La Francesina: Handel's nightingale

Elisabeth Duparc was born in France, trained in Italy and rose to fame in London. La Francesina was one of Handel's last muses as he abandoned the splendour of Italian opera for the spiritual elevation of oratorio. He composed major roles for her, mainly "nightingale" arias. Most of her contemporaries praised the timbre and agility of her warbler voice.

In this programme ranging from opera to oratorio, Belgian soprano Sophie Junker pays tribute to La Francesina and explores the decade-long collaboration between her and Handel. She will be the Nuova Francesina who will respond to Duparc with the same energy in her sumptuous repertoire.


1. “Prophetic raptures swell my breast”, Joseph and his Brethren, HWV 59
2. “What passion cannot music raise and quell!”, Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day, HWV 76
3. “Và, perfido! quel cor mi tradirà”, Deidamia, HWV 42
4. “Sinfonia: Allegro Postillons”, Belshazzar, HWV 61
5. “Myself I shall adore”, Semele, HWV 58
6. Overture, Semele, HWV 58
7. “My father! Ah!”, Hercules, HWV 60
8. Musette from “Sinfonia”, The Occasional Oratorio, HWV 62
9. “Mi parto lieta sulla tua fede!”, Faramondo, HWV 39
10. “In sweetest harmony they lived”, Saul, HWV 53
11. “Nasconde l’usignol in alti rami il nido”, Deidamia, HWV 42
12. “Nè men con l’ombre d’infedeltà”, Serse, HWV 40

Sophie Junker, soprano
Franck-Emmanuel Comte, direction and harpsichord

Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu
Reynier Guerrero, solo violin
Gabriel Ferry, violin 1
Paul Monteiro, violin 1
Sayaka Shinoda, violin 2
André Costa, violin 2
Minori Deguchi, violin 2
Myriam Cambreling, viola
Aurélie Métivier, viola
Aude Walker-Viry, cello
Nicolas Janot, doublebass
Nicolas Muzy, theorbo
Elisabeth Passot, oboe
Jon Olaberria, oboe
Pierre Bats, bassoon
Florian Gazagne, bassoon
Serge Desautels, cor
Eric Villevière, cor

Stefano Aresi, artistic advisor

Label: Aparte
Recording: Temple Lanterne in Lyon, from 18 to 23 June 2019
Art direction, sound recording, editing and mix: Florent Ollivier
Editing and mastering: Franck Jaffrès
artistic advisor: Pedro-Octavio Diaz
Editing scores: Franck-Emmanuel Comte, Reynier Guerrero, Nicolas Janot et Benoît Morel
Graphism: Jean-Baptiste Millot

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