Michael Spyres: Espoir


1 disc set
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The debut solo recital album from acclaimed American tenor Michael Spyres. This album includes arias in French and Italian by Donizetti, Berlioz, Verdi and Rossini, as well as duets with Joyce El-Khoury, whose debut recital recording will be released alongside Michael’s.

Catalogue Number: ORR251 Categories: ,
  1. Venise, ô ma patrie Rossini, G Buy Track 0:40
  2. Dopo i lauri di vittoria Donizetti, G Buy Track 0:40
  3. Dans ces lieux Halevy, F Buy Track 0:40
  4. L’infamie! prenez ma vie! Verdi, G Buy Track 0:40
  5. Tu seras donc pour moi Halevy, F Buy Track 0:40
  6. Seul sur la terre Donizetti, G Buy Track 0:40
  7. Ils s’éloignent, je reste Auber, D Buy Track 0:40
  8. Seul pour lutter Berlioz, H Buy Track 0:40
  9. La maîtresse du Roi... Donizetti, G Buy Track 0:40
  10. De mes aïeux ombres sacrées Halevy, F Buy Track 0:40
  11. Tombe degli avi miei Donizetti, G Buy Track 0:40


The debut solo recital album from acclaimed American tenor Michael Spyres. Featuring Joyce El-Khoury with Conductor Carlo Rizzi and The Hallé.

Opera Rara will release two discs of arias – titled Espoir & Écho – recorded with Michael Spyres and Joyce El-Khoury. Brought to life by the same singers in a one-off concert performance on Bastille Day – Friday 14 July – at London’s Cadogan Hall, the two discs feature a selection of mainly French arias made famous by two leading figures of the 19th century French and Italian operatic scene: Gilbert Duprez and Julie Dorus-Gras.

Marking the company’s return to producing artist collections, the two discs were recorded in February with the Hallé and Carlo Rizzi – both of whom will also perform on 14 July – and were curated by Opera Rara’s Repertoire Consultant Roger Parker. With the aim of introducing listeners to forgotten music written by well-known composers including Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi and Berlioz, as well as lesser-known names such as Auber, Halévy and Hérold, over half of the arias recorded were given their world premières by Duprez and Dorus-Gras. While released as solo discs, both Michael and Joyce will also duet on each other’s recordings.

Hailing from Mansfield, Missouri, Michael Sypres originally set out to pursue a career in musicals before singing opera. He comes from a family of musicians who run an opera company in Springfield MO, and after studying in the US, travelled to Europe to complete his studies in Vienna. He has rapidly established a formidable reputation for his sensitive singing and astonishing vocal range, with leading roles a the Royal Opera House Coven Garden, Lyric Theatre Chicago, Opéra de Paris and Aix-en-Provence Festival. In 2017, he appeared as Don José in Carmen in Paris and sang Enée, opposite Joyce DiDonato in Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Strasbourg.

Michael starred on the Opera Rara recording of Donizetti’s Les Martyrs, which received a string of awards including Opera Recording of the Year at the International Opera Awards in 2016. He returned to Opera Rara to record Le Duc d’Albe and now we are thrilled to release his debut solo recital album, featuring 19th century repertoire synonymous with the tenor-of-his-day, Gilbert-Louis Duprez. Espoir includes arias in French and Italian by Donizetti, Berlioz, Verdi and Rossini, as well as duets with Joyce El-Khoury, whose debut recital recording will be released alongside Michael’s.



Michael Spyres (Tenor) Joyce El-Khoury (Soprano) Carlo Rizzi (Conductor) The Hallé


1 Rossini, Othello, ‘Venise, ô ma patrie’ 6’00

2 Donizetti, Rosmonda d’Inghilterra, ‘Dopo i lauri di vittoria’ 4’30

3 Halévy, Guido et Ginévra, ‘Dans ces lieux’ 9’06

4 Verdi, Jérusalem, ‘L’infamie! prenez ma vie!’ 3’59

5 Halévy, Guido et Ginévra, ‘Tu seras donc pour moi’* 12’15

6 Donizetti, Dom Sébastien, ‘Seul sur la terre’ 5’11

7 Auber, Le Lac des fées, ‘Ils s’éloignent! je reste’ 6’26

8 Berlioz, Benvenuto Cellini, ‘Seul pour lutter’ 8’35

9 Donizetti, La Favorite, ‘La maîtresse du Roi…’ 4’46

10 Halévy, La Reine de Chypre, ‘De mes aïeux ombres sacrées’ 6’45

11 Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor, ‘Tombe degli avi miei’ 9’40


The debut solo recital album from acclaimed American tenor Michael Spyres. This album includes arias in French and Italian by Donizetti, Berlioz, Verdi and Rossini, as well as duets with Joyce El-Khoury, whose debut recital recording will be released alongside Michael’s.


Das Debüt Solo Recital Album von gefeierten amerikanischen Tenor Michael Spyres. Dieses Album enthält Arien in Französisch und Italienisch von Donizetti, Berlioz, Verdi und Rossini, sowie Duette mit Joyce El-Khoury, deren Debüt-Recital-Aufnahme wird neben Michael’s veröffentlicht werden.


L’album debuttante di recital solo da acclamato tenore americano Michael Spyres. Questo album comprende le arie in francese e in italiano di Donizetti, Berlioz, Verdi e Rossini, oltre ai duetti con Joyce El-Khoury, la cui recital debuttante sarà registrata a fianco di Michael.


