A male soprano – essentially a countertenor who is comfortable singing in the soprano range – is still considered somewhat of a rara avis. Those with the talents of 26-year-old Venezuelan singer Samuel Mariño, who even sings Verdi, are rarer still.

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Mariño’s debut solo recordingwas inspired by a 1746 concert in London featuring the music of Handel and Gluck. What an extraordinary occasion that must have been, given the generational and stylistic differences between the two composers. None of the music performed in that concert has however been included here. Instead, we have a selection of operatic excerpts by the two composers, most of which can be attached to specific singers, including the soprano castrati Gioacchino Conti and Giovanni...