By Bruce Duffie

Lately, the voice-type known as "countertenor" has been getting a lot of publicity in the general market, mainly due to the film Farinelli. In musical circles, we've all known about the type and style for ages and have grown up with the performances and recordings of Alfred Deller, Russell Oberlin, and James Bowman. However, it's nice to see (and hear) the wide-spread fascination with this kind of vocalizing. In the spirit of the famous "Three Tenors," there have even been concerts and a CD of "The Three Countertenors." While those three gentlemen may (or may not) be musically solid, I would like to put forward the idea that there are indeed three (other) countertenors: Drew Minter, Derek Lee Ragin, and Jeffrey Gall. These three have been performing and making recordings all over the world in recent years, and all exemplify the art of singing in this special range.

Jeffrey Gall was born in Cleveland in 1950 and studied at Yale before beginning his career with the Waverly Consort and Pomerium Musices. Gradually assuming operatic roles in Baroque and contemporary works, he wound up being the first countertenor to sing a substantial role at the Metropolitan in 1988 (Ptolemy in Handel's Giulio Cesare). Among his audio recordings are the title role in Handel's Flavio, the role of Arsamene in Cavalli's Xerse, both on the Harmonia Mundi label, a Centaur CD of Handel cantatas, and the Smithsonian set of Messiah.  On video there is the famous Peter Sellars' production of Giulio Cesare where Gall sings the title role.

In the fall of 1986, he was performing the role of Medoro in Handel's Orlando at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Marilyn Horne sang the title role, and as is noted later, that causes a bit of a surprise. But Gall was the first countertenor I'd had the pleasure of meeting, so I learned a lot and gained a great deal of insight exploring this less-known field.

Bruce Duffie: Are you a countertenor, or a falsettist, or what?

Jeffrey Gall: I don't know what a countertenor is. Everyone seems to have a favorite definition. If you go to England, there are some who are very, very insistent that countertenor is a male who sings falsetto, period.  That is certainly one type of response to a certain type of repertory. I'm not so concerned with labels or even techniques. You need to look at the music and treat it successfully both vocally and dramatically. That means you need to use what sounds are available when they are successful in the music. For English verse-anthem writing, a pure falsetto is a good and appropriate sound, and when you consider that tradition has come out of the church choral tradition where you have men who, over the centuries, have continuously sung the treble parts along with boys and boy-altos, that works well in that acoustic, and that is a countertenor in that context. In another context, say Baroque opera, it may be something else.

BD: So it's different when you sing parts written for alto as opposed to a castrato?

JG: Some roles were written for a woman - a mezzo - and this is a modern solution to certain problems of repertory. So in this case, the roles are reversed - Orlando was written for a male castrato and is sung by Marilyn Horne; Medoro was written for a mezzo and I'm doing it. [Note: In Chicago, Gall, while singing Medoro, was understudy for Horne, and if needed, would have stepped into the title role of Orlando. He had sung the role elsewhere many times.]

BD: Which role do you prefer?

JG: I don't know - they're very, very different. Medoro is a sustained, legato, pastoral part which is something I don't often do, so it's a lot of fun for me. The staging is wonderful and the costume is marvelous. It's great fun to be in this role. Orlando is a more familiar kind of thing for me. I'm more used to coloratura roles. There would be some differences. My voice is a little bit lower and I can't hit the high notes that she does so gloriously, but I have compensatory low ones that I'd throw in. Our timbres are not dissimilar in the middle range I am told, but that's for others to judge.

BD: You say it's "a" solution. Is it the right solution?

JG: Whatever works and appeals to an audience and increases attention to this repertory and communicates the music and the text dramatically is correct. Tastes change over the years. We know that very well, and I don't see why we can't adjust the boundaries of what is "correct." Historical questions of what is accurate interpretation and proper performance practice are valuable and give us a set of guidelines for rehabilitating this wonderful repertory, but I don't think we necessarily have to treat these operas as lecture-demonstrations.

BD: So you don't feel you're educating but rather entertaining?

JG: I feel I am educating, but I hope I'm entertaining as well, and more immediately. You have to be drawn into the drama before you can begin to appreciate the distinctions between interpretations.

BD: OK, one of my favorite questions - where is the balance between the art and the entertainment?

