Watch This Now! Bejun Mehta Sings Handel

By  | May 12, 2011 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Watch This Now!

He was despised, the often ten minute plus scena from Handel’s Messiah, is a particularly challenging aria for countertenors to deliver well. The tessitura (it was originally written for Ms. Cibber, a singer reported to have had a very broadway-esque limited range) sits low, and the text asks for a dramatic declamation and cutting tone. Listen to the way that American countertenor Bejun Mehta is able to sing on an efficiently produced partial length of vocal fold (his head voice) all the way down to A3 (the aria is in the dark key of Eb, but here is performed down a half-step at A4=415). This is a great illustration of my description of a countertenor’s lower alto range from my previous post on countertenor technique.

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Ian Howell is a countertenor based in Boston, Massachusetts. He regularly performs as a concert and operatic soloist all across North America and writes from time to time. He was educated at Yale and Capital Universities, sang with Chanticleer from 2000-04, and is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the New England Conservatory of Music. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.