Armonico Consort return to disc on Signum with a collection of Handel arias, performed by leading counter-tenor William Towers. A noted soloist in both opera and oratorio, the programme is taken from roles which Towers has sung across his career in various productions across the globe.
Towers writes: “It is the life-affirming, live-giving aspect of Handel that I’m aiming to celebrate. So frequently his operas reveal their most devastatingly beautiful and uplifting music when life is at its darkest. Here the arias shine brightest, here we find Radamisto’s ‘Ombra cara’ and the boundlessly optimistic ‘Dopo l’orrore’, looking out beyond the darkest clouds to the faint glimmer of a dawning hope. This is the uncrushable, indomitable spirit that lies in all of us ... We just need to take the time to listen.”
William Towers read English at Cambridge University and was a postgraduate scholar at the Royal Academy of Music. He appeared extensively as a soloist in Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage and his performances in the complete Bach series have been issued on CD.
His opera engagements have included Medoro (Handel Orlando) and Farnace (Mozart Mitridate Re di Ponto) for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Oberon (Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Teatro La Fenice Venice, Teatro Petruzzelli Bari, Teatro Municipale Valli Reggio Emilia, Staatsoper Hanover, for the Royal Opera at the Linbury, and for the Aldeburgh Festival; Apollo (Britten Death in Venice) for La Monnaie Brussels, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Luxembourg Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Prague State Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Oper Frankfurt and the Bregenz Festival; Ottone (Handel Agrippina), Ruggiero (Vivaldi Orlando Furioso) and Egeo (Handel Teseo) for Frankfurt; Ottone (Handel Ottone) and Ozia (La Guiditta) at the Casa da Musica Porto; Orfeo (Gluck Orfeo) in Monte-Carlo; Ottone (Monteverdi L’incoronazione di Poppea) for the Teatro Real Madrid and Frankfurt; Orlando (Handel Orlando) at the Goettingen Festival, at the Drottningholm Theatre and with the Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco; Giunio (Porpora L’Agrippina) for the Barber Institute; Poro (Handel Poro) at the Goettingen Festival; Giulio Cesare (Handel Giulio Cesare) for Gothenburg Opera; Unulfo (Handel Rodelinda) for the Bolshoi Moscow; Marco Fabio (Caldara Lucio Papirio Dittatore) for Buxton International Festival; Radamisto (Handel Radamisto) for English Touring Opera; Cristiano Mago (Handel Rinaldo) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Lotario (Handel Lotario) for the London Handel Festival; and Eustazio (Handel Rinaldo) for Grange Park Opera.
Equally at home in contemporary work William’s roles include 5th Innocent in Harrison Birtwistle’s Minotaur for the Royal Opera Covent Garden, John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Theater Bonn, The Guest in the UK premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici, Bishop Baldwyn in Birtwistle’s Gawain, Der Leiermann in Benedict Mason’s Playing Away, Lance in the world premiere of Paul Frehner’s Sirius on Earth and Little James in Birtwistle’s The Last Supper.
His oratorio and recital schedule has featured appearances in many major venues and festivals in the UK and abroad, including the Wigmore Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Barbican Hall, Royal Albert Hall, the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, Konzerthaus Vienna, Fundación Juan March Madrid, National Auditorium Madrid, Three Choirs Festival, Ravenna Festival, Flanders Early Music Festival, the Festivale de Musique Ancienne de Lyon and La Chaise Dieu. Recent concert performances include Handel’s Solomon in Estonia and Latvia,
Handel’s Belshazzar with Nicholas McGegan in San Francisco, Bach’s Mass in B minor with Orquestra Simfonica De Les Illes Balears and Jonathan Cohen, Handel’s Messiah in Dresden with the MDR and with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Laurence Cummings, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Lars Vogt, Bach’s St John Passion with the BBCNOW and John Butt, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with the BBCNOW and Steven Devine, and the premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s Angel Fighter in the Leipzig Bach Festival.
Recent highlights have included William’s role debut as the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for Pacific Opera, Victoria Canada, and reprising the role of include reprising the role of Cristiano Mago in Rinaldo for Glyndebourne Festival Opera on tour.