Composers: Zelenka, Hasse, Fago, Feo, Heinichen, Terradellas
Compositions: Sacred baroque arias
Performers: Jakub Józef Orliński ct,
Il Pomo d’Oro/Maxim Emelyanychev
Catalogue Number: Erato 9029563374

Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orlin´ski has been making waves. A 2016 win at the Metropolitan Opera National Council and more than two million YouTube views of a live performance of Vivaldi’s Vedrò con mio diletto have set hearts aflutter – and that’s before you see the buff, shirtless photoshoot that accompanies this, his recording debut! Joking aside, when you launch with a recital of unknown sacred arias by mostly forgotten composers, you’d better have either dug up some serious treasure or have a voice of gold. In this case the treasure is of most impressive value and the voice is more silvery of stamp, but it’s one well worth investing in.

In fact, the repertoire is remarkable, with eight world premiere recordings, and although Zelenka and Hasse are relatively known quantities, I’ll admit to never having heard of the Neapolitans Fago or Feo. Orlin´ski opens with a ravishing aria, ravishingly sung from Nicola Fago’s Il Farone Sommerso. The same composer’s highly attractive seven-movement Confitebor Tibi, Domine is quite a find, as is his Tam Non Splendet Sol Creatus with its radiant lullaby, Dum infans iam dormit. Other gems include Zelenka’s magnificent 11-minute S’una sol sol lagrima (with wonderfully plangent oboes) from his Gesù al Calvario, Hasse’s dramatic Mea tormenta, properate! from Sanctus Petrus et Sancta Maria Magdalena, as well as fine works by Heinichen and Terradellas.

Orlin´ski’s voice is smooth, fluid and bright, a cross between the purity of Andreas Scholl and the communicative nous of Cecilia Bartoli (his diction is exemplary). Clean and clear as a bell, he’s perhaps at his best when spinning a long lyrical line (the coloratura is securely managed rather than thrilling). There’s an occasional flutter in the voice at times, but nothing too disturbing. Il Pomo d’Oro under Maxim Emelyanychev provide superbly incisive support and the recorded sound is convincingly natural. Definitely one to watch.