For centuries, opera has manipulated gender: men playing women, women singing “trouser roles” as men. In this production, contralto Vicki St. Pierre sings roles written for several of the Baroque era’s famed castrati. Monica Huggett leads the orchestra in a new twist of gender in Handel opera, including the captivating “mad scene” from Orlando.
"Portland Baroque Orchestra puts its own Baroque twist on the gender game, partnering with contralto Vicki St. Pierre to perform music originally written for castrati singers — a special class of church-trained male vocalists who, in stranger times, were made eunuchs so they would retain their high voices into adulthood. In modern times these roles are often undertaken either by contraltos like St. Pierre or countertenors — male singers who train their voices for high register singing, sans surgery." – Oregon Arts Watch