Tenor Reinoud Van Mechelen and his Baroque ensemble A nocte temporis have selected the most beautiful arias and instrumental music from the operas of Lully and his contemporaries. The theme of the concert is the ‘haute-contre’, a rare type of high tenor voice (not to be confused with the countertenor). In 17th and 18th century France, these voices played the leading operatic roles.
One such singer was Louis Gaulard Dumesny, who had been working as a cook until the composer Jean-Baptiste Lully heard him singing and was deeply impressed by his voice. He first took to the stage in 1677, and went on to play the leading role in all of Lully’s operas. He was an excellent actor with a powerful voice, but most astonishing of all is the fact that he never learned to read music and had to learn all his parts entirely by ear.
Reinoud Van Mechelen is also a man of extraordinary talents. “His clear, high, but never shrill tenor has quickly led to a glittering career in the world of Baroque music”, according to De Standaard (2017). We expect to be hearing a lot more from him in the future!