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terça-feira, agosto 14, 2007

Andreas in Excelsis

Discriminating, imaginative and passionate, countertenor Andreas Scholl is singing more opera these days — and liking it. ADAM WASSERMAN reports

Photographed in Basel, Switzerland by Johannes
Ifkovits at the Münster von Basel

When Andreas Scholl took the stage of London's Royal Albert Hall on the Last Night of the Proms in 2005, he not only became the first countertenor to perform at the popular annual event, but given the estimated TV, radio and Internet audience of nearly 400 million people, he was also the first countertenor to sing before such an enormous crowd. By the time he had finished a trio of Handel arias with the BBC Symphony Orchestra during the program's first half, any lingering questions about the expressive capacities or popular appeal of a countertenor voice seemed irrelevant. Coming back later to ice the cake with a folk song and a Purcell air accompanied by guitarist John Williams, Scholl stole the show, in the process bringing a pristine Baroque aesthetic to an evening that has historically been devoted to brassy, populist fare. "Heaven knows what [inaugural Proms conductor] Sir Henry Wood would have said," wrote one columnist from the London Times, "had he imagined that the biggest cheers at the Last Night of his Proms would go not to his sturdily patriotic Fantasia on British Sea Songs but to a young German chap, warbling in falsetto."

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