquid Days, Part 1,” from Songs From Liquid Days
Philip Glass: “How All Living Things Breathe,” from Fall of the House of Usher
“Anthony Roth Costanzo was utterly riveting.”