Paul Agnew


Born: 1964
Known as of the world's foremost performers of Baroque music , tenor and counter-tenor Paul Agnew is an exceptionally prolific and versatile singer whose credits read like a survey of Western music, from the Middle Ages to modern times. Born in Glasgow, in 1964, Agnew studied music as a Choral Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford University, which means that he, in addition to his academic work, performed regularly with the chapel choir. After graduation, he joined Anthony Rooley's early music group The Consort of Musicke, also appearing with other prominent groups, including the Tallis Scholars, the Gothic Voices, and The Sixteen. In the early 1990s, Agnew embarked on a career as a soloist. His immense talent caught the eye of William Christie, conductor of Les Arts Florissants, the group known for its extraordinary performances of many forgotten masterpieces of the French Baroque. Consequently, Agnew started performing with Les Arts Florissants, soon becoming the group's star vocal soloist. His operatic debut with the ensemble was in the role of Hyppolite, in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie at the Palais Garnier, in Paris. This critically acclaimed production was taken to Nice, Caen, Montpelier, and New York. It so happened that another tenor performed the title role in the recording, but Agnew, who sang the part of Cupid, received many compliments for his exquisite rendition of the aria "Plaisirs doux vainqueurs." Another brilliant performance was the role of Jason, in the Les Arts Florissants production of Charpentier's Medée, which was also recorded with another singer in the title role. Fortunately, Agnew performed in a number of splendid Les Arts Florissants recordings, including Charpentier's cantata Orphée descendant aux enfers and Les Plaisirs de Versailles, Handel's Acis and Galatea, and Rameau's Grands Motets. The Grands Motets disc won the Gramophone Best Early Music Vocal award. In addition to his work with Les Arts Florissants, Agnew has sung with several world-class ensembles. He appeared in Purcells' King Arthur, with the English Baroque Soloists, under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner. He was also in Purcell's Dioclesian, Timon of Athens, and The Fairy Queen, with the English Consort, under the direction of Trevor Pinnock. Agnew also sang in a number of operas by Monteverdi , including Orfeo, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, and Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. Also notable are his performances in Bach's great choral works, namely, the Christmas Oratorio, Mass in B minor, St. John Passion, and St. Mark Passion. Agnew sang in Mozart's Coronation Mass, also performing the role of Arbace in Idomeneo. His contributions to the Romantic repertoire include Schubert's Lazarus and Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ. A superb performer of English Medieval and Renaissance songs, Agnew has recorded with lutenist Christopher Wilson.

There are 70 Paul Agnew recordings available.

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