Peter Culshaw, Echoes of the superstar castrato (The Telegraph, November 2)
Serge Martin, Andreas Scholl nous conte Senesino (Le Soir, November 9)
Roderic Dunnett, Andreas Scholl, Symphony Hall, Birmingham (The Independent, November 9)
Nicolas Blanmont, Dans la peau de Senesino (La Libre Belgique, November 18)
Scholl's gift is white cotton sensuality. Where David Daniels offers cut-away cups, stockings, high heels and suspenders, Scholl's Handel is pure Calvin Klein. He doesn't pounce and tear at a note, sweep it into his arms and tilt it back like a tango dancer; he merely inclines to it and expects his listeners to follow. In the languid undulations of "Cara sposa" and "Dove sei, amato bene", his tonal chastity was beguiling.Stockings? Tango? Tonal chastity? Let us not forget that the castrati, too, were sex symbols in their day. More recently, Scholl took his Senesino thing to the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, on November 17, and Jean-Louis Validire previewed it (Andreas Scholl fait revivre Il Senesino, November 17) for Le Figaro (my translation):
His imposing size does not seem to match his voice. What would be a paradox in modern life is an advantage on stage. "In the 18th century, the real hero was not a macho caricature," he explains. "To the contrary, a high voice represented the universal hero, with which both women and men could identify." That was the essence of the imagined dialogue between Porporino and the young Mozart told by Dominique Fernandez. For Andreas Scholl, it is the key to this enigma, what drove Handel to have Caesar sung by a man with a soprano voice. "At that time," the singer continues, "Baroque opera was not about everyday politics but aimed to be an exemplary depiction of human behavior."There may be a few more reviews of the concerts in Paris and Brussels last week, but I haven't found them.