Countertenor Andreas Scholl
Countertenor Andreas Scholl from Germany was the featured soloist in a concert with the Tel Aviv Soloists, conducted by Barak Tal and sponsored by the Jerusalem Music Center.
Unlike their colleagues in the past, present-day countertenors do not need anymore to be castrated in order to cultivate a high-pitched voice. An additional present day advantage is the ability to retain a virile timbre, despite an alto-like voice.
Scholl's vocal charm is captivating - radiating beauty and purity, without sounding effeminate. His range is phenomenal, from a soprano-like high register to the lowest sounds of a "normal" tenor. He transitions between these registers effortlessly, and must be heard to be believed. Moreover, he displays the most delicate nuances of dynamics, from a forceful fortissimo to a subtle pianissimo.
The program's main attraction was Vivaldi's "Stabat Mater". In this work Scholl achieved moving lyrical expression, not commonly associated with the Baroque. In the aria Cessate, however, he revealed another, less well-known aspect of Vivaldi. His rendition reminded one that Vivaldi was also a composer of some 40 operas, in which he displays an enormous flair for dramatic intensity and effects. Scholl conveyed Vivaldi's and Handel's dramatic compositions with full power of conviction and formidable technical skill- particularly in the intricate coloraturas.
The Tel Aviv Soloists were also appealingly animated, firmly consolidated, and meticulously well rehearsed.