Author Topic: Male Leads in Baroque Opera  (Read 2016 times)

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Offline John Vale

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Male Leads in Baroque Opera
« on: May 31, 2013, 09:26:35 AM »
I've recently been listening to a couple of operas - Handel's Julio Cesare - where the male lead was played by Sarah Connolly - a female mezzo, and Incoronazione de Poppea by Monteverdi - where a male counter tenor sang the lead. Are the voices interchangeable or did the Composers specify the voice?

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Male Leads in Baroque Opera
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 01:21:14 PM »
I've recently been listening to a couple of operas - Handel's Julio Cesare - where the male lead was played by Sarah Connolly - a female mezzo, and Incoronazione de Poppea by Monteverdi - where a male counter tenor sang the lead. Are the voices interchangeable or did the Composers specify the voice?
Uh, the lead singers in those days were usually castrati. :o :-[
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Offline John Vale

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Re: Male Leads in Baroque Opera
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 10:35:18 AM »
Ouch! glad that particular tradition has died out - so after that they had to employ either a counter tenor or a mezzo i guess - so it must be a decision for the producer i guess. McVicar's Met revival of Julius Caesar had a male lead whereas the orignal has a Mezzo - Sarah Connolly - ive not seen any excerpts from the Met one - but she was awesome in the Glyndebourne one.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Male Leads in Baroque Opera
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 10:11:31 PM »
Uh, the lead singers in those days were usually castrati. :o :-[
Usually but not always, tehere are lots of stories about Handel's skirmishes with divas like Fausta Bordoni etc.