countertenor

noun
coun·​ter·​ten·​or | \ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌte-nər \

Definition of countertenor 

: a tenor with an unusually high range (such as an alto range)

Examples of countertenor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The humans are sung by Davóne Tines in a weighty bass-baritone; the supernatural creatures in the ethereal voice of the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, delicately enhanced with electronics to give it a haunting aura. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Only the Sound Remains’ Review: Ethereal Yet Earthbound," 20 Nov. 2018 And Washington is our modern Versailles, just as sick as the palace of the French royals but without the rouge and powdered wigs and countertenors. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Trump, Blago and the cost of corruption," 1 June 2018 In inviting John Holiday, a true male soprano with a voice of soaring purity and none of the nasal virility more common of countertenors, the L.A. Phil had the best of both worlds. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "The L.A. Phil's Bernstein and Beethoven peace project," 20 Apr. 2018 Even connoisseurs argue over the true countertenor's range. Rick Schultz, latimes.com, "John Holiday, the man singing Bernstein with the highest of high voices in Disney Hall," 18 Apr. 2018 Chamber concerts feature countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and the JACK and St. Lawrence string quartets. 843-579-3100, www.spoletousa.org Tanglewood Festival: June 15-Sept. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "A selective guide to U.S. summer classical music festivals," 1 May 2018 Features many soloists from within orchestra and vocals from international sensation countertenor Iestyn Davies. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: May 1-6," 30 Apr. 2018 Franz Welser-Most, Vinay Parameswaran, Lisa Wong, conductors; Lestyn Davies, countertenor; Paul Jacobs, organ; and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. Mark Rapp, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Arts listings for April 27-May 3: Cleveland Orchestra presents Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde" & More," 26 Apr. 2018 Los Angeles Times The highest male voice in opera is the countertenor — and John Holiday is considered among the finest. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Essential Arts & Culture: Getty Villa's redo, speaker dresses and Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer — damn!," 21 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'countertenor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of countertenor

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for countertenor

Middle English countretenour part balancing the tenor, from Middle French contreteneur, from contre- + teneur tenor

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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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The first known use of countertenor was in the 15th century

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