What accounts for the popularity of The Three Tenors?|
Thrilling high Cs? Provocative settings? Fine tailoring?
Well if it works for them, why not for these three countertenors? After all, high Cs are child’s play to this trio, who presented the program in white tie and tails before paintings commissioned for the occasion.
3 Countertenors — Steve Bryant, Dean Suess and David Stutz — performed John Blow’s monumental Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell and songs, duets and trios of Henry Purcell, England’s greatest composer.
Seattle Baroque Orchestra Artistic Director Byron Schenkman accompanied with an ensemble of Baroque instruments featuring Baroque cellist Sarah Freiberg and Baroque recorder players David Ohannesian and Charles Coldwell.
The Blow ode is the inspiration for two paintings prepared for the performance by Seattle artist Hengst. The portraits, which framed the singers, represent the artist’s response to the score and especially its affecting lyrics by John Dryden, once England’s Poet Laureate.
The concert also included the hilarious Purcell dialogue between the persistent suitor Coridon and a reluctant damsel Mopsa, a travesty role. Closing the program in the popular — if hackneyed and commercial — “Three Tenors” tradition, the trio performed O Sole Mio to the rousing strains of Baroque recorders. The encore was a stellar performance of the ever popular “Indian Love Call.”
The countertenor voice is a male alto produced with a well trained falsetto that shares the high range of the operatic tenor but can go well beyond.
Purcell himself was a countertenor who also sang bass.