Countertenor CD of the year: “Rivals” by David Hansen

There are many new countertenor albums out this year. Some albums are already out, and some will be released in the coming months. For lovers of the countertenor voice every one of these albums are worth mentioning.

However, one countertenor release of 2013 simply demands special attention: Rivals, the debut solo album by the Australian countertenor David Hansen.

The full album title is Rivals: Arias for Farinelli & Co., and contains nine arias that were sung by Farinelli and his castrato rivals: Caffarelli, Carestini, Bernacchi among others.


Arias sung by Farinelli and his contemporaries have been recorded before, but what is great with this album is that eight of the nine arias are world première recordings. Alessandro de Marchi conducts Academia Montis Regalis Orchestra.

Rivals will be released on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (a Sony Classical label)  on CD, for download on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify in late August (in some countries in early September).

Listen to samples from all album tracks, and watch the videos below. The first video is about the album and the last two is about two of the arias on the album.

What a promising debut! Surely this must be the countertenor CD of the year!



This post was originally published 16-08-2013. Last revision 16-08-2013.



  1. Listening to the cd at this very moment. One of the most anticpated cds of the last 10 years. After I saw David performing the role of Ottone in Vivaldi’s Griselda on the internet I was totally hooked. Better not list the adjectives, it would just be too long. Got the Purcell cd of David with the Choir of King’s College the day after. The Griselda cd of Pinchgut opera not available in Europe:-(
    Yesterday I watched a concert performance of Handel’s opera Alessandro in Amsterdam with Max Emanuel Cencic as Alessandro and Julia Lezhneva in the leading roles, as well as Xavier Sabata. On returning home I found this cd in my mail. A man has to sleep, so woke up this morning and with my breakfast enjoying this cd. WOW!
    Have not heard a voice that excites, moves, pleases and exhiliariates me as much as David’s since Simone Kermes’. Both sang the role of Ottone in Vivaldi’s Griselda. And both have recorded arias of superb composers such as Vinci, Leo, Broschi and Bononcini.
    Comparing voices is always a tricky thing, so I abstain from doing that. But David is welcomed in the Champions League of Baroque voices, may he win many trophies! And please come back to the Netherlands or Amsterdam, so far only one performance as I recall in Thomas Adès’ The Tempest. This album is a strong contender of the album of the year together with Vivica Genaux’s A Tribute to Faustina Bordoni, Franco Fagioli’s Arias for Caffarelli, Philippe Jaroussky’s Farinelli: Porpora Arias and Simone Kermes’ Bel Canto (From Monteverdi to Verdi). What a joy and delight that this cd has seen the light of day!

    1. Mille grazie for your very kind comment! I’m hooked to! And there are really no proper words to describe David Hansen’s voice. Glorious maybe? Especially love the Rivals CD! It gets better and better for every time I play it! Griselda is very good to. You can download it from iTunes.

      David is indeed the countertenor star to look out for! What a talent! He is my favorite countertenor and Rivals is the best vocal/operatic album I’ve hard this year. Of the album you mentioned I’ve only so far heard Jaroussky, and this time he didn’t “do it for me”. He wasn’t as good as David in Rivals!

      Glad you mentioned Kermes. She’s a wonderful singer! I woud love to hear her sing together with David someday! That would be so cool!

      I’ve been so lucky to hear David live sevral times in concerts and opera here in Norway the last two years. And there’s a solo concert coming up in Oslo next month! How lucky am I!

      You’ll find two more blog post about David on this blog, and I’m sure I’ll write many more in the future! 🙂

      1. I played Rivals 7 times today! David Hanson’s voice, well, I mean it’s like you get a punch in your stomach combined with butterflies flying in your stomach. Voices like these are so rare. Glad to live now. I figured out he resides in Norway, that opera house in Sydney must be special. And you get a chance of seeing Francesco Cavalli’s opera Giasone featuring David. The only Pinchgut opera cd I managed to buy in Holland is the one of Juditha Triumphans. I already know Rivals will be my cd of the year, just tried to keep some tension going, drum roll;) My favourite cd of 2012: Artaserse, Leonardo Vinci, Diego Fasolis, Jaroussky et al, 2011: Farnace, Antonio Vivaldi, Diego Fasolis, Max Emanuel Cencic et al, 2010: Simone Kermes – Colori d’Amore, Le Musiche Nove, Claudio Osele, 2009: Simone Kermes – Lava, Le Musiche Nove, Claudio Osele,
        I am sure Simone Kermes and David Hanson would be great duo at a recital.
        I wanted to mail you some weeks ago already when I read your blog from A to Z. It is a good read and a joyous one. keep up the good work.

      2. Wow! 7 times! So glad that there’s one more dedicated David Hansen fan out there!

        Love your list with CD of the year! I’ve heard all in your list and I do agree totallly with you! By the way, I managed to listen to Franco Fagioli’s latest CD “Arias for Caffarelli” on Spotify and I like it very much. It’s nice to hear “In braccio a mille furie”, the same aria that David sings on Rivals. He tackles it quite well. I also found Vivica Genaux “A Tribute to Faustina Bordoni” on Spotify today, so I’ll listen to that to later.

        Thanks for your kind words about my blog! It’s comments like this that keeps me going! And many thanks for the follow! 🙂

      3. Rave reviews keep coming in throughout Europe, 4* and 5* reviews. I am not on the so-called social media such as facebook and twitter, but i have one link and made a translation of a Dutch review, that might be forwarded to david’s facebook page. Needless to say his cd is playing right now!

      4. So happy that Rivals gets good reviews, also in the Netherlands! If the Dutch review isn’t that long, why don’t you post your translation here (by replying to this message)?

      5. Thank you very much for posting the Dutch review and the English translation of it, as well as the German review! Very interesting! And thank you so much for coming on Facbook just to give me this. Grazie!

        The review is best found by going to the photos on this direct link:

        I’ll spred this link on my Facebook and Twitter as well!

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