He is currently in rehearsal at English National Opera for Christopher Alden's provocative new staging of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and in the London Coliseum's royal retiring room he can be heard here chatting with Edward Seckerson about the dramatic evolution of this most particular and haunting of voices.
So much about it has changed from the era of Alfred Deller for whom Britten fashioned the role of Oberon. Now there are countless varieties of countertenor, different colours, different fachs. Davies scotches some of the myths surrounding this most sophisticated of falsettos: how it is produced, how it is maintained without recourse to "the must unkindest cut of all", how it might develop in years to come. He recalls one royal personage asking him with some degree of concern: "Does it hurt?" Ouch to that.
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