The title The 5 Countertenors, with definite article, might suggest something similar to The Three Tenors or one of the similar supergroups that have seen commercial success. That's not what happens here: the five singers represented on the album don't sing together. Instead, each is allotted a pair of arias from operas that not long ago would have been called obscure, but which these young singers and their teachers have been bringing into general circulation. Consider the startlingly light, high voice of countertenor Vince Yi, who emerged from the music program at the University of Michigan in the American Midwest, the program that also produced David Daniels. Yi is at the opposite end of the voice production spectrum from Romanian Valer Sabadus, heard in works by Jommelli and Gluck. The best-known singer is probably Croatian countertenor (and former Vienna Choir Boy) Max Emanuel Cencic. But really, each of the singers has his own virtues and transmits hope for the continued growth of the countertenor specialty. The historical-instrument group Armonia Atenea under George Petrou is light and flexible, and the sound is clear even in the high-volume highs. Think of this 2015 release not as a self-contained project, but as an advance look at the countertenors coming down the pike, and you'll really enjoy it.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
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