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11 April 2014
Veelzijdige en ervaren sopraan zingt juweeltjes uit het belcanto repertoire
De veelzijdige Australische sopraan Elena Xanthoudakis is een expressieve musicus die door de recensenten geprezen wordt om haar boeiende en aantrekkelijke uitvoeringen. Ze is ervaren op het gebied van oratoria, en was sopraansolist in onder andere de 'Hohe Messe' van Bach, het Stabat Mater van Rossini, het Requiem van Mozart en de Messiah van Händel. Ze heeft opgetreden op verschillende concerten en recitals in binnen- en buitenland, onder andere in Sint Petersburg, Hong Kong, Montreal, Italië en Duitsland. Ze heeft samengewerkt met operagezelschappen als English National Opera, Opera de Quebec, Victorian Opera, en Opera National du Rhin.
Op Jewels of the Bel Canto wordt Xanthoudakis ondersteund door Royal Northern Sinfonia onder de uitstekende leiding van belcanto specialist Richard Bonynge in opwindende uitvoeringen van enkele van de ware juweeltjes uit de traditie van belcanto aria’s, gecomponeerd door Bellini, Verdi, Rossini en Donizetti.
Award winning and versatile soprano, Elena Xanthoudakis is an expressive performer whose enthusiastic reviews speak of her captivating and engaging performances.
Recent performances included performing Nino Rotas’ Mysterium with the Verdi Orchestra in Milan, performing in a Gala Tribute concert for Maria Callas in the Herodion Atticus at the foot of the Acropolis, Athens with the Greek National Opera and another Maria Callas Gala, this time at the al-Bustian festival in Lebanon. Other recent performances include Gilda in Opera Queensland’s new production of Rigoletto for which she received exceptional reviews, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor for Winslow Hall, September 2014, again to enthusiastic acclaim. In 2014, Elena also performed in a series of concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as recitals and concerts in London, including a ‘Winter Prom’ at St John Smith Square in December 2014 where she performed Mozart’s rarely performed masterpiece, the concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te” Op. 505 with concert pianist Jayson Gillham and orchestra.
Up coming performances include her debut as Violetta in La Traviata for Winslow Hall, her debut as Maria Stuarda, and Pamina in The Magic Flute for Opera de Quebec, as well Elena will perform Bach’s cantata ‘Weichet Nur” BWV 202 for the Melbourne Musicians.
2013 performances included a return to the British Music Festival to sing Sullivan’s Golden Legend and her return to the Metropolitan Opera, New York to cover both Gilda in Rigoletto and Countess Adele in Comte Ory, Mozart’s Requiem for the Melbourne Symphony, as well as singing First Niece in Peter Grimes for the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
2012 began with performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra New Year’s concerts with Nicholas McGegan, and returns in February for Beethoven’s Mass in C with Louis Langrée, followed by a concerts in Australia to promote the CD release ‘The Shepherd and the Mermaid’ with TrioKROMA (piano, voice and clarinet). She then made her Glyndebourne debut as Clorinda La Cenerentola, as well as performing Carmina Burana for the Oxford Philharmusica, singing Delius’s 7 Danish Orchestral Songs for the British Music Festival. Elena then returned to the English National Opera as Pamina in The Magic Flute to excellent acclaim and performed Carmina Burana at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
2011 saw Elena Xanthoudakis perform Messiah with the RSNO, Marzelline Fidelio with the OAE, and Strauss’ Four Last Songs at the Brighton Festival and covering Countess Adele Le Comte Ory for the Metropolitan Opera of New York. She performed Jemmy Guillaume Tell (BBC Proms) with Pappano and the Accademia di Santa Cecila and sang both Lisa and Amina Sonnambula at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Other successes include her Canadian debut at Opera de Quebec as Lucia di Lammermoor, Frasquita Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (‘07,’09,’11), Adina L’elisir d’amore for Scottish Opera and Victorian Opera, Miss Schlesen Satyagraha at ENO (2007 & 2010), Euridice and Genio in Haydn’s L’anima del Filosofo for Pinchgut Opera – 2010.
