Philippe Jaroussky is perhaps the most prominent French counter tenor of the century. He has a voice of great power and beauty ? ?the tone of an angel and the virtuosity of the Devil,? one French critic wrote.
But a counter tenor? It?s important to note that this is a conscious choice for the male singer. He could sing baritone or bass, but chooses to, as voice teacher David Jones phrases it, sing what is a female sound in a male body.
What does it take to enter this field? One must be both courageous and gifted, adventuresome, forward-thinking and extremely agile. The music demands consummate artistry and high hurdles for the voice. Jaroussky ?seems to have endless breath, singing long extended lines with total ease,? writes one reviewer.
An Aquarius with Gemini rising, Philippe Jaroussky seems to have what it takes.
According to voice teacher, David Jones, the counter tenor is a voice type often misunderstood, sometimes thought as a ?freak of nature.? As to why someone would choose to do this, Jones postulates: ?Perhaps this gets attention. It is certainly the aspect of the counter tenor that fascinates audiences.? Jones feels there is a definite personality type connected.
Counter tenors must develop the falsetto voice with such strength that it has power and resonance similar to a full-voiced sound. The lower the original voice, the stronger and more beautiful the falsetto. To do this, they must ?hold back tremendous amounts of breath pressure with the body? and have tremendous agility.
Take a look at Jaroussky singing a Vivaldi aria as he wins 2007 Best French lyrical award. This happened at his Saturn Return ? of course. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zQX2XqAE8c .
Now lets look at Jaroussky?s chart. He was born February 13, 1978 in Maisons Lafitte, France. He studied violin first, receiving a diploma in violin performance from the Paris Conservatory, department of Ancient Music. In 1996, he began vocal studies and made the decision to be a counter tenor.
Sun in Aquarius gives him the ability to span centuries and always want what?s new and different. Most of the works for counter tenors are Monteverdi (this is going waaay back), Vivaldi, Handel ? Baroque. They are so old they are new. Being bored with the status quo is what Aquarius is all about. Making this decision is the sort of offbeat things Aquarians do. With that extremely objective mind and good powers of observation, he could study the field and find a niche, just quirky enough, that would really make his career go. After all, he could be just another of the hundreds, even thousands, of baritones out there.
The incredible agility is typical of Gemini rising. They are extremely active by nature. Take a look at his face and vocal movements and then listen to how fast he talks when he receives the award. It?s quick as Mercury. Gemini rising needs to be involved in many things, and all the travel this sort of career requires should be especially enjoyable to him. He went from violin, to voice, and then formed his own instrumental ensemble, Artaserse. That was something NEW he could do.
With Mercury in 14 degrees Aquarius, we seal the deal. An original thinker who enjoys shocking others. Well what were we saying. There is always fascination when we hear/watch a counter tenor. This Mercury demands mental and intellectual stimulation, and this is something to learn that requires that sort of work.
The discipline and breathwork it takes, is in the Taurus moon. Along with this incredible agility there is the steadiness and calmness. The Moon is how the person feels. While he is cavorting all over the musical scale, he?s very centered. If you watch the video you will notice that he is not the slightest bit nervous. This is a mercurial energy, not nervous energy, and it plays against a solid backbeat. We get the sense this performance ? extremely rigorous ? does not exhaust him, as it might someone with another sign and rising sign.
Enjoying being offbeat it also in his Mercury at 14 Degrees Aquarius and his Venus at 29 degrees. He even attracts friends who are exciting, different, and sometimes even odd.
With his chart, he would become angry easily if he felt he were slighted (wonder what would?ve happened had he not gotten the award), and it?s best he show it and deal with it immediately. His fluid emotional expressions would reveal that he probably does this, in a very fluid manner, which is the best style for him. He is obviously thrilled to receive the award, and would never think of hiding it.
Yes, with Jupiter in 26 degrees Gemini, he just loves a big problem to work on, and has the ability to grasp abstractions and a powerful intellect. As any voice teacher will tell you, you have to set aside ego and go after something like counter tenor, and almost from an intellectual standpoint, as it is not something that ever comes ?naturally? to someone.
Philippe Jaroussky, a man to watch. And to listen to. Absolutely beautiful.