I am actually smug right now, which would surprise no one who knows me, I have to admit. I’m delighted. I’m also the proud owner of an A-section ticket in the front-center.
Not only that, but David Daniels will be singing at Disney Hall the month before. Now, all I have to do is add Drew Minter, and I’ll have accumulated what I consider to be the Countertenor Triple Crown. Michael Maniaci live would be the icing on the cake! Or crown, if I may mix my metaphors.
A review (or an incoherent gush) will of course be forthcoming after the recital. He will be singing a number of the Handel Top Ten for Senesino, including “Va tacito” and the celestial “Aure deh per pieta” from Giulio Cesare in Egitto, and “Dove sei?” and “Vivi tiranno” from Rodelinda.
(He will also be singing four days later in Berkeley for those who find the Wednesday night inconvenient.)
I’m embarrassed to say that Scholl was a slow acquisition for me when
I first began investigating countertenors. I sampled all the better known counters one by one, and yet found myself returning to Scholl here and there, with his voice improving in my estimation every time, until at this point, he resides somewhere in the stratosphere. I would not class him as a miracle, as his voice is very much the perfect “dumbbell”-shaped countertenor’s voice — a baritone speaking voice over no good tenor, with a magnificent falsetto way at the other end. Scholl’s voice is not only not a square-peg voice, but is instead the most perfect voice of a very well-defined type that I’ve heard. He is almost singlehandedly responsible for the recent redefinition of the term “countertenor” to mean “falsettist” exclusively.
Most people adore his resonant, bell-like lower register (which may be why he’s so closely associated with the Senesino roles), but for me it’s his upper that stuns me with its delicacy. It’s absolutely feather-light, with none of the piercing quality of the typical falsettist who finds that he has to shriek the higher he goes in order to force the notes out. Scholl’s high register is every bit as varied and enjoys the same dynamic range as his lower (in my opinion), and can be either powerful without being piercing, or as delicate as that of any chest-voice soprano without losing its clarion nature.
He is also one of the few performers I’ve heard who seems to openly share my own convictions that