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Aris Christofellis

Aris Christofellis was born in Athens in 1960 and studied piano and voice at the Conservatory of Athens and the École Normale de Musique in Paris. He was the first countertenor of the modern era to revisit and give prominence to the soprano repertoire of the eighteenth century castrati – until that time, countertenors had concentrated only on the alto repertoire. He gave his first concert performance at Mai Musical de Bordeaux in 1984, and has since appeared internationally in numerous concerts and operas (Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Théâtre des Champs Elysées Paris, Theater an der Wien, Teatro Mercadante di Napoli, Teatro Arriaga Bilbao, Festival di Martina Franca, Festival Barocco del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Wiener Konzerthaus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and more). His repertoire ranges from Renaissance music down to contemporary works, with a particular focus on Baroque Italian opera of the eighteenth century. He is a specialist on eighteenth and nineteenth century vocal music ornamentation, and his musicological researches have brought many compositions of this period to light.

Christofellis has recorded for EMI Classics – L’âge d’or des castrats, Farinelli et son temps, Airs de virtuosité du XVIII siècle, Les castrats au temps de Mozart, From Distant Lands and Peoples. He also has several other recordings: Vivaldi’s Ottone in villa (Bongiovanni) and L’Olimpiade (Nuova Era), songs of the twentieth century (Berg, Ives, Barber – Sirius), Songs to the Tree of Oblivion (Sirius, 2009), Music in Shakespeare’s Time (Musica Viva), and Carissimi oratorios (Musicaimmagine). He has also performed and recorded works written specially for him by the composers Yorgos Koumendakis, Nikos Kypourgos and Lena Platonos (Sirius, Lyra). A Bononcini aria performed by Christofellis was recently included in The Record of Singing Vol. 5 (1953-2007): From the LP to the Digital Era (EMI Classics, 2009). This series collects together and documents landmark recordings in the history of opera, from 1899 down to the present day.

In 2000 Christofellis gave his last live performance and returned to Greece to begin a five-year collaboration with the Greek National Opera. He was given artistic direction over the productions of Haendel’s Serse and Alcina, Vivaldi’s Orlando furioso, and Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, teaching the works to a new generation of young Greek singers. These productions enjoyed great success, and signaled the beginning of a Baroque opera tradition in Greece. It was at this time that he also began to collaborate with the Orchestra of Colours on a regular basis, preparing and teaching thematic concerts of vocal music. He regularly gives master classes at the Athenaeum Conservatory, the Athens Conservatory, Kavala Conservatory, the New Thessaloniki Conservatory and the Nikolaos Mantzaros Conservatory. He is also a regular teacher at the annual “Suoni e luoghi del Barocco” summer academy in Sicily and OperaVerona Masterclasses. 2007 saw Christofellis collaborate with the Hellenic Festival to oversee, prepare, and teach two concerts (given at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Ancient Epidaurus Little Theatre) dedicated to the Greek years (1937-45) of Maria Callas’ career, as part of the “Maria Callas – Thirty Years On” tribute. From 2009 to 2011 he was Head of Studies of the Athens Opera Studio, a branch of the Greek National Opera dedicated to teaching a wide repertoire of vocal music to young artists. Several Aris Christofellis’s pupils are now greatly appreciated professional singers who perform worldwide in the major opera houses and concert halls.