Le premier album de récital solo du tenor américain Michael Spyres. Cet album comprend des arias en français et en italien par Donizetti, Berlioz, Verdi et Rossini, ainsi que des duos avec Joyce El-Khoury, dont le premier album de récital sera diffusé aux côtés de Michael’s.

Press Reviews

Two complimentary recital discs from Opera Rara are exceedingly welcome for the fresh repertory they bring and allowing us to become further acquainted with singers who have not been overly exposed, though that may soon for Michael Spyres once a new recording of Les Troyens hits the shelves in the next few months


Vocal delights from... the ever-stylish Michael Spyres singing music that might have been written for him – French Grand Opera.

Gramophone Online

This brace of discs, showcasing the repertoire of 19th-century singers, offers spectacular bel canto technique and style.

The Mercury

Opera Rara, always an imaginative company with its choice of rare and forgotten opera recordings, has turned its attention to a pair of solo recital albums... It is hard to fault the playing on both albums by the Hallé under conductor Carlo Rizzi... This pair of Opera Rara albums of nineteenth-century operatic treasures from soprano Joyce El-Khoury and tenor Michael Spyres should delight opera lovers in general and admirers of French grand opera in particular.

MusicWeb International,

Both discs are a must for lovers of the repertoire.


This is effectively a double album, though the discs are sold separately. Each one features a talented young singer celebrating a great, neglected voice of the past, in mostly unfamiliar repertoire. Lebanese-Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury’s volume centres on one Julie Dorus-Gras, whose career took off in 1830s Paris before she retired in 1850. We get arias by the likes of Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Rossini and Berlioz, all delivered with infectious enthusiasm and impeccable technique. Her flexibility is startling, and there's no hint of harshness in her upper register. What really impresses is her ability to inhabit each aria, helped by some exquisite playing from Carlo Rizzi’s Hallé Orchestra... Who occupies the other disc, the favour repaid with El-Khoury joining him in a duet from Halévy’s Guido et Ginévra. Spyres gives us music associated with the legendary tenor Gilbert Duprez, renowned for his piercing high Cs and for collaborating with the aforementioned Julie Doris-Gras. Donizetti wrote several key roles with Duprez in mind. Spyres delivers them brilliantly, and numbers like “La maitresses du roi” from La Favorite are quietly marvellous. Like El-Khoury, he has a sharp dramatic sense, with every flourish driven by music and text. The high notes are tossed off with a confidence that's never wearying. Enormously enjoyable. Don’t dither about which album to purchase. Buy them both.

The Arts Desk

Indeed, El-Khoury is never less than stylish with precisely the vocal agility that this repertoire requires... and is splendidly supported by the Hallé on their very best behavior for Carlo Rizzi. If Joyce El-Khoury honors Julie Dorus-Gras on her new CD then Michael Spyres salutes the French tenor Gilbert Duprez... Two sides of the same musical coin, so if you’ve deep pocket then you should treat yourself to both of these admirable releases from Opera Rara... However, this CD is much more than musical archaeology. Spyres is a magnificent addition to that rare band of bel canto tenors who willingly sacrifice vocal heft for supple phrasing.

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Rara treats us to two new releases of distinction this month, from soprano Joyce El-Khoury and tenor Michael Spyres... both releases stand-alone but also make great companion pieces... Parisian audiences for the time were spoiled by having two such incredible singers to bring their roles to life, and fortunately we can say much the same about Spyres and El-Khoury today. Carlo Rizzi’s conducting of the Hallé cajoles and charms throughout.

The Donizetti Society Magazine

Musical history aside, these discs deserve a place to the shelves due to the extremely high quality of singing on both. El-Khoury supplies firm, sensitively coloured tone and technical finish in everything she does... A similar level of vocal expertise and interpretative expressiveness is evident throughout Spyres’s Duprez tribute, with notable highlights in the refulgent tone he pours into the Cellini aria... Carlo Rizzi conducts with a blend of security and stylistic authority, while the Hallé plays wonderfully for him.


Spyres is fearless in the high-lying parts written for Duprez... [which he accomplishes] to thrilling effect. El-Khoury is especially lovely in her limpid account of Lucia’s Fountain aria, the rare Berlioz transcription of Agathe’s aria from Weber’s Der Freischütz, and arias for both heroines, Alice and Isabelle, from Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable.

The Sunday Times

It’s good to see new tenors arriving on the scene with some regularity these days. And while there’s no new Pavarotti in town, there are some serious talents emerging, of which, I would say, the American Michael Spyres is one of the most promising. Here, well accompanied by the Hallé under the experienced Carlo Rizzi, Spyres offers a generous 78 minute recital of bel canto music... Spyres has an excellent technique, and is well able to cope with all of this music’s many technical demands... Once you have listened to this CD, I am sure you will agree a most promising future beckons for him.

Classic FM Online

Awards & Accolades

  • Classical Album of the Year Vocal nomination for 2019 Juno Awards (Écho)
  • Presto Classical, Recordings of the Year 2017 – Our Top 100
  • Espoir – Diamant Award, Opéra magazine
  • CD (Solo Recital) category nomination for 2018 International Opera Awards
  • CD (Recital) category shortlist nomination for Gramophone Awards 2018