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Thread: Countertenors?

  1. #46
    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
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    I heard a true countertenor in recital today. This was a big black dude too. It was surprising to hear that pitch coming out of his mouth, but once one got past that, it was lovely. It didn't sound a bit falsetto.
    He performed Es ist vollbracht! from St. John Passion, J. S. Bach
    Last edited by Lunasong; Sep-14-2012 at 20:02.
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

  2. #47
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    I love any voice which is good of its kind, counter-tenors included.
    In this Handel clip both singers sound fabulous!


    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

  3. #48
    Senior Member deggial's Avatar
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    Marco Lazzara does a very good job with Venti, turbini:


  4. #49
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    I prefer avoiding countertenors as much as possible. I saw one in the sung-in-English Julius Ceasar (DVD, Handel), Bowman, who is excellent in the particular role there. I like that one countertenor in that one DVD and on the CD soundtrack of it.

    Couple weeks ago I saw Handel's Alcina live. They used a countertenor. While I prefer an also in the role of Ruggerio, this particular countertenor did a remarkably good job of it.

    Found an interesting article on countertenors and their historic castrato forefathers. Here is a quote:
    Philippe Jaroussky admitted that his cherubic sound can provoke an “element of repulsion” saying, “It’s true that there is something potentially ridiculous about this voice coming out of a man’s body. People talk about the countertenor being a third sex, or something quasi female.”
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Apr-07-2019 at 18:52.
    "Life is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Sahara of musical trash."
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  6. #50
    Senior Member LezLee's Avatar
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    The daddy of them all, probably the first ‘famous’ countertenor, the magnificent Alfred Deller.

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  8. #51
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    Here's another thrilling and heart-stopping Es ist vollbracht from the St John Passion - Suzuki recording and the countertenor is Robin Blaze (at 4:40)


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  10. #52
    Senior Member Potiphera's Avatar
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    ''I doubt sometimes whether a quiet and unagitated life would have suited me - yet I sometimes long for it.” George Byron

  11. #53
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    Falsettists can be very good but I’m not keen on the current trend in tone quality. Traditionally it would have been described as a ‘white’ sound, lacking depth and colour.

    For a more substantial sound you need a real countertenor. Here is Russell Oberlin explaining the difference. Notice how high his speaking voice is (his speaking voice has a beautiful quality to it as well):



    Here is the second part of the video when he sings:


  12. #54
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Countertenors are hit-or-miss for me, but there's one role where I really think that one is necessary- in Bach's passions. Erbarme Dich is supposed to convey the anguished penitence of Peter after betraying Christ, and hearing it sung by a woman just doesn't have the same effect for me. Andreas Scholl and Robin Blaze are very good.

  13. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoms of the Opera View Post
    Falsettists can be very good but I’m not keen on the current trend in tone quality. Traditionally it would have been described as a ‘white’ sound, lacking depth and colour.
    who are you thinking of?

  14. #56
    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    Technically and musically Franco Fagioli is a very impressive operatic countertenor. In the tradition of Italian bel canto, which included the castrati, Fagioli is able to effectively use all the vocal registers (chest, medium, high) including a strong baritone. Nicola Porpora in his aria di tempesta ‘Passaggier che sulla sponda’ written for his pupil, the famous castrato Gaetano Caffarelli, writes the first phrase in the middle octave and the second in the octave below, in order to showcase the two different voices. The castrati had the ability to show this duality, this androgyny, and it continued to be important well into the nineteenth century. In Rossini, for example, especially the trouser-roles like Tancredi or Calbo in Maometto Secondo, there’s still this emphasis on showing off the female and male qualities in the same voice.

    Last edited by RICK RIEKERT; Feb-17-2020 at 20:52.

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