Known for performances that transcend the boundaries of drag, Mama Alto is a voice that defies gender in the Countertenor Diva presented as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival at The Butterfly Club for a limited season from 21 June.
With collaborator Tiffanni Walton on piano, Countertenor Diva has been called intoxicating, ethereal and bewitching, a cabaret about fragility and power – of the diva, of the voice, and of the human heart.
Exploring the concept of the Diva, the show draws on the shared and subconscious understanding of the diva developed throughout the 20th century, using a semiotic approach to communicate the complex layers of song and gesture which people recognise as signifying the diva identity.
Stripping away those layers to link the perceived power of the diva (as a storyteller and force of nature) to the actual fragility of the diva as an ultimately human heart and voice.
“Opening my mouth, singing with my voice, is an act of transgression against traditional gendered vocal roles, and indeed, of traditional expectations of gender constructed by society, says Mama Alto.
“The voice of Mama Alto – my voice – is a voice that defies gender, the (ascribed to be) female voice of the contralto or mezzofsoprano within the body of what is (ascribed to be) a man.”
Drawing on the perceived difference – as a countertenor, as queer, and as a person of colour – Mama Alto rejoices in individuality to embrace the identity of a vintage torch-singing diva.
“Mama Alto shares with her audience the journey of the Diva – her journey – in a way that both teaches and touches the heart.” – Rip It Up Magazine, Adelaide
Mama Alto: Countertenor Diva
The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Off Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Season: 21 – 25 June 2014
For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com for details.
Image: Mama Alto