2014 Press

Jan 23, 2014 by

L’Opera Magazine (Italy)

March 2014 — Article on Italian countertenors

L'Opera Marzo2014

Almost unkonwn in Italy is the 31-year old reggiano (more precisely from Scandiano) FFB, who recently sang at Wigmore Hall in London the modern premiere of Conti’s and Metastasio’s Issipile, of which opera FFB prepared the critical edition. Countertenor doted with a huge cultural background, musicologist and “baroque stylist” of undoubted refinement, FFB graduated at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis — where he now teaches Italian diction — and became in a few years one of the hopes of Italian “countertenorism”; he is an example of one who left Italy at a young age and perfected his baroque style following the “philological” way. After being finalist in competitions [...] he imposed himself in baroque opera, especially in “drag” roles like Linfea in Cavalli’s Calisto, but also like Narciso in Agrippina or Enea in Hasse’s Didone Abbandonata (Munich 2011). In 2012 he was an excellent Tigrane (A. Scarlatti) at the Opéra de Nice. Convinced that a countertenor should not worry about repertoire limitations, FFB faces also 19th century music in concert, going from Lied to Italian chamber song (he is a sensitive interpreter of Tosti), showing always good taste and stylistic pertinency to the different styles — which confirms him as a sensitive and eclectic musician. One of his best goals has been a CD with cantatas by Scarlatti, Bononcini [...] where the tradition of the great Neapolitan vocal school lives again through a countertenor voice that chisels the expressive meaning of each word, giving to the rhetorics of baroque affects (and effects) a subtle richness of very surprising colours and shades.”

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Scarlatti — Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi

Preview before the concert (3rd April 2014)

BZ 3 April 2014 (PDF)

BZ 3Apr2014 Thumbnail

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Mit viel Gefühl interpretiert Flavio Ferri-Benedetti den Evangelisten. Seine Diktion, sein klarer Altus, vom fortissimo bis zum pianissimo optimal zu verstehen, lässt diesen Part leben und überzeugt auch durch seine “darstellerische”, die Passio ist ja ein Konzert, Fähigkeit. Seine Klage am Ende “Et inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum” berührt den Zuhörer, die Zuhörerin bis ins Innerste und setzt Massstäbe für viele Interpretationen des Evangelisten, in welcher Passio auch immer.”

Nach dem Schlusssatz des Evangelisten” Videbunt in quem transfixerunt” und den Schlussakkorden der Musiker herrscht atemlose Stille. Dann bedanken sich die zahlreich erschienen Zuhörer mit langanhaltendem Applaus für die hervorragende Leistung aller Künstler.” “Flavio Ferri-Benedetti als Initiant des Abends gilt mein besonderer Dank. Es braucht viel Mut, künstlerische Kraft und Überzeugungsarbeit einen Abend, wie ich ihn geniessen konnte, auf die Beine zu stellen und auch das finanzielle Risiko zu tragen.”

With great feeling, FFB interpreted the Evangelist. His diction, his clear alto voice, optimally understandable from fortissimo to pianissimo, brings this role to life and convinces also through his “acting” capabilites — for the Passio is, after all, also a concert. His lament at the end, “Et inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum” touched the audience to the innest and set a standard for many interpretations of the Evangelist, in whichever Passion.”

After the last Evangelist phrase ‘Videbunt in quem transfixerunt’ and the last chord, there was a breathless silence. Then, the numerous audience thanked with breathtaking applause the excellent performance of all artists involved.” “I have to thank FFB especially as initiator of this evening. It needs lots of courage, artistic strength and belief to bring to life an evening like that we enjoyed — also taking the financial risk.”

Der Neue Merker APRIL 2014

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“Die zentrale Partie des Evangelisten übernahm Ferri-Benedetti selber. Er gestaltete die Passionserzählung plastisch und überaus textverständlich. Seine farbenreiche, agile Stimme setzte er facettenreich ein, vom schneidenden Forte bis zum zarten Pianissimo beim Tod Christi. Wenn Jesus geohrfeigt wird, machte er das Ungeheuerliche dieses Vorgangs hörbar; dem Dialog zwischen dem Gekreuzigten, dessen Mutter Maria und dem Jünger Johannes verlieh er zärtliche Intimität. Das Publikum reagierte mit begeistertem Applaus.” –
“The central role of the Evangelist was performed by Ferri-Benedetti himself. He shaped the narration of the Passion plasticly and making the text extremely comprehensible. He used his agile voice, full of colours, in a multi-faceted way, from cutting forte to sweet pianissimo during the death of Jesus. When Jesus is slapped, he made the iniquity of this scene audible; he gave sweet intimacy to the dialogue between the crucified, Maria and the young John. Audience reacted with convinced applause.”
 BASELLANDSCHAFTLICHEZEITUNG 7. April 2014

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Issipile by Metastasio/Conti (1732)

Minjas Zugik @ 2014

Minjas Zugik @ 2014

London debut at Wigmore Hall with La Nuova Musica

FIVE STARS - The Independent (UK)

Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo’s translucent timbre was balanced by Flavio Ferri-Benedetti’s extraordinary combination of falsetto fruitiness and baritonal sulphur.”

The Independent
23rd Jan 2014

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FOUR STARS - The Guardian (UK)

The score, meanwhile, remained buried in a library in Vienna until it was discovered by countertenor and academic Flavio Ferri-Benedetti during his research for a doctoral thesis on Metastasio. He went on to edit the score, then to play Learchus in this knock-out performance … Lawrence Zazzo’s exquisite grace as Jason contrasted sharply with Ferri-Benedetti’s flamboyance as his rival.”

The Guardian
23rd January 2014

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Stellar set of soloists made for a thrilling musical evening...