JG: That's something that constantly shifts and will continue to do so. It certainly has over the last ten years. In this century, the tradition has been to transpose the male alto parts down an octave and have them sung by baritones. So using countertenors is something new, but not in the historical sense. We're moving toward greater accuracy, but at the same time you have to be sure you have the vocal materials and the voices and the singing actors to really enliven the music so that you don't lose the audience.

BD: If you were not singing in falsetto or head-voice, what range would you have?

JG: That may be a slightly false question. I started out as a very lightweight tenor in my student days, but the idea that one sings only in the approximate range of the speaking voice is part of a romantic approach to musical theater. Before the 19th century, those problems weren't considered to be that important. After all, a very high falsetto and a very low bass can be part of the same voice. It's not a case of an assumed or natural range, but rather what is your best range, or what I like to call the effective range. What is the "money part" of your voice, what sells, what is the most interesting, what has the most colorful, dramatic sound and expressive range. For me, that's the countertenor range which I developed first as an extension of the tenor range. Then I stopped singing tenor and concentrated exclusively on this repertory, and developed the voice upward. I use falsetto, I use voix mixe, I use chest voice.

BD: What is the most comfortable for you?

JG: It's the middle, mezzo range. One learns to deal with it. You can, to a certain degree, adjust your voice to various tessituras. The trouble with countertenors in the past has been the fact that we've been expected to sing everything from high baritone to coloratura soprano, and often on the same program. Vocally and technically speaking, that is not a very successful proposition. That's not the nature of the human instrument. Gradually, after a burst of enthusiasm, I got the message from my voice (not from my teacher) that it would be wise to settle into a specific kind of repertory. So I do try to specialize, to a certain degree, in Baroque, and especially Handel, repertory. It's of-a-piece in terms of range, and the style of composition is similar from piece to piece. The colors can be the same.

BD: So you specialize in Baroque and in the twentieth century, also?

JG: I do sing a lot of twentieth century, yes. As they were in the eighteenth century, these pieces are generally written for particular voices and particular singers. So, again, if it's not been written especially for you, the problem becomes adjusting the voice to that particular set of notes.

BD: Is this not the same as what any singer must do when confronted with a new part?

JG: Yes it is, indeed. It's exactly the same and you discover that you can or you can't adjust properly. A lot of people continue to expand their repertory over the years, and it's an experiment always. You may sing a role for a set of performances that tour around the country or around the world and discover that it's not particularly apt for you after two years of dealing with it. Or, after that two year period, you may discover that you're just beginning to get into the meaning of the role. It's not a coincidence that even today, certain voices are associated with certain kinds of repertory. These are things one discovers and it's not just a question of being presented with a part and working it into your voice. It may or may not work into the voice as well as some other part. Performing is an experiment always. You may have valid things to say about the part, but it may or may not be the great experience for you or for the audience that some other pieces have become. It's an interesting process as you develop. I think young singers in their twenties start off thinking that they are going to be the most versatile singer ever to hit the planet Earth, and they want to sing absolutely everything. It's right to be that way because you need to experiment. You know a few things and you know what your voice-type is, but the voice changes over the years as it ripens and matures, and you simply narrow your interests and find out what works well for you. After narrowing, you begin to expand again, but in a different way, on the basis of what you know you do well. You experiment with different things that extend and are similar to what you know you do well.

BD: Eighteenth-century opera has a bridge to get to twentieth-century audiences. Do you feel the countertenor has an extra bridge to get over for the new audiences?

JG: I sort of don't. You have a gap of about ten minutes to bridge. You have to present your material - vocal and technical and artistic - and you simply state the terms of performance, and I think really, for an intelligent listener, it takes maybe ten minutes to adjust to these terms. So success or failure at a performance is your own affair. I don't think you can blame it on anyone else's lack of familiarity with the instrument. It is still unfamiliar to some people, but I don't think it's so wildly different that you need to think about it. I've never felt a great barrier in all the years I've been singing countertenor. I've always felt that my performances could stand or fall - and they've done both - on their own terms. I try simply to get down to the business of communicating music and text and dramatic interest directly to an interested audience.

BD: Are the problems of cutting across the orchestra the same for a countertenor voice as for a soprano or mezzo - or tenor or baritone?

