Reviews of Stefan Zucker: The World's Highest Tenor

Co-starring Rosina Wolf

"Stefan Zucker is the world's highest tenor."--Guinness Book of World Records


"Please avoid the three versions of me singing "Pour mon âme" on YouTube. Two of them are reproduced off speed and therefore off pitch. The third was equalized in an attempt to make me sound like a castrato since I was discussing a castrato (Alessandro Moreschi). The three clips sound very different from one another, and not one of them sounds like me."—Stefan


"He decorates the repeated high Cs with trills and turns ….He produces tones somewhat similar to those of Bonci and Clément and De Lucia on recordings made about the turn of the century."--Desmond Arthur, American Record Guide


"Some opera aficionados consider Stefan Zucker's most unusual vocal technique to be authentically from the early 19th century bel canto period. The selections from Bellini and Donizetti operas find him trilling all over the place and foraging to Fs and As above high C." --Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News


"…a tenor who has researched the operas and the performance practices of the early 19th century and who, by way of a teacher-to-teacher genealogy, has learned the vocal techniques in use at that time and thus acquired the range, agility and tone production of the virtuoso tenors of that day."--Marco Guarnaschelli, RAI, Italian State TV


"He replicates the tenor singing of the Rossini-Bellini period, a time when tenors had technical ability far beyond their modern counterparts. As a result of having researched the long-forgotten vocal techniques of that era, he is the only tenor in our century to trill on high C and to sing Fs, Gs, As and even B-flats above high C--notes sung in performance by several tenors then." --New York Guide


"…a kind of singing that we don't hear anymore….The point is that in Bellini's day that's what they did."--Tony Randall


"Has Zucker really rediscovered the technique that enabled Rubini and others to sing all those high notes? Perhaps so."--Kenneth Furie, High Fidelity


"Zucker's voice is as close as we are likely to come to knowing and hearing the style of Mario and Rubini. I applaud Stefan Zucker for his talent, zeal and willingness to take chances. Rosina Wolf is magnificent, the Sonnambula duet a revelation."--Joe H. Klee of Antique Phonograph Monthly


"Mr. Zucker sings tones that are awesome, with trills and embellishments that leave no doubt that he possesses a most accomplished technique."--William H. Wells, Opera Digest


"Zucker can certainly toss around those alt-altissimo notes. He has developed an extension to his upper register that enables him to sing, in head voice, and  NOT falsetto, almost an octave ABOVE HIGH C." --Tom Villella, The Cleveland Press


"Zucker gets up to well above high C--a range your ordinary tenor doesn't have today--with a wallop, as 19th century tenors purportedly did in cadenzas, etc., and as Tiny Tim wouldn't attempt, on his life."--Jack Diether, East Side Express


"Where there is genius, there can be remarkable psychic leaps to an earlier time, allowing for an eloquence and power otherwise hard to explain. Callas was such a genius. Stefan Zucker has invested himself into his music like a Callas, making a psychic leap back, taking over spontaneously the many impulses people had then …. Zucker's 'Senza nisciuno' has plenty of visceral intensity. It's soulful; he has larme dans la voix!"--Albert Innaurato, author of Gemini


"…the pacing of the Sonnambula duet, with  its well-judged pauses, musical phrasing, and changes in dynamic range (both subtle and, at the climax, sudden) is exemplary of bel canto at its best….Zucker's vocal method does result in extended range, increased flexibility, vocal stamina, and admirable breath control."--Anthony D. Coggi, Fanfare: the Magazine for Serious Record Collectors


"'Son geloso' is a stunning example of how the music sounds in the near impossible stratosphere of its original G-major key. Trills on high C and ornamental runs above that peak are handled with amazing skill….a truly unique album."--Albert Cohen, Asbury Park Press


"I particularly enjoyed the Sonnambula duet. What style! Everything about that recording is wonderful: the timing of the phrasing as well as the phrasing itself, the rubato, the trills--not to mention the height of the key!" --Ira Siff


"The two singers achieved an unearthly delicacy in the Sonnambula scene, with pianissimo tones of ineffable sweetness sensuously blended --knitted together so finely that the vibrations of the voices matched one another--and with the many high, free-floating, harmonically wedded trills perfectly synchronized. A magical hushed stillness came over the audience."--Deborah Jones, N.Y.U. Ticker


