BREAKING NEWS
L.A. Now

James Ivory

The falsetto pharaoh: The story behind the powerfully high voice in L.A. Opera's 'Akhnaten'

The falsetto pharaoh: The story behind the powerfully high voice in L.A. Opera's 'Akhnaten'

When he was 11, Anthony Roth Costanzo already was a working Broadway actor. He sang in his first opera when he was 13. Since graduating from Princeton and the Manhattan School of Music, he has been a rising star in the opera world.

Now, at 34, he is singing his biggest, most demanding role yet: Akhnaten, the revolutionary pharaoh in ancient Egypt and the title character in the minimalist opera that Philip Glass composed in 1983, when Costanzo was an infant.

That is partly because the role of Akhnaten is for a countertenor, which means that Costanzo sings with a powerful, highly controlled falsetto. His vocal range matches that of a traditional...

49°