are a niche element of the classical music world -- according to Khodr there are only 52 working countertenors
-- but in these baroque-obsessed times, when Handel operas seem to be more frequently revived than the crowd-pleasers of Giacomo Puccini or Georges Bizet, it can be tricky for a countertenor
to offer something new.
His vocal range spans six octaves - even more than soul singer Mariah Carey - and ranked a countertenor
, he is the male equivalent to a female mezzo-soprano.
These days, such roles are taken either by women or by countertenors
, who are able to attain the dulcet tones of the upper registers without recourse to the rather brutal method of castration.
It's wonderful to see the positive effect of liberation on a cultural phenomenon," In a sense, Daniels has single-handedly paved the way for a whole generation of new countertenors
Fresh from his star-making turn as pan-sexual emperor Nero, countertenor
David Walker comes out--and prepares for his hottest season
Beneath all this were some fine musical performances, with Claire Booth a touching Emilia, and countertenors
Andrew Radley and Stephen Wallace projecting with much clarity as Flavio and the tragic Guido respectively.
The resurgence of interest in early opera has brought new recognition to countertenors
, essentially male altos singing in falsetto.
Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose, Carreras may have appeared as "the three tenors" in numerous concert venues, but they have never sung together in one complete opera, Enter the three countertenors
: David Daniels, David Walker, and Bejun Mehta, who will sing in the Los Angeles Opera's February 23-March 10 production of Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, This version of Giulio Cesare, which premiered at and was created by Opera Australia, marks the first time three countertenors
have ever sung this opera, says Peter Somogyi, the Los Angeles Opera's artistic Coordinator.
So let me say that sopranos Manuela Bisceglie and Deanna Breiwick, countertenors
David Trudgen and Gerald Thompson, mezzos Renee Tatum and Cecelia Hall (the latter en travestie as Theseus himself) were all splendid, under the authoritative baton of Michael Beattie, leading 22 members of Chicago's resident early music ensemble, the Baroque Band, playing elegantly.
In the world of opera, countertenors
are a strange breed.
As with many English countertenors
, something about Robin Blaze's technique seems antithetical to producing an Italianate "e" sound.
Students Dixie and her husband, retired tenor William Neill, have taught over the years include tenors Ben Heppner, Benjamin Butterfield and Ross Neill (William and Dixie's son), countertenors
Daniel Taylor and Matthew White, baritones Andrew Tees and Joshua Hopkins, mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah and soprano Frederique Vezina.