"The best countertenor now on the stage."
-- René Jacobs, interview in Gramophone
"The semi-popular notion of countertenors is that they are somewhat floaty and thin-toned, more curious than vocally substantial. Zazzo put the lie to that conception in about three seconds." -- Louisville Courier-Journal
"[Zazzo's] bright, eloquent, virile, and properly operatic countertenor now seems set to eclipse the rest of his generation." -- The Independent
"Lawrence Zazzo ... shows himself a countertenor of gorgeous tone, superb control throughout the range, excellent musicianship, and handsome bearing." -- New York Times
A tantalizing fusion of ancient and modern, Byrdland explores the world of the Renaissance song accompanied by a modern-day saxophone quartet. All the songs on the disc were written by the great composers working in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. World-famous countertenor Lawrence Zazzo was inspired to record these songs with saxophones after performing at a friend's wedding in San Francisco where the only accompaniment available was a saxophone quartet. He was intrigued by the unusual and exotic sound that resulted.
Zazzo was born in Philadelphia and studied English at Yale University, Music at King's College, Cambridge, and Voice at the Royal College of Music in London, where he made his operatic debut as Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Zazzo is a fan of the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, hence the title Byrdland, which also conflates the names of Byrd and Dowland, two of the composers featured on the CD. Zazzo is much sought-after by opera houses throughout the world, including the Opera de la Bastille (Paris), Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and Metropolitan Opera, where he has performed the lead role in Handel's Julius Caesar.