<< -- 3 -- Roderic Dunnett A COUNTERTENOR VIRTUOSO
Performing full-blooded Handel opera onstage, Blaze is, he admits,
more willing to risk using his full baritone voice at certain key
moments, because ' we're looking for the cutting edge of drama -- so why
not make artistic use of the low gearchange, rather than hide it? If I was
doing that in concert, or in sacred music, I perhaps wouldn't; but there's
a couple of moments -- the fifth syllable "Vivi, tiranno"
or the start of "confusa si mirin..." on just on that first
note, for the dramatic colour -- where it works well.'
What about where the opposite is required -- a more fluted colouring?
'Countertenors like James Bowman or Michael Chance have the gift of bringing
a completely different technique to chamber and more intimate sacred music
from their dramatic approach. James has this astonishing ability to dovetail
the lower register of his falsetto, his countenor, into his baritone : he
never goes into a baritone that is gulpy, guttural, raspy -- instead he goes
into a baritone that's a mixed funny tenor-like sound on the top bits, so
it never just, you know, collapses into a different voice. The countertenor
voice has, I feel, to sound like a natural voice -- not as if you're
not hearing someone singing in a falsetto; you've got to feel that's the
sound they should be making. It's a confidence thing; relaxation
plays a huge part in that.'
In England, he points out, recordings are often dependent on very limited
rehearsal time. 'You have a rehearsal, then rehearsing on the day, and the
recording. Hence what you tend to get in a performance is what the performer
brings to the rehearsal, his or her individual qualities. What Robert King
(music director of The King's Consort, with whom both Blaze and Bowman regularly
perform and record) is amazing at is allowing his performers to do
something idiosyncratic, as well as providing them with a platform, a really
polished background, for doing so. It's thanks partly to him that James
has had such a glorious renaissance.'
Copyright © 26 December 2001
Roderic Dunnett, Worcestershire, UK
ROBIN BLAZE BIOGRAPHY/DISCOGRAPHY
THE GLYNDEBOURNE FESTIVAL (18 MAY - 25 AUGUST 2002)
GLYNDEBOURNE PERFORMANCE DIARY 2002
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