JG: I would expect so, since the technique ends up being the same. We all need reliance on the breath and sustaining a consistent focus. Those are the things that project any voice. A voice doesn't have to be huge, just well-focused and well-supported in order to project. Volume is wonderful, but a lot of volume may not cut through. Every singer has had the experience of standing next to a voice that sounds huge, but it stops at the first row. These are mysterious acoustical things, but if you have those two basic technical accomplishments and are able to sustain them, you are able to project the sound. Of course, I don't usually sing against an immense orchestra...

BD: Well, in dealing with so much Baroque music, do you prefer original instruments or modern instruments, or does it matter?

JG: They are very different experiences, and it can be confusing because I'm often asked to do the same piece back to back with different sets of instruments. And it's not just color and size, but the pitch is about a half step different. The Baroque orchestra tunes their A down to about 415, which is about a half step below the modern 440. That can be a little tricky and requires a bit of time to get used to. You sometimes need to adjust your technique - more full legato with modern instruments and more phrases with the older ones. You can also lighten the sound slightly, but you need to adjust to the timbre if you want to have good ensemble. It's difficult to do, but strange to say, my preference depends on the individual piece. Each one projects a different mood or affect.

BD: Do you adjust to the size of the house?

JG: You have to, sure. This one in Chicago needs a fairly broad treatment to fill, but from the stage it has better acoustics than, say, San Francisco with its wider stage. There, you don't get support of your sound coming back from the hall, whereas here you do. You get a comfortable sense and that's critical for controlling the intensity so you don't over sing. I've listened to other productions from out in the house, and this is a very good house. You get a lot of detail, so it's not the terrifying thing that it might look to be and seem because of the number of seats.

BD: European singers, who are used to smaller houses, often feel they have to push, but the best ones realize that it's not necessary.

JG: It takes awhile to get adjusted to that notion. Each house is different. La Scala is big, over 3000 seats, but it's a different shape. It's not as far to the back wall, but that adds to the idea that Baroque music is not appropriate for a large theater. Some were, in fact, immense in the eighteenth century, so the volume level was not expected to be so high.  People were looking for detail.

BD: Do you sing differently for microphone than for live audiences?

JG: It's really the ensemble rather than the microphone that determines it. For me, it's a more grueling situation because in spite of the fact that there is editing, it's going down forever, and all the takes become expensive. You set up a competition with yourself to do it perfectly each time.

BD: Are you basically pleased with the discs that have been issued?

JG: Yeah, I think so. There are things I'd like to change, but my voice is constantly changing - at least over the last few years. It's gotten bigger and more focused and more even, and the upper range is extended.

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BD: Why is the countertenor breed so rare?

JG: I would guess it's because of the lack of demand. I'm lucky there's plenty of work for me and for a few colleagues, but it's still viewed as a specialists' repertory. You don't have every male singer thinking that one of the possibilities is countertenor, but there are many more than when I first started to sing some dozen years ago. That's a good thing because there is a broadening variety of sounds and approaches to singing, and that's necessary because there is such a wide variety of music to be sung under the rubric of countertenor.

BD: What are the big differences between singing countertenor parts in Handel and twentieth century pieces?

JG: The twentieth century things I've sung tend to be less melodic with short phrases and a disparate compositional style. Yet you have to keep in mind the evenness that you want in the voice. I hate to say this but the new roles tend to be freaks of nature, and I'm sure it reflects a certain stereotype and plays into the audience's expectation. It's still an unfamiliar sound, so you have the task of projecting a somewhat neurotic presence onstage dramatically speaking.

BD: After the bloom in the eighteenth century, countertenor singing pretty much died out in the nineteenth century.

JG: Yes. There was a different sense of what theater was and what literature was. One of the watchwords of romantic literature was that it was a mirror of reality. Reality is the great myth, so when one presents something "real" one is actually presenting something artificial. The notion of what kinds of artifices could pass as realistic shifted, so men with low voices assumed heroic roles whereas in the eighteenth century that was never the case. The lower voices - even tenors - were reserved for older men, fathers, kings, etc. That is still the case in Chinese opera where very high voiced men do the heroes.

BD: So are you trying to bring us back to this, or are you trying to reshape the idea of what the possibilities are?

