Tuesday, October 19

Jakub Jozef Orlinski: “The ‘break dance’ unblocks me to sing baroque” | Culture

Jakub Jozef Orlinski in Berlin in October last year.
Jakub Jozef Orlinski in Berlin in October last year.Franziska Krug / THE COUNTRY

When Jakub Jozef Orlinski appears on the scene, dressed in his tailored suits and with the hanger of a David by Michelangelo, a sigh is usually made followed by applause. When he greets the public in each city, generally in the corresponding language, the gesture usually elicits a compliment. And when he finishes singing, the apotheosis arrives. It will surely take place tomorrow and Thursday at the Madrid Canal Theaters, where he will perform alongside an already established legend, William Christie and his group Les Arts Florissants.

The 30-year-old Pole is the rising star of world baroque. In the last three seasons he has been building a phenomenon that bases its strength, curiously, on a chain of failures. Far from discouraging him, they motivated him. And William Christie, curiously, represents both sides of Orlinski’s career: success and rejection. “I do not know how many times I appeared to his selection of young singers for Le Jardin des Voix”, says the countertenor in a conversation with this newspaper by videoconference. “They never chose me,” he adds.

A festival concert, in the gardens.

William Christie: Sublime Baroque Among the Flowers

He talks about the initiative that Christie organizes periodically to choose among young people from all over the world a bouquet with whom he later puts on a show and a tour. From there, the careers of the chosen ones are launched with better than worse fortune. The teacher ended up surrendering to the evidence of this transparent, fresh, forceful and willful singer. His talent was soon captured by Paul Agnew, a close associate of Christie, who selected him when he was a student at the Juilliard School in New York. “With Agnew I have collaborated more, but with Christie it is the first time we have toured,” says Orlinski.

They have come together for a program, Mess, which qualifies as a musical magazine in which they mix arias by Rameau or Haendel with songs by Cole Porter and in which the 28-year-old French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre also stands out. Both represent the new and thriving generation of the baroque that comes with formulas to implement in the reactivation of live music. “Breaking the barrier, the wall that is often built between the public and the performers with new tools that turn the appearances more into a show, a show, than a concert ”.

Christie is perfect for the singer’s intentions. He has already put it into practice with his semi-staged shows and his relentless discovery of new talent in spaces such as the Thire Gardens. The repertoire and the genre they address lends itself to risks: “Those of us from the baroque go on our own, we are more open and experimental,” says Orlinski.

Also to dialogues and bridges that draw from other apparently alien disciplines. In your case, the practice of break dance, the skateboard or capoeira… How do these practices converge with the music of Haendel, Orlandini, Rameau, Purcell, Vivaldi? “When I get stuck rehearsing an aria I usually go to the room where I dance and loosen up. To exercise break dance unblocks me to sing. Then the voice flows afterwards with the harmony of my moving body ”, he assures.

Jakub Jozef Orlinski, in a 2020 portrait. / Michael Sharkey
Jakub Jozef Orlinski, in a 2020 portrait. / Michael Sharkey

“My first album, Sacred soulIt has to do with my childhood and the fact of having grown up in a special environment, from a family of architects ”, he explains. “I sang as a child in a choir and we performed in churches in Poland and Central Europe. I observed the spaces, the acoustics, the entire environment that fostered a mystical and spiritual connection ”. Catholic? “I was educated in a Catholic school, but then God and I have had our pluses and minuses,” he says.

What he does not lack is faith in himself, something that he has also shown on his second album, Faces of love. A faith that comes, as we said, from slapping each other. “Even if I failed miserably in contests, I knew I had something to give. I also know that I was not sufficiently prepared then. And I was not surprised either that they did not select him. It was damned bad. I knew I had to work hard. I started to do it and here I am, perhaps with a race in which luck has been with me lately and it has gone fast, but I know it comes from effort ”.

And in terms of appearance, those comparisons with Renaissance sculptures that rain down on you, to what extent do they help? “I dont know. It is not that I am not aware of what the genes have contributed, but I am not satisfied with what I have achieved so far. I am young and I have a lot to learn. Sometimes certain comments about my physique have hurt me and I understand the world we live in today, with the perpetual exposure of the networks and those things, but they no longer affect me ”.


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