View Poll Results: Yes or no?

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Thread: Counertenors, yes or no?

  1. #46
    Senior Member Figleaf's Avatar
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    For the sake of simplicity, I voted No. What we call a countertenor today- a strained, hooty male alto falsettist- is usually to be avoided. I don't know how long this type of singer has existed for, but a CD I have of historical counter tenors has several examples, presumably drawn from the English choral tradition. Hatherley Clarke is among the featured singers, and he sounds fairly similar to the moderns, and certainly no more appealing to my ear:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gB_o8PSGREY

    The once popular Will Oakland also there, and is better- less hooty, clearer diction- and his style is quite unlike what we hear today:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b0RuHNF_ojg

    Still, we have to ask what we mean by countertenor: do we necessarily mean a falsettist, or might we include a very high tenor- perhaps corresponding to the historical 'tenore contraltino- who is physically normal and not reliant on falsetto? Gennady Pischaev is an example that springs to mind, and his is a voice I am always glad to listen to. What about very high voiced men who have not undergone a normal puberty and who may or may not use falsetto extensively, e.g. the aforementioned Yoshikazu Mera, and very probably Richard Jose too, who of course sang in a very different style? Mera is interesting- his high notes have an ethereal, Moreschi-like quality, but he probably doesn't sound that much like the great operatic castrati, whose distinctive sound was largely a result of a training regimen that aimed to build power, breath control and ability in florid music, including the composition of ornaments. Without that power (see those amazing barrel chests the castrati had!) Mera is left sounding rather like a woman. A woman's sound is of course aesthetically preferable to that of a falsettist, since the constant use of falsetto produces a displeasing and necessarily constricted tone and greatly limits volume and ability to colour the voice. I would see the countertenor, however we define the term, as a completely legitimate voice type, provided the person in question has a sufficiently high natural range to avoid over reliance on falsetto. Such voices must be incredibly rare, but can be worth the wait. Here's Richard Jose- a slightly ghoulish but fascinating sound:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1EvcHRbYYjY

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Figleaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar View Post
    Yes to countertenors!

    Philippe Jaroussky is the closest I ever hope to get to hearing the voice of an angel.



    Personally I like my angels to sound a little more conventionally masculine- I've always envisioned the heavenly host sounding like a youthful John McCormack- but there's no doubt that the handsome young Mr Jaroussky produces an attractive tone... for a countertenor. The exception that proves the rule!

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  5. #48
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Figleaf View Post
    Personally I like my angels to sound a little more conventionally masculine- I've always envisioned the heavenly host sounding like a youthful John McCormack- but there's no doubt that the handsome young Mr Jaroussky produces an attractive tone... for a countertenor. The exception that proves the rule!
    Not the only exception




    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Dec-03-2015 at 21:31.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  7. #49
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    whatever you do, don't talk smack on countertenors on operatalk (facebook). I innocuously stated "falsetto is overrated"....and like 5 people attacked me like a bunch of jealous, menstruating divas. the best part was that it was all guys. most of the women were like "he's right, gimme some baritone"

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  9. #50
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    Not the only exception




    david daniels kinda reminds me of Ewa Podles in a man's body :P

  10. #51
    Senior Member Metairie Road's Avatar
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    My daughter got me Franco Fagioli's Arias For Caffarelli CD for Christmas. Took me a little time to get used to his voice (about a day), now I can't get enough, I've become a Fagioli fanboy.

    The counter tenors have certainly opened up a new area of exploration for me - baroque and early classical opera.

    If counter tenors in 'male' roles are too freaky for you then stay with the ladies in breeches.

    Franco Fagioli - 'Vo solcando un mar crudele' from Artaserse (Vinci)


    I have nothing against ladies in trousers, I'm very open minded.

    Simone Kermes - 'Vo solcando un mar crudele' from Artaserse (Vinci)


    Best wishes
    Metairie Road

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  12. #52
    Senior Member Badinerie's Avatar
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    It took a while for me to get used to Countertenor. At first it was as if I was watching Natalie Dessay sing and Bryn Terfel's voice was coming out of her mouth.
    What helped me was the excellent "The Enchanted Island" DVD Featuring David Daniels.
    So I voted yes. Its no different to Boy Soprano really.

    Last edited by Badinerie; Mar-01-2016 at 09:51.
    Did I miss something already?

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  14. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metairie Road View Post
    Took me a little time to get used to his voice (about a day), now I can't get enough, I've become a Fagioli fanboy.
    Franco Fagioli - 'Vo solcando un mar crudele' from Artaserse (Vinci)
    [/video]
    I'm a big fan of his, too. That sensational live performance of "Vo solcando" gives us a fair idea of why the 18th century opera audiences went doolally over superstars like Farinelli in the first place.

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  16. #54
    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    I don't have a problem with countertenors; some of them sound fantastic. I'm not too keen on tenors; I'll think about that a little.

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  18. #55
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    I don't have a problem with countertenors; some of them sound fantastic. I'm not too keen on tenors; I'll think about that a little.
    I like tenors who are masculine and dark and sing with a sense of authority, but overall, I sympathize (low male voices have so much more richness).

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  20. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalalaikaBoy View Post
    I like tenors who are masculine and dark and sing with a sense of authority, but overall, I sympathize (low male voices have so much more richness).
    Specially for you
    Best off both worlds




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  22. #57
    MacLeod
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    I think the tenor of this thread should be countered.

  23. #58
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Specially for you
    Best off both worlds
    yes, he came to mind immediately. others include
    - Franco Corelli (duh lol)
    - Anatoly Solovyanenko
    - James King
    - Set Svanholm
    - Giuseppe Giacomini (he's hit/miss, but when it's a hit.....WOW!)

  24. #59
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    I voted Yes! Countertenors because I’ve been enchanted with the singing of Max Emmanuel Cencic, also,Philippe Jaroussky and, lately, Jakub Josef Orlinski. The voices range widely from Max’s mezzo to Philippe’s high soprano,to more central Jakub.

    CF92BF5A-B4D0-4AF6-AEC7-CE2185AA9EF6.jpeg

    B5AF0EBC-20AF-4D16-B0E8-B5C9FCCB82BD.jpeg

    D6730EB2-851F-4097-9C67-346DF7E58165.jpg

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  26. #60
    Senior Member Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Having sung countertenor until I was 40 I have to say yes. To add to those already mentioned I would add Yoshikazu Mera, (he may look like a young lad but he's 49).




    I'm like my avatar .................. a local ruin

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