JG: That is a by-product of what happens. I am trying to sing and have a good time, and feel that I'm fulfilling the duty of a good performer, which is to project excitement about what is happening vocally and dramatically, and to convey the dramatic sense and a sense of the music and the text. When I engage the attention of the audience and I've done something successful, the evening has been worthwhile for me. Then, if people find that interesting, they may want to hear more of this repertory because it's marvelous, wonderful music.  But it does challenge people stylistically because it's not familiar, at least not in the world of opera. So it needs to be out there more so people see what the expressive nature of the music is and what the formal means of conveying those expressive moments are and how, in fact, they don't stand in the way of dramatic excitement, but just express it differently. That is what I hope I'm involved in here, to revitalize the literature by simply being a viable and interesting performer.

BD: Do you ever feel you're a slave to the voice?

JG: Oh heavens, no. It's a lot of fun. It's never felt like a trap at all.

BD: Do you sing tenor at all any more, or just countertenor? What happens if you participate with the crowd in the Star Spangled Banner at the ball game?

JG: It would be too damaging to the voice to sing out of the best range. Singing Happy Birthday at your grandmother's party becomes a social question. I'm not a chauvinist. I don't feel like I have to force the countertenor voice down people's throats when it might create a shock. Most people have a much broader range than they use for singing. A soprano has a low speaking voice and probably doesn't do much singing in her speaking range. If you pitch where a tenor sings and then speaks, the difference is not that much greater with a countertenor. It is somewhat higher, but it's not the shock that it seems at first. The point is to stay out of projecting in a range that you don't usually perform in because that affects the rest of the voice. If you have a role that's low, you don't want to interpolate too many high notes. It simply takes away from the freshness of the sound in the range that you do most of your singing. Fortunately I was interested in Baroque repertory and found a comfortable home being a countertenor.

BD: Are you glad you're a countertenor rather than a bass, or anything else?

JG: It's just where God gave me the notes. I'd rather listen to someone else who sings Wotan well than try to sing a role like that myself. That gives me joy. I'm perfectly content. The repertory I sing is exciting and largely untapped.

BD: So for you, it's ever-expanding.

JG: Absolutely, yes. For every piece that has been published in a modem edition, there are dozens that remain in manuscript. There are wonderful masterworks lying around in libraries in Naples that I have yet to sing.

BD: Will you crusade for these works?

JG: I hope to. I don't do a lot of library and archival work yet. It's rather difficult to get at some of these things if they're not in a place with easy access. Finding them in Italy is a difficult proposition because they're not catalogued. Some got burned up in fires in the opera houses, but there are plenty to be looked at - not so much Handel, but his contemporaries that are barely heard of whose work waits for us.

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BD: Did the Baroque composers write well for the voice?

JG: You have the variety that you always have. Some composers write well and some don't, but they certainly wrote for the voice first and foremost. They were interested in idiomatic writing for whatever instrument was to perform, and the premiere instrument was the voice. You read again and again in treatises and diaries and audience descriptions how marvelous instrumentalist X was because he could imitate the voice so beautifully. So that is the critical kind of consciousness that we may have lost in the twentieth century. Everybody is a specialist and you lose a kind of unity in the musical world. The old composers were not only writing for the voice, but for a specific voice. The composer's status in those days was not so high hand. They knew that if they wanted to have a success, they had to indulge the singers' whims and exploit the stars who had very powerful supporters and claques. For a great success, you'd write a great aria for a favorite singer. That meant you'd write well for the voice. So, you can assume that all the composers tried to write well for the voice, and the outstanding ones did so. That doesn't mean they were all great pieces because that's a very different issue. On the other hand, singers would learn thousands of ways to get across a third or an ascending fifth or descending seventh, and those would be the models for ornamentation for passage work. If you were a well-trained singer, you could sing those for hours because there were so many possibilities. So, the singer could sing wonderful and astonishing things. That did not mean it was necessarily well-conceived musically and harmonically. I think that Handel has a very high batting average.

BD: Do you do your own ornamentations in the da capo sections?