"…a vocal feat that has never occurred at the Metropolitan Opera in its entire history. A voice capable of the range demanded by Bellini is not likely to sound like your ordinary tenor. His voice is decidedly distinctive, possessed of extraordinary pinpoint focus."--Praxis Publications


"Zucker takes music very seriously and has thoroughly researched early 19th- century style and technique. His embellishments should be studied, but who else can do them? His musicality and sensitivity are extreme. He brings a lost virility to what have become sappy tenor songs. I suggest that everybody listen."--Bert Wechsler, Music Journal


"Finally, I must report on the most interesting of all the performances that Zucker has preserved and published: his own. After reading about his notoriety, I was most anxious to hear the Bel Canto recording of Zucker's own singing.


"I have played it over and over and can't help marveling at the beauty of the singing. I had expected screeching or feminine-sounding falsetto. That's not what we hear, and we shouldn't be surprised. After all, how could this music ever have become popular if that was how it sounded? Instead, Zucker sings with a high floating sound that seems to have no top limit. He sings with passion that makes the old tunes by Donizetti and Bellini sound up-to-date and vital.


"There's the educational value, of course. But above and beyond that, there's great sensual pleasure and excitement."—Steve Cohen, Delaware Voice


"Zucker's voice sounds more like a conventional tenor than a countertenor; it is capable of robustness and true ring in those upper notes."--Jack Hiemenz, San Francisco Chronicle


"Stefan Zucker…delivered what must surely count as the most extraordinary display of virtuosity to issue out of a male throat in this century…a brilliant tone….It has a very distinctive sound somewhat resembling that produced by tenors on recordings made at the turn of the century but without the fast vibrato characteristic of many of those singers. A salient feature of his tone is its ping, or ability to awaken the acoustics, though it is not without body either."--Richard Moreschi, Win


"His sounds recall…the ancient recordings of De Lucia and Anselmi."--Anthony Coggi, "The Operaphile," WFUV-FM


"He sings with great heart and has an emotion-charged voice that compels you to listen."--Franco Corelli


"Some of Stefan Zucker's top notes sound like those of a higher pitched Escalaïs. His performance of 'Senza nisciuno' is the last, final and ultimate word in Neapolitan passion-shredding. It is not possible to imagine a tenor giving more of himself without shedding blood all over the stage."--Joe Pearce, President of the Vocal Record Collectors' Society


"After a concert at New York's Town Hall, Zucker was courted by RCA record executives who, as Zucker explains, 'blandished the prospect of tenor-hungry groupies' before him. The RCA promotional office announced that Zucker would be featured in the world premiere of Bellini's Adelson e Salvini. However, although '18 different covers were designed,' Zucker says, the record was never released. Zucker, breaking relations with RCA, has released his own album, recorded at a live concert.


"But that record, complete with a frank, eight-page essay by Zucker about his evolution, demonstrates that RCA was right about the tenor-hungry groupies. Each aria and song is greeted by emotive bravos. An entire track is given over to the frenzied, rhythmic clapping of Zucker's fans demanding an encore." ("Zucker: Singing That Is 'Sensed in the Soul'")--Anthony Tommasini, The Boston Globe


"The audience screams with delight….The audience erupts with cheers, whistles and stomping feet."--Barton Wimble, New York Daily News


"Stefan Zucker and Rosina Wolf bring to their appearances a kind of 19th-century flamboyance and virtuosity alongside of which every other classical singer today…is a bore….They have the passion that once made opera a popular art form."--Robert Bodino, Zoo World, the Music Megapaper


"He's an impeccable musician. He gets into the music--he sells a number….He has an absolutely beautiful trill."--Martin Sokol, "Through the Opera Glass," WBAI-FM


"He gives the lie to the old saw, gone are the super singers and we will never hear their likes again….Where other tenors leave off, Stefan Zucker begins. His high notes are genuine tones, possessing the same quality as the rest of the voice. They don't bleat, they don't squeal. They ring. He hits them dead center, holding them as long as he pleases, applying to them any gradation of diminuendo or crescendo. There is nothing in my own listening experience against which to compare him. The closest thing would be some old Fernando De Lucia recordings, but De Lucia did not have such incredible range."--Jack Hiemenz, Musical America


"Stefan Zucker is the singing sensation of the century."--RCA Records


Stefan Zucker: The World's Highest Tenor is forthcoming on CD.