On Air Now
Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 4pm - 7pm
21 December 2017, 10:50
The countertenor should be seen as the most fearless, innovative and daring voice of them all. So why do people think it’s just a squeaky noise?
1. This question: “Why do you sing so high?”
To which the answer is always, “Because I want to.”
3. And very much this question: “Are you a boy or a girl?”
Come on. Really.
4. It’s a constant quest to prove masculinity
It really, really shouldn’t be. But inevitably, the amount of stigma attached to simply singing way up high makes one defensive.
5. Jokes about castration
Yes, in the modern world, it’s curious that it’s only the countertenors who voluntarily undergo horrifying surgery to make a poorly-remunerated living in the arts.
6. Speaking of which, just listen to how a castrati sounds. It's a different thing, people.
So, obviously the countertenor voice can be a beautiful thing when deployed correctly and sensitively, but castrati voices... wowsers. Here’s the last ever castrati singer (and the only one to make a recording), Alessandro Moreschi. Ouch.
7. Making a decision about falsetto
Do I go all fluttery and weak, or do I try and hit that note in my chest voice and risk a massive crack? #realtalk
8. There’s not exactly a huge range of material to pick from
Once you’ve worked your way through Handel and the Baroque period in general, your options are a little limited. Unless you want to start singing everything an octave higher than it was intended.
9. Singing at your natural pitch
When you spend so much time singing high, it does funny things to you.
10. You are not Andreas Scholl or Iestyn Davies
These are the only countertenors anyone in the real world has (maybe) heard of. You are not them.