JG: I do some of my own and some that the conductor, in this case Sir Charles Mackerras, has worked out. It was the same back then. You could leave it to chance and someone who is familiar with the repertory could get pretty good results, but it's always best to plan what you're going to do, and it's a mistake to think that singers back then didn't. They planned very carefully what they were going to do. There were things that happened more or less spontaneously, but the more elaborate passage work, and certainly the cadenzas, were all planned in advance. Not only that, they would often sing their own signature arias before they launched into the role. They were expected to do that. Conventions were very different. The insistence to rigid adherence to certain performance techniques as homage to historical standards is quite amusing, I think. If you want to talk about that, I would guess that the most accurate way to perform these works in the spirit of the time would be to do the most outrageous things that would be guaranteed to set the composers' teeth on edge because the singers back then apparently acted up onstage and did whatever they chose, and scandalized the composers constantly with their singing of ornaments that didn't fit into the harmonic pattern and interpolating things that made the orchestra stop. They broke the rules constantly and played to the audience in shameless ways. Having said that, those people were performing within a certain tradition of ornamentation and vocalism. They knew the style because they'd learned it from the various maestri and they knew the patterns for ornamentation, so if they applied them wrong, at least they were part of the vocabulary of the day. Today we have another 250 years of musical experience that we can use to distort the picture, so you have to be somewhat careful about how free you get with those things because you can totally obliterate the music which is in an idiom that's no longer familiar.

BD: We not only have 250 years of musical development, but those same 250 years of social upheaval and cultural evolution through which the public's minds and ears must sift and accept.

JG: True.

BD: So do you have to combat this when you sing an opera from that period?

JG: As to social upheaval, that's mostly the stage-director's responsibility as to how the production is conceived. But it's an interesting problem because the main issue of presenting Baroque opera on stage is to be sure that you have stage detail that somehow underlines the units of Baroque phrasing. Those units are smaller than in romantic music. The building blocks are somewhat more abbreviated. You have to respect that and there's not a great deal of research that has been done on how eighteenth century Italian opera was staged. We know about French opera which was done with very elaborate gestures which resemble, to a degree, a nineteenth century melodrama. They had a system of almost semaphores to express certain words or emotions. That, in turn, comes from the theater where the audience might not be paying the closest attention and acoustics might be poor, so you'd both speak and "sign" your role. That carried over into French musical theater where things are throughcomposed and you don't have repeated words or elaborate melismas found in Italian music. In the Italian works, although the text is central and is to be respected, it is set rather differently. The interesting thing about eighteenth century Italian arias with texts that repeat is that it's like setting a poem. You have a respect for the crescendo, where the line is stressed, what the important part of the sentence is. That's all conveyed in the music, and then it can be set slightly differently so you have all these variations going on in the context where you're repeating the text over and over. That, in turn, presents interesting staging problems. If you choose to do something naturalistic or realistic, you have a problem. In modern terms, it's not realistic to have someone repeating the same phrase over and over and over, so that can produce a strange tension. But if you have a real sense of detail and something that responds to those smaller units, you're more likely to have a correlation between the music and the action conveyed to the audience. The music underlines the action and the action underlines the music, all set to a certain text. Having said that, we're not clear as to what kinds of gestures the Italians did. And even if we could use Baroque gestures, they are not familiar any more to modem audiences. So it's a real problem today. Maybe something could be done scenically, or with the use of poses or theatrical hand gestures, maybe surrogates on the stage, or other theatrical traditions. The strange and wonderful Peter Sellers often uses Kabuki gesture.

BD: Then when we come to Gluck, he was trying to sweep away the excesses of the period. Was he right to try and do this?

JG: Whenever you get into a polemic, you speak in a kind of code, so what's described as an excess might not be considered so 250 years later.  It means that you've gotten to a certain stage where a certain kind of artistic practice has been played out and you need something new. Gluck was ready to try something different, so he needed a polemic to get everyone's attention to his changes, and to get supporters. You had to get the support of influential people, and it's not so different today, right? First came the written attacks, then a bake-off where both composers would set the same text and see whose was most successful. It might not be artistic, but rather who was most influential, and we are the beneficiaries of it all. In my opinion, there are always excesses in every style. They can develop almost immediately. Speaking of polemics, look at the situation today between those who favor original instruments and those who use moderns. I think it's destructive because we need both in this repertory today. You have to have the moderns to interest audiences and be the front lines with something familiar. At the same time, the specialists should be doing their job of educating as well and doing the necessary research. Most performers working in opera houses today don't have the time nor the materials to do the research on Baroque performance practice. Some producers forget that it's not the style of the voice, but the strength of the performer who can successfully engage an audience and get them to focus sympathetically on what's going on onstage. Otherwise it's just a lecture-demonstration, and of interest only to scholars. It's not of no interest, but not of general interest, and you need to create theatrical magic. Producers might select performers who are malleable, but not strong enough to get the fire into the voice, and so the production becomes unintentionally pallid. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, there were lots of high voices for a very good reason. In that age, the thing that amazed and electrified an audience was how fast you could move the voice, and we know that sopranos produce the fastest coloratura. So if that's what you're looking for in the opera, you choose high voices, both male and female, because they can produce the fast notes. There was also a specialized voice that could do long, pathetic phrases and so forth. Today, it's just the same. Marilyn Horne brings down the house when she moves her voice in rapid passages.