Giuseppe Verdi is viewed as one of the most important, and most popular, opera composers of Italy. Few composers knew how to balance artistic ideals and commericial interersts like him. He was a composer of 'hits', like his "La donna è mobile" from his opera Rigoletto and his "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves" from his opera Nabucco, and he was careful not to have his audience feel bored at any moment. Especially his early works are characterised by strongly propelling, rhytmic power. A common example is his Il Trovatore. Yet, Verdi was also a composer with ideals. If he would get intrigued by a character, it became his mission to portray to persona as best as he could in the music. This sometimes meant he was forced to alter or neglect traditional opera forms, like he did in Rigoletto. He was not afraid to touch on socially sensitive matters, which at times led to issues with the establishment. For instance, his opera La traviata turned out to be a controversial one, due to its courtesan heroine. Verdi never engaged in the intellectual discussions on music of his time. He pretended to be a simple man who felt most at home in the countryside. Nonetheless, with the masterful fugal ending of his last opera Falstaff he undoubtedly showed his intellectual level of composing.
Gaetano Donizetti was born in 1797 in a dark basement in Bergamo. He was born in a poor family with six children, but Donizetti was lucky enough to receive a free musical education at the school of the opera composer Simone Mayr. Mayr recognised Donizetti's talent and after giving him composition lessons he ensured he could continue his studies in Bologna. He also helped him get his first opera commission. Donizetti kept working hard and for a considerable period he composed four operas each year. A large part of his career, he worked in Naples, which could be a reason why his artistic style remained relatively conventional. After all, the opera audience in Naples had a conservative taste and censorship was extraordinarily strict: absolutely no violence or 'improper' romantic relationships on stage! Donizetti had the gift to compose remarkably fast and wrote in total more than 80 operas, both serious and comic. His operas L'Elisir d'Amore and Don Pasquale remain popular due to their cheerful and energetic music, uplifting rhythms, and tender melodies. Among his serious operas, his Lucia di Lammermoor, with its famous "mad scene" is most popular. Donizetti died in 1848 in Bergamo, after staying in a medical facility in Paris for months, suffering from dementia and paralysed by syphilis. A tragic death for a composer who was also known for his warm personality.
Vincenzo Bellini was born in Catania, Sicily, in 1801. Unlike for his later rival Gaetano Donizetti a musical career seemed obvious. Both his father and grandfather were composers as well. Bellini studied at the conservatory of Naples, where the classical simplicity of Paisiello's music served as an example. The virtuoso melodies and loud orchestrations of Rossini, who was incredibly popular at the time, was detested at the academy. Bellini, however, knew to combine both styles magnificently. His first opera's contained surprisingly little coloratura, which gave him a reputation of a philosopher.
Bellini had the talent to compose beautiful, seemingly endless melodies; a talent which brought him acclaim from Verdi and Chopin, among many others. And yet, Bellini was also a pragmatic composer, who was happy to accomodate the wishes of his singers. He was known for his careful planning of his career and quickly gained a position to be able to set his own demands. His relationship with a rich, married woman strengthened his independence. Unlike his colleagues, Belline only had to compose one opera per year. Even so, it often became a rush job, because his trusted librettist Felice Romani sent his work too late. It did not stop them from writing absolute master pieces together, such as La Sonnambula and Norma. Many more would have followed, if it weren't for Bellini's unfortunate death from amoebiasis at the early age of 34.
Gioachino Rossini was born in 1797 in Pesaro, born to a hornist and opera singer. He spent his youth in the opera hall and at the age of 14 he started his studies to become a composer in Bologna, where he was taught to use a strict counterpoint technique. Quite soon, Rossini composing a large number of operas: his famous comic operas (among which his Il Barbiere di Siviglia) in his early twenties, and most of his serious operas in his late twenties. With his compelling, rhythmic music, which was characterised by its orchestral exuberance and coloratura fireworks, Rossini took over the world of music, to the frustration of critics and academics. When he reached the age of 31, he left Italy and traveled to London and Paris. His success made him powerfully rich. Rossini retired early. With almost 40 years still to live, he composed his last opera, Guillaume Tell, in Paris. Some reasons for his unexpected retirement could be his recurring illness, his financial stability and the adverse political and artistic conditions of the time. For 20 years, Rossini struggled with his health. He returned to Paris in 1855, where he recovered to some extent. Together with his wife, he organised special dinner parties for the upper class, and for those occasions he wrote his many chamber music works, which he referred to as his Péchés de Vieillesse. He died in 1868. Rossini's image is characterised by the many humoristic anecdotes about him. Yet, even though his comic operas are masterfully composed, his serious operas have been truly influential and formed the basis for the romantic operas of Donizetti and Bellini.