Il Pomo d’Oro
Riccardo Minasi - conductor
In his new project Venezia, Max Emanuel Cencic offers arias of baroque Venice written by Antonio Vivaldi, Francesco Gasparini, Tomaso Albinoni, and Antonio Lotti – composers whose operas undeservingly disappeared from world opera scenes. The famous countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic picked twelve arias during his quest in baroque archives. During both recording of the CD (Parlophone) and concerts, he collaborates with Italian baroque instruments ensemble Il Pomo D’Oro, and Italian conductor Riccardo Minasi.
“Mr. Cencic is blessed with the finest countertenor voice of our day” – wrote the German magazine Opernwelt in May 2008. Once a member of the Wiener Sängerknaben, the Croatian-Austrian singer started his solo career in 2001. Today, he is celebrated as a world-elite countertenor.
He is a frequent guest of opera houses including Vienna State Opera, Theater an der Wien, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Semperoper in Dresden, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Frankfurt Opera, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Grand Théâtre in Geneva, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, etc. In concert he has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Barbican Centre in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, the Palais Garnier in Paris, and at festivals in Ludwigsburg, Potsdam, Halle (Händel Festspiele), Spoleto (Due Mondi), Ambronay, Eisenstadt, and Dubrovnik. Conductors with whom Cencic has collaborated on a regular basis include William Christie, René Jacobs, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, George Petrou, Emmanuelle Haïm, Fabio Biondi and Riccardo Muti.
An early milestone in Max Emanuel Cencic’s career was his interpretation of Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea in Basel, which prompted Opernwelt to name him Best New Singer of the Year 2003. Other notable assumptions included the role of Perseo in Vivaldi’s long-forgotten serenata Andromeda liberata (recorded live at Carnegie Hall by Deutsche Grammophon), the title role in Handel’s rarely performed opera Faramondo, and the Herald in the world premiere of Aribert Reimann’s Medea at the Vienna State Opera on February 28, 2010. The most ambitious project of the 2012/2013 season was Cencic’s own idea of a production of newly-rediscovered opera by Neapolitan composer Leonardo Vinci’s Artaserse. Cencic invited colleagues countertenors to portray all the female characters; the recording (Virgin Classics), and modern (staged) premiere of the opera (Nancy, France) included four countertenors, and Cencic himself in the role of Artaserse’s sister Mandane. Whether at Theater an der Wien, the Cologne Opera, the Opéra de Lausanne or the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, every performance received a standing ovation.
The singer’s extensive CD catalogue features a number of award-winning recordings including French prizes Diapason découverte, Diapason d’Or and Orphée d’Or and German prizes Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and ECHO Klassik. The Decca recording of Handel’s Alessandro, again featuring Cencic in the title role, has already garnered six major awards, including Opera CD of the Year for 2013 from prestigious Opera Awards. His new concert programme, Rokoko, a homage to Johann Adolf Hasse, accompanied by George Petrou and Armonia Atenea, took Max Emanuel Cencic to Metz, Monte Carlo, Bordeaux and Paris, and the CD was issued by Decca in 2014. In 2014/2015 season, Cencic’s engagements include performances at the Theater an der Wien (Andronico in Handel’s Tamerlano), at the Opéra Royal de Versailles (the title role in Johann Adolf Hasse’s Siroé and Arbace in Leonardo Vinci’s Catone in Utica) and a number of concerts.