Singers: Lonely As a Lark

A strapping man (6 ft. 2 in., 203 lbs.) with a greying Vandyke beard strode on stage at Manhattan's Town Hall last week. An imposing figure in white tie and tails, he waited as the 27-piece Esterhazy Orchestra played the first lilting strains of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Then, clasping his hands, Alfred Deller began to sing. The contrast was startling: out of this burly frame poured the extraordinarily high, bell-clear voice of that rarest of all male singers, the countertenor.

A freak? Not at all, just a voice so seldom heard today as to sound strangely neuter at first...

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