Learchus is an anti-hero of Iago-like proportions. His intrigues and machinations were superbly rendered by countertenor Flavio Ferri-Benedetti; his relentless evil — conveyed by stunning vocal leaps from crystalline heights to resonant depths — was riveting, while his conceited pouting and strutting, embellished with tightly pulsating trills, entertained. The final scene in which Learchus, mid-way through his assassination-abduction mission, recognises his own erroneousness and imprudence and stabs himself in self-chastising remorse, was gripping. (Ferri-Benedetti is clearly the man to go to if you want to learn about Conti: currently completing a doctoral thesis on Metastasian heroines, the countertenor both prepared the edition of the score and provided the English translation of the libretto which was projected onto the wall of the Wigmore Hall cupola.)

And, what a treat for the audience to have two countertenors of such star quality to beguile them. The devil may have all the best tunes, but Lawrence Zazzo, as Giasone, equalled Ferri-Benedetti in the posing and strutting department.

Opera Today
25th Jan 2014

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Counter-tenor Flavio Ferri-Benedetti had the most. He played the treacherous villain of the piece, Learchus –the heroine’s spurned lover turned pirate, with a band of men so nasty (so the surtitles told us) that they were even “feared by sailors”. If Ferri-Benedetti displayed a proprietorial air as he swanned about, grinning with braggadocio, mischievously juggling his vocal registers, the air was deserved. For it was Ferri-Benedetii who blew the dust from the score at Vienna’s national library, edited the manuscript, and made it the subject of his doctoral thesis.”

Theartsdesk.com
23rd Jan 2014

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Just to round it off, we’ll introduce the Wigmore audience to Flavio Ferri-Benedetti, who’s not just the go-to guy for scholarship with this work, but he’s also a fabulous counter-tenor who’s almost in the Zazzo league when it comes to strutting. [...] It’s the countertenors’ show, though, and Ferri-Benedetti stole it – but given this cast, it was a close-run thing.”

Musicomh.com
24th Jan 2014

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Las lágrimas del ángel

Handel y Vivaldi en el Real Coliseo de Carlos III
(San Lorenzo de El Escorial)

Con Impetus (Ensemble Barroco de Madrid)

SCHERZO Magazine — Marzo 2014

Scherzo Marzo2014

A veces no somos conscientes de los tesoros que nos rodean, pero hoy por hoy Ferri-Benedetti es, por la belleza de su voz, por su formación técnica, por sus conocimientos musicológicos y por sus dotes para actuar, uno de los mejores contratenores del mundo (y sólo tiene 30 años). Con el cartel de “no hay entradas”, Flavio e Ímpetus llevaron al coliseo escurialense al borde del paroxismo.”

Sometimes we aren’t conscious of the treasures that are near to us, but nowadays Ferri-Benedetti is, for the beauty of his voice, for his technical preparation, for his musicological knowledge and his acting talents, one of the best countertenors in the world (and he is only 30). With a “sold out” sign, Flavio and Ensemble Impetus drove the audience to the edge of paroxysm.”

Del BLOG DE PECHO de Rubén Amón:

Igual que hay públicos demoledores y anorgásmicos, también hay públicos que sacan lo mejor de los artistas, que los incitan y los estimulan, como sucedió el sábado con Flavio Ferri-Benedetti, soberbio contratenor italiano cuya extravagancia redunda en los deberes del impacto escénico al que obedece el primer mandamiento del barroco.

Se entiende y se justifica así la teatralidad con que se desenvuelve el artista. Y no como una impostura, sino como una implicación dramatúrgica. No se trata de encadenar arias a semejanza de un menú de comida rápida, sino de identificarse con ellas en la palabra y en la música para concederles la necesaria e imponente corpulencia artística.

Fue lo que hizo Ferri-Benedetti sin distinción de los pasajes de bravura o los de “grazia”. El refinamiento  y la pulcritud con que concibió  la “Cara sposa” de “Rinaldo” cohabitaron con el virtuosismo de “Giulio Cesare” y con los alardes pirotécnicos en el trance inaugural (“Admeto”) de una primera parte dedicada al repertorio de Handel.

La segunda parte, sin lugar al descanso,  tuvo como protagonista a Vivaldi. En particular la sensibilidad y la creatividad con que el contratenor italiano afincado en Castellón concibió y resolvió la complejísima cantata “Cesate, ormai cesate”.

Tanto hacía falta un actor competente como un cantante virtuoso, así es que Ferri-Benedetti asumió el desafío desde la equidistancia. Que no desde la especulación. Decía Alfredo Kraus que un cantante nunca debe cantar con el capital, sino con los intereses. Discrepo, al menos como espectador. Y creo que discrepa Ferri-Benedetti, toda vez que su entrega absoluta venía a identificarse con la entrega del público.”

http://www.elmundo.es/blogs/elmundo/blogdepecho/

Febrero 2014

RitmoAbril2014

“Ferri-Benedetti mostró su brillante técnica vocal, su control de la dinámica y su cuidada emisión en las arias “Aure, deh, per pietà”, de Julio César, y “Cara Sposa”, de Rinaldo, y afrontó con gran valentía la cantata RV 684 de Vivaldi pese a su gran dificultad. Todo ello, unido a su gran sensibilidad, pasión y personalidad que desplegó en su improvisada escenografía, encandiló a un abarrotado teatro.” 

FB showed his brilliant vocal technique, his dynamic control and his precise emission […] and faced with great courage the Vivaldi cantata, despite its difficulty. All that together with his great sensitiveness, passion and personality, which he showed in his improvised stagings — thus exciting the fullhouse.”

RITMO — Abril de 2014

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