Unique people - Michael Maniaci

A male soprano -- when he hit puberty, his vocal chords didn't change so he has this amazing voice. A good article on him at the London Times:

The man with the 300-year-old voice
Michael Maniaci's unique soprano voice gives him the air of an antique castrato

We are endlessly fascinated by the high male voice, from Jimmy Somerville to Michael Chance, from Pavarotti to Steve Tyler. But the young American singer Michael Maniaci is something else again: a real-life male soprano. "I don't sound like a counter-tenor or a woman" he explains. "It's quite unique."

He does not sing falsetto, nor does he have a baritone register, as counter-tenors do. On the other hand, he is whole and male (he obviously shaves; he assures me he is fertile). It is just that some quirk in his development led to all the appurtenances of puberty appearing except one - his larynx did not grow along with the rest of him. As a consequence, his voice never broke.

Next week the 31-year-old singer appears on stage for the first time in Britain in Tim Albery's production for Opera North of The Fortunes of King Croesus. It is the first performance here of this rare Baroque opera by Reinhard Keiser, who was a mentor to the young Handel. It had its premiere in Hamburg in 1711. Maniaci plays Atis, Croesus's son, a role that would originally have been sung by a castrato. He may be the only man on the planet who can sing this role at pitch, which goes up to a B natural, two octaves above middle C.

His WikiPedia entry: Michael Maniaci And a YouTube clip: Chi perde un momento (Handel)

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 13, 2008 10:31 AM.

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