<< -- 3 -- Tess Crebbin A BROAD CAREER
TC: And how did you become a singer? You had studied voice, of course, during your time at the conservatory, but for a long time, you had not used it.
FO: That is correct. When I was dancing, I laid my singing aside completely. I did not even practice, nothing!
TC: Yet you had a very unusual voice, even then. I am curious as to how your soprano voice came about. Your voice is one of the highest male voices that we know of in the world. How can this be?
FO: That is a very interesting question, indeed. What happened in my case was that I had a voice teacher, when I was fifteen or sixteen, who did not stop teaching me when I went through my voice change. Usually, in that case, when the male voice changes, a teacher will lay teaching aside completely, wait for the voice change of his student, and then keep teaching him again. In my case, I had a teacher who kept me singing all the way through. As a result, my high resonance developed. The high notes just came, and now I am able to sing the equivalent of a female high mezzo and some of the female high soprano notes as well.
TC: It does look rather unusual when you open your mouth and these very high notes come out.
FO: That is probably because people tend to associate a certain type of person with countertenors and I do not fit the mould. For instance, I am also a certified fitness instructor and so to me it is very important to exercise almost at professional level. So you get someone with a muscular body build and when he opens his mouth, a female-sounding voice comes out -- so, yes, I can see that some people would think this unusual.
TC: You have done so much and you have done everything at professional level. Aren't you sometimes afraid that people might say you are a jack-of-all-trades?
FO: No. To me, being multi-faceted as an artist is a good thing. I think art is like a diamond that has different sides to it and the better you are at different art forms the better your art as a whole can develop and the more depth it gets. As a singer, if you know about composing, then you have a totally different relationship to the pieces you sing. And if you sing opera, it sure helps to have acting training, even to have been an actor, because you have a different approach to your character on stage. Nowadays, I concentrate on singing and composition only.
Copyright © 1 July 2004
Tess Crebbin, Germany