Decca Classics is thrilled to announce the signing of the sensational Venezuelan male soprano Samuel Mariño. Mariño will release his new album Sopranista (a term for male soprano) on 27 May. On the album, Mariño performs castrato, soprano and ‘trouser role’ arias from the 18th century. Arias by Gluck and Mozart, more commonly performed by female voices in the centuries since castration was banned, are recorded by a male soprano voice for the first time ever. Works by Joseph Bologne and Domenico Cimarosa are given world recording premieres.
Mariño’s voice has been described by Opera as “quite simply the most extravagantly talented male soprano I have yet heard.” Despite being bullied as a teen for his high speaking voice, Mariño decided to forego surgery to lower his larynx and deepen his voice, going on to pursue a career in singing. He studied at the Conservatore de Paris and was mentored by Barbara Bonney in Salzburg. Winning the Interpretation Award in the International Singing Competition with Opéra de Marseille and the audience prize in the Neue Stimmen Competition launched his career. Shortly after, Mariño made his stage debut at the Handel Festival in Halle and was nominated by the magazine OpernWelt as the “Best Revelation Artist.”
Mariño’s unique voice and electric personality open up a world of possibility to re-imagine well-loved repertoire and bring underperformed music to light, whilst always connecting to an audience in a way completely authentic to him. As he says,
“If I want to sing a role and I am able to, then I sing it. It’s not because it’s a man or a woman or a castrati. If one day I’m wearing a dress on stage, I want you to love me like that. If another day, I’m in jeans and sneakers, I want you to love me like that as well. I’m not making a piece for a museum – I am making live art.”
It was Barbara Bonney who encouraged Mariño to focus on the Mozart soprano arias that are threaded throughout Sopranista. “She said you can sing all the Mozart castrato roles that countertenors cannot sing”, says Mariño. “She taught me them all. Idamante from Idomeneo, Aminta from Il re pastore, Sesto from La Clemenza di Tito, Cecilio in Lucio Silla, even Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, which even though it’s not a castrato role she said I had the perfect voice for.” ‘Trouser role’ arias like ‘Voi, che sapete‘ are recorded for the first ever time by a male soprano, alongside castrato arias from operas by Mozart and Gluck.
Another influence on the album are the multiple musicologists who have reached out to Mariño since he launched his career. ‘I get contacted on Facebook and Instagram all the time by musicologists who have arias for me. When I got the offer to make this recording, I said, let me contact them and let’s look at this together.’ Mariño, who in 2019 founded the period group Ensemble Teseo, is an enthusiastic champion of underperformed music. Sopranista includes world recording premieres of arias from Joseph Bologne’s 1781 L’Amant Anonyme and Domenico Cimarosa’s 1783 Oreste.
Sopranista was recorded with La Cetra Barockorchester Basel under the baton of Andrea Marcon.
Mariño makes his London debut with a highly-anticipated recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 22nd April. This spring, Marino also makes his Japanese debut in a series of Gala Concerts for Cartier at Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto with Xavier de Maistre on the 7th, 9th and 11th of April.
Helen Lewis, Executive Producer & A&R Manager at Decca Classics, says,
“Samuel’s astounding vocal ability, charisma and bold self-expression set him apart as a remarkable ambassador for classical music today. The last few years have seen him captivating audiences across Europe with programmes featuring everything from Handel to Queen. With his refreshing approach, Samuel perceives no boundaries and we are excited to partner with him on this adventure.”
Sopranista is out on 27 May on Decca Classics
The single ‘Che farò senza Euridice from Le feste d’Apollois’ is out now (Friday 25 March). Listen here.
More information on Mariño’s St Martin-in-the-Fields recital on 22 April can be found here.