Come for tea, my countertenor

Come for tea, my countertenor


norman lebrecht

December 18, 2019

Anthony Roth Costanzo has jumped in at the last moment for tonight’s New York Philharmonic Messiah, replacing an unwell Iestyn Davies.

No need to rehearse.

Anyone can sing Messiah.


  • Naomi Tamerin (a huge fan!) says:

    Wonderful Anthony!

  • Bruce says:

    1) He’s not just “anyone.”
    2) Maybe the notice is so short that there’s no time to schedule an extra rehearsal.
    3) Maybe he’s sung it before.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    “Comfort ye, my people.” He will relish the opportunity to sing some consonants, after the vowel-heavy Akhnaten (which I saw him do in London, BTW: I thought it was wonderful) Lucky New York. And get well Iestyn.

  • gerald says:

    Isn’t he more likely to be singing “He Shall Feed His Flock” and other pieces formerly sung by the contralto?

    I had never seen him perform until the Akhnaten simulcast, and I thought that in addition to excellent vocal skills, he had a most compelling stage presence. I would love to see/hear him in Handel’s Messiah.

  • kaa12840 says:

    I thought he was pretty bland yesterday at the Messiah which all in all was very disappointing event given the forces at hand; NY Phil, Harry Bicket etc. Costanzo sang with his customary pure tone but it sounded weak and unfocused and had a child like quality. It was pretty boring performance by everyone, we left before the end. I blame the ocnductor who gave some lackadaisical rhythms.

  • Sixtus says:

    Here’s hoping he’ll do it Akhnaten full-monty style. At most, in swaddling clothes.

  • christopher storey says:

    I hadn’t realised the wonderful pun in the title until I had read the comments, and even then it took a moment or two to dawn !

  • AndrewB says:

    Comfort ye / Come for tea is a Tenor aria so the wonderful Mr Costanzo won’t be singing that one, unless this is a rare edition. However I am sure many of us would love to be there to hear him in the Counter tenor / alto arias – surely a great pre – Christmas treat. Hope Iestyn is soon better too.

  • sam says:

    “Anyone can sing Messiah.”

    Not everyone can sing Messiah naked.

  • Jonathan Cable says:

    He sang it with the NY Phil last year when Jonathan Cohen conducted the performances. The NY Phil performances are basically always the same no matter who conducts, they’re basically on automatic pilot, so I’m sure ARC remembered what went on last year and just did it again.