Two sopranos — the light-toned yet fascinatingly unsettled Kiera Duffy (Angelica) and the dark-hued, dazzling Anya Matanovic (Dorinda) — compete for the affections of Prince Medoro, sung with exquisite control by the countertenor Brennan Hall.
…countertenor Brennan Hall sang with sweetness and clarity as the blithely vain Medoro.
Young Mr. Hall- just three years out of Indiana University – is a dazzling find, with a complex, slightly smoky timbre and a confident legato. It seems almost unfair that he should be slim enough to wear a Day-Glow mesh T-shirt without embarrassment.
Brennan Hall (Medoro) has a full voice with a strong upper register, and sings with heartbreaking sincerity.
And in case you’re wondering, thats countertenor Brennan Hall who’s bravely taking on the role of Sandy – and, notably, doing better with it than a lot of guys could do.
While Wainwright and singer Brennan Hall’s end-song a capella stands as the best showcase of the group’s vocal abilities, it’s hard to not pinpoint Byrne, standing mid-group in a shiny, green suit and asking the group, “Tell me more. Tell me more,” as the performance highlight.
The performances of the arias and ensemble pieces are alluring. Moreover, Henry Purcell’s copious use of countertenor and Brennan Hall… singing of these parts is spellbinding.
Despite questionable techniques, countertenors Brennan Hall… clearly knew their way around the style
Highlights among the duets pairing Wainwright with a guest… “Wunderbar” (from Kiss Me Kate) with counter-tenor Brennan Hall trilling in the manner of Kathryn Grayson in a 1950s MGM musical.
The countertenor Brennan Hall, whose appearance as the Egyptian deity Horus in a flooded New York dry dock was a high point of the film, more often sings Bach and Handel.
Countertenor Brennan Hall most effectively conveyed this side of the Passion, with his silky vocal production and a suave presentation. His performance of “Von den Stricken meiner Sünden” was richly expressive, and he offered the slowest “Es ist vollbracht” that I’ve ever heard live, lending the aria a deep seriousness that for me was the highlight of the entire evening. It was a reminder of why the St. John Passion is such a great work. Yes, its musical structure is ingenious, but the work’s effectiveness stems from its deep attachment to its subject matter. All that pietistic poetry is more than a curious product of a particular cultural moment; it’s a fervent outpouring of emotion, an unabashed expression of love.
San Francisco Classical Voice
Several newcomers stood out. Brennan Hall, a countertenor from the University of Indiana, possesses a remarkably rich voice throughout his range. He handled the difficult alto aria in the Agnus dei movement of the Mass with great control, employing messa di voce with an effectiveness that sent shivers down my spine. Moreover, throughout his performances, he showed admirable musical intelligence.
Glass awarded the role of Akhnaten to countertenors. This production features two who fully sing and act the part. On Friday, Brennan Hall, a Performance Diploma candidate who has focused on Early Music, used stature, physical grace, and a voice of sheen to shape an enigmatically commanding figure.
So I made it to the final Bloomington performance of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten by IU Opera. I always find Glass’ “serial” music both hypnotic and exciting: the impending, impelling evolution of his work draws me with it. And I thought orchestra and musicians both sounded great. It was also a sexy production on multiple scores, not least of which the costumes of Akhnaten himself – the countertenor I saw, Brennan Hall, could certainly pull them off, so to speak – and the Act II duet between Akhnaten and Nefertiti. There are two more performances this weekend at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis.
Countertenor Brennan Hall mesmerized the audience with the aria “It is fulfilled,” when Jesus, on the cross, asks for water but is given vinegar instead. Perfectly complemented by a solo viola da gamba’s brilliantly ornamented melody, Mr. Hall’s elegantly poignant solo was perhaps the most compelling of the delight-filled evening.
The soloists in this performance were outstanding. Aaron Sheehan carried the taxing Evangelist role with ease. And ABS veteran William Sharpe lent his expressive singing to the role of Jesus. Also notable was the young countertenor Brennan Hall, who should have a brilliant career ahead of him.
Equally striking was countertenor Brennan Hall who sang various arias. His powerful performance of No. 30 (Es ist vollbracht!) was particularly gratifying as his voice soared above the accompanying viola de gamba and violins.
Not for Fun Only
Countertenor Brennan Hall bewilderingly has the stature & build of a bass. His voice is forceful & rooted, & he sang the Agnus Dei with conviction.
The performance under founder-director Jeffrey Thomas was lucid and effective. Of the six vocalists we heard, the most memorable were countertenor Brennan Hall, singing some solos usually done by mezzo-sopranos, and lyric soprano Julianna Emanski.
As a team, they once again rose to the occasion: first in more music by Praetorius, the familiar and favored “In dulci jubilo,” and Gabrieli, a soaring “O magnum mysterium” with countertenor Brennan Hall blending angelically from the balcony and, additionally, both an exultation (“Hodie Christus natus est,” “Today Christ is born”) and a benediction.