Sunday, February 10, 2008

Countertenors in the Pacific Northwest - a extremely rare talent

After hearing the brilliant countertenor Gerard Thompson on opening night of Portland Opera's "Rodelinda," I began to wonder if I knew of any countertenors in the Portland area and concluded that I didn't. I quickly realized that I didn't know of any countertenors in the Pacific Northwest. During the 2004-2005 Oregon Symphony season, I got to sing (as a member of the Portland Symphonic Choir) in a series of Baroque-styled "Messiah" concerts with another outstanding countertenor, Matthew White, who stole the show with his scintillating presence and singing. White is a native of Ottawa, Canada, and I'm not sure where Thompson is from. In any case, it looks like there is a growing demand for countertenors, and it should be a field that young males singers should consider.


Anonymous said...

i am pretty sure he is from san francisco.

SMB said...

Hi James. I doubt that young male singers would "consider" becoming countertenors any more than a female singer chooses to be a contralto over a soprano - it is simply a matter of human physiology: what makes up your body also makes up your voice. David Daniels is a perfect example. Struggling with his vocal production as a tenor and possessed of an extended "party-trick" upper register, Daniels discovered his true voice through training and not a little assistance from a psychologist. But to suggest that male singers simply "try on" the countertenor voice simply doesn't jibe.

James Bash said...

Thanks for the clarification Stephen!