For his debut on Sony Classical, violinist Luka Faulisi takes us into the ‘world of dreams’ that is Romantic opera.
Among the operatic jewels included are Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy (as made famous by Jascha Heifetz), Henryk Wieniawski’s Fantasy on Themes from Gounod’s Faust, Leopold Auer’s arrangement of ‘Lensky’s Aria’ from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin and Fausili’s own version of Violetta’s glittering aria ‘Sempre libera’ from Verdi’s La Traviata.
Faulisi, described by the great Pinchas Zukerman as a violinist ‘with a million dollar sound’, grew up near the Opéra Bastille in Paris and would often queue for autographs at the Stage Door after seeing performances.
‘Opera inhabits an ideal world of myth with its mixture of theatre, poetry, music and magnificent places,’ says the Italian-French-Serbian violinist, whose Sici lian father would serenade the family home with well-known operatic hits.
In addition to popular classics, the album’s rarities include the stunning ‘Roxana’s aria’ from King Roger, an opera from 1924 by the expressionist Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (arranged by Pawel Kochanski). Also included is Efrem Zimbalist’s fantasy on melodies from Rimsky-Korsakov’s fairytale opera Coq d’or.
Storytelling and the sensitivity of the human voices are at the heart of the album, says Faulisi. ‘I was looking for arrangements that would avoid any sense of gratuitous virtuosity and excessive ostentation.’
In a remarkable twist of fate, Faulisi came to work with his pianist on the recording, Itamar Golan, after both musicians found themselves isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Golan’s recordings with the great violinist Maxim Vengerov were among the first sounds Faulisi heard, as his mother played them to her unborn child while he was still in her womb. ‘I found it inspiring to play with Itamar and learnt so much,’ said the violinist.
Luka Fausili signed to Sony Classical in 2022 aged just 20. He studied at the Maastricht Conservatory with Boris Belkin and now at the Academy Lorenzo Perosi, Biella, Italy with Pavel Berman.