Saturday, December 24, 2005

This countertenor thing

Sarah says:
"Do you know about Michael Maniaci? Countertenor who has sung Cherubino and I think has said he would like to sing Octavian. Now this I don't like at all. Others disagree."

Hmmm. Countertenors come into the picture because the roles they sing were actually sung by men as characters who are men. Cherubino and Octavian are boys who were both intended to be sung by women. Both composers are playing with gender identity. In both roles the characters disguise themselves as women--a woman disguised as a boy disguised as a woman. It's a great joke, part of the sexual tension of these two operas which are both entirely about sexual tension. What is the joke if they are actually sung by men?

On the other hand, I heartily approve of this. Maniaci claims to be a natural soprano and not a falsettist.  Dare I say it? A castrato would sound like this.

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