Anthony Roth Costanzo: Countertenor

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. (Kim Nowacki/WQXR)

Anthony Roth Costanzo came up the theater ranks as a young kid. He started performing in local and regional theater productions around his home state of North Carolina, before taking on the Big Apple. It was in New York that he transitioned into opera and explored his potential as a countertenor. 

Over the years Costanzo, a young 31, has both battled taboos associated with countertenors and watched men with high singing voices, like Michael Jackson and Prince, rise to success. During his career he's also seen an influx of countertenor roles appearing on the world opera stage.

On this episode of Operavore with host Naomi Lewin, Costanzo talks about the rise of the countertenor and how his work on Broadway helped him to develop as an opera singer. Also on this week's episode, New York Post opera critic and Parterre Box editor James Jorden returns to talk about the shared legacy of Nellie Melba and Beverly Sills. Melba, the legendary Australian soprano, makes an appearance on season four of "Downtown Abbey," as played by Soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.


Anthony Roth Costanzo talks to 6th graders about opera, courtesy of Universal Music Classics. 


Broque pastiche devised and written by Jeremy Sams
The Enchanted Island “Forgive me, please forgive me”
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
William Christie, conductor
Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera | January 12, 2012

George Frideric Handel
Tolomeo “Stille Amare”
Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor
Cristina Stanescu, piano

George Frideric Handel
Flavio “Rompo i Lacci”
Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor
Cristina Stanescu, piano

Johann Strauss II
Die Fledermaus “Ich lade gern mir Gäste ein”
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Regina Resnik, soprano
Decca 421046

Johann Strauss II
Die Fledermaus “Ich lade gern mir Gäste ein”
Vienna Staatsoper Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Gerhard Stolze, tenor
RCA Red Seal 61949

Johann Strauss II
Die Fledermaus “Ich lade gern mir Gäste ein”
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Adam Fischer, conductor
Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera | December 27, 2013

Gaetano Donizetti
Roberto Devereux “Vivi, ingrato”
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Jussi Jalas, conductor
Beverly Sills, soprano
Millenium Classics UMD 80468

Giuseppe Verdi
La traviata “Dite alla giovine”
Nellie Melba, soprano
EMI Classics 585826-2

Manuel Ponce
New York Philharmonic
Andre Kostelanetz, conductor
Beverly Sills, soprano
Sony 60576

Comments [3]

@David from Flushing --

While I appreciate your opinion, did Strauss have top-quality countertenors around when he wrote Fledermaus? A young (and in opera terms, 31 years old is young) countertenor playing COUNT Orlofsky does not bother me.

My $0.02


Jan. 11 2014 08:24 PM
David from Flushing

I suspect that the recent popularity of countertenors is based on the mistaken assumption that they sound the same as castrati. We have a precious early Edison recording of a castrato in advanced age and he sounds very much like a female singer. Where a score calls for a countertenors, by all means use them. However, for a more authentic sound, use the ladies.

Jan. 11 2014 04:50 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

He also gave a lengthy and very informative interview during an intermission of a Sirius Live from the Met broadcast two nights ago. He is quite well prepared for his roles, understands the limits of his voice and is a true professional. I suggest listening to his interview, it is very inciteful, and he is very well schooled in his craft. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Jan. 11 2014 09:21 AM

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