For his new programme Arie napoletane, Max Emanuel Cencic has delved deep into the passionate musical history of this mysterious and fascinating metropolis of the Italian South. These arias seethe with passionate emotion, and explode with the brilliant virtuosity that made Neapolitan baroque opera famous.

From the late seventeenth century Naples was one of the venues for any Italian (or Italianate) composer or singer in search of fame and fortune. Great castrati like Farinelli, Senesino and Caffarelli intoxicated audiences, four conservatoires churned out star singers trained to the utmost, and composers like Alessandro Scarlatti, Leonardo Leo, Leonardo Vinci, Nicola Porpora and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi vied for public attention and private patronage.

Cencic’s selection of repertoire reflects his determination to breathe fresh life into neglected masterworks from the 17th and 18th centuries. His rich blend of technical agility, daring artistry and tonal clarity is ideally suited to his choice of works, which includes the heroic “Quel vasto, quel fiero” from Porpora’s Polifemo and “No, non vedrete mai” from Leo’s Siface. Cencic is partnered by his long-standing artistic collaborators Il Pomo d’Oro and Maxim Emelyanychev, who also performs the flamboyant solo keyboard part in Domenico Auletta’s Concerto in D.

Max Emanuel Cencic and Il Pomo d’Oro will perform works from Arie Napoletane on tour in the United States this autumn with concerts scheduled for Tougaloo College, Tulane University in New Orleans and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (16, 18 & 20 November). They return to Arie Napoletanerepertoire next year for performances in Paris, Lyon, Berne and Rouen (20, 22 & 24 January; 29 March).