Countertenor: Directors keep thinking I’m gay

Countertenor: Directors keep thinking I’m gay


norman lebrecht

July 12, 2016

From the running blog of an anonymous American opera singer in Europe:

My male friends have also constantly relayed endless stories about working with directors that feel that because they are out of the closet that they can say any filthy thing they like to the new counter tenor.

“He says I’m gay and I don’t know it, he keeps touching me and whispering filthy things in my ear.”

If I was a mechanic, I could point to how fast I could change someone’s oil, or as a lawyer: a conviction rate.  But for us musicians, it’s just up to someone’s “idea” of what they think a role should sound like.  Even when you seemingly have the facts on your side.  (I’ll list some of these facts a little later to demonstrate my point.)

Read on here.

robot berlin


  • R. Brite says:

    It used to be worse – well, worse on many counts, but I’m thinking in particular of an interview many decades ago with, if memory serves (increasingly unlikely), Russell Oberlin in which he complained that, as soon as he opened his mouth and started singing, he could see all the opera glasses in the house drop to his crotch.

    • R. Brite says:

      Which is not to imply that I think the sort of sexual harassment described here is OK, even by comparison.

  • John Borstlap says:

    A story full of disgusting details, and good to hear of them. These perpetrators are the parasites of the art form and should be kicked-out, without any considertion of their musical abilities. Improving the working climate will also improve musical achievement. Audiences should know what kind of things happen backstage.

  • Steven Holloway says:

    People would really get the feel of what it’s like backstage and in the admin. offices of an opera company if they could see the BBC documentary on the Royal Opera House — a P.O.V. production with pinhole cameras and hidden mics. The producers could not catch everything, of course, and certainly not the worst, but it was a shocker for all that. I felt that many employees on the admin. side were there not for love of opera, but because the hermetic and unmistakable culture of an opera house was of the sort in which they’d always wanted to live. Shame that programme isn’t on YT.

  • MWnyc says:

    “He says I’m gay and I don’t know it, he keeps touching me and whispering filthy things in my ear.”

    If that’s not an appropriate occasion for a bitch-slap, I don’t know what is.

  • Alexander says:

    Can anybody explain to me what an Aquarius tenor is? I know a lyric tenor, a dramatic tenor, a heroic tenor, and so on, but I have never heard of an Aquarius tenor. Does it mean that he was formerly a member of the now defunct contemporary music group Aquarius? Or does it mean that he has recorded on the Russian label (unknown to me until today) Aquarius Classical? I did wonder whether Aquarius was the name of his management, but I know of artist management by that name. Nor can I find a conservatoire named Aquarius. I am well and truly perplexed!