Andreas Scholl, German 'Spectre' Singer, Brings Baroque Opera Into Focus

By Philip Trapp on Mar 31, 2016 04:42 PM EDT

German countertenor Andreas Scholl is spearheading a rejuvenation of baroque opera with his distinct, unadulterated voice.

The vocalist achieved mainstream recognition last year when his version of Vivaldi's "Cum Dederit," backed by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, appeared in the James Bond film, Spectre.

The singer's Baroque leanings have helped ignite a revival of interest in the operatic style. As he told the New York Times, his musical perceptions have consistently held Baroque as intrinsically accessible to modern audiences:

"I always thought Baroque opera was easier to understand than Romantic opera because it satisfies our desire to have recognizable shapes: a nice melody in the A section, followed by a B section that comments it, and then the nice melody comes again. So to me, a Handel opera is more accessible to a nonclassical listener than a Wagner opera."

Scholl, a veteran opera singer, received the 2015 Rheingau Musikpreis award at the Rheingau Musik Festival. He holds particular renown for his performances of George Frideric Handel's operas, specifically in parts originally composed for 18th century castrato singer Senesino.

The singer has a vast and eclectic discography, releasing multiple abums on both independent French label Harmonia Mundi and major label subsidiary Decca Records. In 2001, he released an album of folk songs, Wayfaring Stranger, shocking many of his opera contemporaries.

Scholl was born to a musical family and began performing at an early age. In an interview with website Classic CD, the singer charted the evolution of his musical growth from childhood:

"I sang in a boys' choir as a treble from the age of seven, so as a child I already sang like a woman! So for me it was not a big change, since I sang through the period when my voice was breaking. [...] [W]hen I first stood up as a seventeen-year-old and sang solos in the alto or mezzo-soprano range, I imagine they may have thought it strange. But for me it was never a problem accepting that I was a counter-tenor."

Scholl will be touring Europe this spring before coming to California in May. The singer will perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles on May 11, followed by a concert at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center on May 14.

Below, listen to Scholl's version of "Cum Dederit," from the film Spectre.

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TagsAndreas Scholl, James Bond, James Bond Spectre, Daniel Craig James Bond, 007

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