The award-winning Max Emanuel Cencic celebrates the musical riches of Naples in his latest solo album for Decca. Arie Napoletane follows naturally from the prodigious countertenor’s critically acclaimed recording of opera arias by Hasse, Rokoko. This new album, set for international release in October 2015, comprises ten world premiere recordings of virtuoso arias by Porpora, Leo, Vinci and Alessandro Scarlatti.

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.

Arie Napoletane ranges across musical territory comparable to that explored by Cecilia Bartoli in her pioneering Sacrificium album for Decca, reviving the energy and vitality of arias that faded into obscurity with the disappearance of the castrati (male singers castrated shortly before or around puberty to preserve the pristine beauty of their boyhood voices). Cencic’s wide vocal range and insightful musicianship, cultivated since his time as a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, are here directed to the interpretation of this fine works conceived by key members of the Neapolitan School of composers.

Cencic’s curiosity about the composers of Naples, whether native-born or resident, has already resulted in award-winning recordings of complete operas, Vinci’s Artaserse and Hasse’s Siroe among them. Decca’s release this May of Vinci’s Catone in Utica, in which Cencic stars together with four fellow countertenors, climbed to fifth place in the Classic Charts Top 20, published monthly by Gfk Entertainment GmbH, as well as being hailed as “a stunner” by ClassicalSource, which noted: “We owe the rediscovery of Leonardo Vinci primarily to the determination of countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic.” It has also just been awarded “CD of the Month” by both Opera and La Clef.

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 Napoletane repertoire next year for performances in Paris, Lyon, Berne and Rouen (20, 22 & 24 January; 29 March).