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The three countertenors: back to 4!


Homepage The three countertenors: back to 4! 2023


Samuel Mariño, Eric JurenasSiman Chung, Nicolò Balducci Countertenors

Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal

Under the high patronage of Aline Foriel-Destezet

Stefan Plewniak Conductor



The Virtuosity Competition of the Castrati


In Baroque Europe, the Castrati held an extraordinary place as the first “stars” in the history of music. Almost all Italian and trained in the conservatories of Naples, they dedicated themselves to opera careers or served in the most prestigious princely chapels, from the Vatican to the Royal Chapel of Versailles, often holding both positions simultaneously.

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In many operatic productions or sacred oratorios, from Vienna to London, the Castrati consistently took on the title role (and in Rome, all female roles) and several important roles, creating a true competition on stage. This led to an escalation of virtuosity and emotion among the singers, with the audience acting as the judge through their demands for encores and the lavish gifts given to the most adored singers. Operas were often supplemented with “suitcase arias” that the most sought-after Castrati brought with them to showcase their talents.


What if three of the best interpreters of our time also took part in this Virtuosity Competition? Enter Samuel Mariño (born in Caracas), Eric Jurenas (born in the United States), and Siman Chung (born in Busan, South Korea). Virtuoso arias, love duets, and combative trios flow from the pens of Masters Handel, Ariosti, Porpora, and Vinci, who celebrated the triumphs of the Castrati. Each one seeks to find their winner!


Produced by Les Productions de l’Opéra Royal

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Anthology of Arias for Castrati

The Hall of Mirrors of the Château de Versailles

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