BD: Do you feel you're appreciated by the contemporary audience?

JG: Yes, I do to the degree that one can be in this unfamiliar context. I have had a lot of positive experiences. The people who object to countertenor on principle either aren't listening or are unable to listen. In fairness to people who have qualms, I must say that the technique of countertenor singing has been evolving slowly or rapidly depending on your point of view.

BD: Do you have any advice for a young man who wants to sing countertenor?

JG: I would say find a solid, modem technique and find a sympathetic repertory and build on it. You need a consistent focus and you need to have breath if you're going to have a long singing life. If you don't, the voice just falls to tatters. If you rely only on your throat, it can't work very long, and we have hundreds and hundreds of experiences of shipwrecked voices floating around that need not have been destroyed. The issue is not singing loud or with or without vibrato. The technique releases the tension from the throat, and that can be learned now from any good teacher. Having a pretty voice means you can sing immediately, but it doesn't mean you can sing well, and you need to learn how to sing.

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Jeffrey Gall

Born: September 19, 1950 - Cleveland, Ohio

The American counter-tenor, Jeffrey Gall, studied with Arthur Burrows and at the Yale School of Music with Blake Stern. he holds degrees in Slavic languages from Princeton and Yale Universities.

Gall began his career in the mid 1970’s in the early music ensembles Waverly Consort and Pomerium Musices. He soon moved to solo roles in Baroque and contemporary opera. In 1979 he made his operatic debut in Erismena at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and in Britten's Death in Venice at the San Francisco Opera, took place in close succession. He has subsequently sung roles by Britten, Antonio Cesti, Peter Maxwell Davies, Händel, Harbison, Jommelli, Lully, Monteverdi, Mozart, Pergolesi, Purcell, Alessandro Scarlatti, Tippett and Vivaldi. He has won international acclaim for his unique combination of brilliant vocalism, theatrical gifts, and mastery of early-music styles.

Opera credits outside the USA include principal roles at La Scala, Teatro San Carlo (Naples) and La Fenice in Italy; the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Salle Garnier in France; the Monnaie in Brussels; the Netherlands Opera; the Cologne and Frankfurt Operas in Germany; the Canadian Opera, as well as the Spoleto, Edinburgh, Innsbruck, Halle, Schwetzingen, and Bordeaux Festivals. In the United States he has sung at the San Francisco, Chicago Lyric, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Boston Operas, and has made many concert appearances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Appearances throughout Europe and the USA preceded his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1988 as Ptolemy in Händel's Giulio Cesare; he was the first counter-tenor to sing a substantial role there. In 1994 he returned to the Met for Britten's Death in Venice. Other Händel roles include Polinesso and Flavio, which he has recorded.  He has also recorded for CBS, Harmonia Mundi, Erato, Nonesuch, Titanic, and Smithsonian Records, and appears in the title role on the London video of Peter Sellars' celebrated production of Handel's Giulio Cesare.

Jeffrey Gall, coordinator of MSU's vocal program, is a seasoned teacher of studio voice, having taught previously at Harvard University and at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. He has conducted clinics and master classes in both standard repertory and early-music techniques at music schools across the USA. In addition, he is a founding member of the Italian vocal ensemble Il Terzo Suono, which is dedicated to the performance of Italian vocal literature of the classical period; the ensemble has new releases on the Arts and Symphonia labels. 

[From the website of Montclair State University, where Gall is Professor of Music.]


© 1986 Bruce Duffie

This interview was held backstage at the Opera House in Chicago on November 1, 1986.  Portions of the interview, along with musical recordings, were used on WNIB in 1990 and again in 2000.  This transcription was made in 1995 and published in The Opera Journal in issue #3 of that year.  It was posted on this site in February of 2007.

Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.