David Hansen

Counter Tenor

Biography

David Hansen was born in Sydney, Australia. He studied singing with Andrew Dalton at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and furthered his studies with James Bowman, David Harper and Graham Pushee.

David begins his 2017/18 season with the role of Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina under Andrea Marcon for the Bolshoi Theatre. This is followed by a new production of Alcina for the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe under Andreas Spering before a return to the Bolshoi Theatre, as well as concerts with Academia Montis Regalis and Alessandro De Marchi for the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci and Wigmore Hall.

Highlights of David’s 2016/17 season included a return to Den Norske Opera in the title role of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice under Rinaldo Alessandrini, Handel’s Parnasso in Festa under Marcon, Handel’s Theodora for the Händel-Festspiele Karlsruhe, Telemaco in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria under De Marchi for the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music and concerts with Brodsky Quartet.

David made his European début in 2004 for the Aix-en-Provence Festival in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Shortly thereafter, he made his UK début in concerts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Emmanuelle Haïm, as well as performing the title-role in Handel’s Fernando with Il Complesso Barocco under Alan Curtis.

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Reviews

“David Hansen, a powerhouse countertenor, grows increasingly unhinged as Nero in a performance that was wholly admirable.”

James R. Oestreich

The New York Times

“The wildly talented Australian countertenor David Hansen, who seethed with manic energy and ethical confusion, was great fun to watch—and to hear. Hansen steals the show every time he sings his impossibly difficult lines, which includes some of the most fantastic coloratura I have ever heard from a countertenor.”

Susan Miron

The Arts Fuse

More Reviews

“He sparkled in the decorative runs and jumps with energy levels never faltering.”

Howard Shepherdson, Limelight 17 October 2016

“David Hansen, a powerhouse countertenor, grows increasingly unhinged as Nero in a performance that was wholly admirable ”

James R. Oestreich, The New York Times 

“The wildly talented Australian countertenor David Hansen, who seethed with manic energy and ethical confusion, was great fun to watch—and to hear. Hansen steals the show every time he sings his impossibly difficult lines, which includes some of the most fantastic coloratura I have ever heard from a countertenor. ”

Susan Miron, The Arts Fuse 

“Countertenor David Hansen brought not only striking vocal agility to the role of Nerone (Nero), but also at key moments a certain unhinged dramatic intensity, conveying the sense of an emperor intoxicated not only by Poppea’s charms, but also by his own raw power.”

Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe 

“David Hansen, as Nerone, is a countertenor with a brilliantly dramatic manner that here not only produces riveting undulations of tone, but also an appropriately irritating quality as the self-absorbed and half-demented emperor. That the performance brings that out while still somehow enabling Nerone as a kind of romantic lead is quite a feat.”

Boston Arts Diary 

“Poppea’s role is overmatched in the score by her lover Nerone, who is called upon often to rocket suddenly into the coloratura stratosphere, which countertenor David Hansen did with extraordinary power and accuracy on Tuesday… In any case, no one in the cast could match him for vocal prowess, although tenor Zachary Wilder gave him quite a run as the emperor’s friend Lucano in the lightning-fast melismas of their duet ‘Di quel viso ridente’ in Act II. And Forsythe and Hansen blended their sounds superbly in the opera’s famous final duet, ‘Pur ti miro’. ”

David Wright, Boston Classical Review 

“You will probably never see or hear a better countertenor in the title role [Giulio Cesare]. David Hansen is dazzling, with a brilliant coloratura and a beautifully even tone. Artistic and emotional, he is highly impressive”

John Hay-Mackenzie, Herald Sun

“The big discovery for most of the audience was Australian countertenor David Hansen, who has had a meteoric rise to international fame in the last few years. He was funny two weeks ago, and hilarious here as an ambition-free young man who could not keep his shirt buttoned, or indeed even on, and who has a wickedly good sense of humor, and quite the impressive voice as well. Audiences seem totally delighted with him.”

Susan Miron, The Boston Musical Intelligencer 

“David Hansen turned in an excellent portrayal as Agrippina’s son, Nero. His Nero is the prototypic hormonal teenager boy—cocky, deeply insecure, and so full of energy as to seem borderline insane. It’s easy to extrapolate the kind of crazy despot he would become. The role of Nero has little meat on it until the last act, in which Hansen practically exploded. A highlight was his seduction attempt of Poppea (who is also being pursued by his father, Claudius), “Coll’ardor del tuo bel core.” There, he urged his shining countertenor to incredible speeds and deftly used Handel’s virtuoso to portray Nero’s mania.”

Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review 

“The Australian David Hansen is the current Shooting Star of the counter tenor galaxy. At the Innsbruck Festival concert, on Tuesday evening, at Schloss Ambras, he played the role of the legendary castrato, Farinelli, and proved that he is a vocal acrobat… The flexibility of his voice, the range and the dynamic scope, his art of ornamentation, in arias by Leonardo Vinci, Georg Friedrich Händel and Antonio Maria Bononcini, delighted the audience. ”

Morgen Vokale Zirkuskünste 

“[David Hansen’s] high notes in soprano are like lightning, the coloratura always remains supple, and his emphasis on the text allows the listener to stay present.”

Tiroler Tageszeitung 

“Hansen dazzles throughout with his vocal fireworks…, but his real strengths lie in more lyrical singing which highlights the plangent beauty of his voice. ”

BBC Music Magazine

“David Hansen, as Ottone, has agility to burn in his spectacular third act aria. With his pure-toned voice and sensitive singing, one can forget that he is playing a rather unlikeable character.”

Mark Coughlan, The Australian

“As the pretender to Griselda’s affections, countertenor David Hansen has a firm, brilliant sound in the vocally acrobatic numbers but makes no less impact in the slow arias where the edge is tempered.”

Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald

“There was a precious moment in this year’s Risør Festival of Chamber Music when I simply sat back and thought Wow! One of the artists had cancelled, and in her place came a countertenor previously unknown to me, the Australian-born David Hansen, now living in Norway. On one evening he sang a Handel cantata, on another the lament from Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”. Both were utterly mind-blowing. Hansen’s voice is virile yet mellifluous, words strongly articulated, his performing style grippingly intense and supple of character. He gave an encore of “Dido’s Lament”, ornamenting it differently from before, and I could happily have listened to him do it a third time, or even a fourth.”

Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph (UK)

“The night was dominated by David Hansen’s thrilling performance of the title role [Giulio Cesare]: his pure, agile counter-tenor produced gleaming sword-like high notes and dramatic cascading scales.”

Michael Shmith, The Age

“In the title role [Giulio Cesare], countertenor David Hansen echoed the extraordinary success of his 2008 VO Coronation of Poppea appearance, singing with great beauty and security, and negotiating Handel’s often fiendish vocal lines effortlessly.”

Peter Burch, The Australian

“The knockout performance came from counter-tenor David Hansen, who uses his beautiful voice with artistry and intelligence, and some dazzling ornamental pyrotechnics.”

Herald Sun

“Hansen gave an electrifying reading of Vivi, tiranno from Rodelinda, packed with fire, risky virtuosic flights and a breath control that bore witness to his ingenuity and stamina. Here is a young artist whose career is clearly on the up.”

The Age

“Three arias from Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda showcased the assured intonation, technical dexterity and pleasant stage presence of young Australian countertenor David Hansen. His sound is sweet, with dark timbral hues in his lower register.”

The Australian

“The first half featured the astonishing Australian counter-tenor David Hansen performing three Handel arias with the physical confidence of an Olympic athlete. The Baroque ornamentation he applied to these operatic numbers was the equivalent of a gold-medal-winning pentathlon performance, and the crowd roared with approval as he took his bows.”

SianPrior.com

“David Hansen, a brilliant young Australian-born countertenor who is singing across the world, made his local stage debut as the Roman emperor Nerone (Nero). His physical and vocal agility were astonishing and, like the rest of the cast, he delivered a powerful, emotionally charged performance.”

Peter Burch, The Australian

“David Hansen is an exceptional countertenor with barely perceptible gear-change between strong low register and rich upper range.”

George Pratt, BBC Music Magazine

““Solomon,” at Lincoln Center, was led by David Hansen, a pure-voiced young Australian who is typical of a new breed of matinée-idol countertenors.”

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“Musically, one could not have wanted a more exciting realization of Orff’s exuberant score…the counter-tenor David Hansen had no problem with the mercilessly high part that so frequently cracks up customary tenors trying to sing the poor spitted swan’s lament in forced falsetto.”

MusicalAmerica.com

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