La Francesina
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La Francesina

Sophie Junker and Franck-Emmanuel Comte | Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu

Interesting journey that the one of Elisabeth Duparc (? - 1778). Born in France and educated in Italy, she finally found glory in London. The „Francesina“ (The little French) counted as one of Händel’s last muses at this moment when he was progressively abandoning the splendour of the Italian opera for the spiritual elevation of the oratorio. At the time, Duparc is one of the rare French singers never to perform in her mother tongue. Händel wrote for her roles in Italian or English, including Semele, Iole (Hercules), Deidamia, Romilda (Serse), and Penseroso (Allegro, il Penseroso e il Moderato). Her contemporaries praised her tone and agility, and the testimonies of Mrs Granville - Delany or Charles Burney are spread over the qualities of her “warbling voice“ (the voice of a warbler). Handel mainly composed for her „nightingale“ arias such as “The morning lark“ (Semele) or “Nasconde the usignol“ (Deidamia).

In this program, the Belgian soprano Sophie Junker pays tribute to La Francesina and celebrates the thriving collaboration that bound her to Händel for over a decade. From opera to oratorio, this recital aims to bring to light both the voice of this singular muse and show how Händel achieves a dramatic transition between Italian opera and English oratorio. Here, Sophie Junker will be the „Nuova Francesina“ echoing Duparc in this lavish repertoire with the same energy.

Pedro-Octavio Diaz, Artistic advisor

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Cast

soprano: Sophie Junker
direction & harpsichord: Franck-Emmanuel Comte
orchestra: Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu