Iestyn Davies in Conversation

Sandy Burnett talks to young British countertenor Iestyn Davies prior to his recital at Wigmore Hall on 18 November with Concerto Copenhagen, which opens the Art of the Countertenor series.

Successive concerts in this series include Bejun Mehta on Wednesday 9 December 2009 with Julius Drake, and David Daniels with John Lenehan on Sunday 21 February 2010.

The Art of the Countertenor will continue into the 2010/11 season with performances from Lawrence Zazzo, Philippe Jaroussky and Andreas Scholl.

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Podcast: Iestyn Davies in Conversation

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Music Clips

Musical excerpts are taken from Iestyn Davies & Ensemble Guadagni - Buxtehude, Purcell, Blow and Handel WHLive0038

  1. Buxtehude: Jubilate Domino
  2. Purcell: ‘What a sad, sad Fate is mine?’
  3. Handel: Nine German Arias - ‘Die ihr aus dunkeln Grüften’ HWV 208
  4. Handel: Nine German Arias – ‘Flammende Rose, Zierde der Erden’, HWV 210

The Art of the Countertenor

It was the great Alfred Deller who led the resurgence of the countertenor (or ‘male alto’) from the 1940s onwards, a movement that went hand-in-hand with a revival of interest in early music.

The mantle was later taken up by James Bowman and Michael Chance, among others, and has resulted in the past 15 years in a flourishing array of countertenors who have risen to the role’s technical and musical challenges.

Wigmore Hall’s Art of the Countertenor series presents some of today’s leading countertenors in repertoire that covers English Renaissance songs, Italian Baroque arias and Classical cantatas.