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12 February 2021
"In Zurich as in Aix-en-Provence, a dream Pamina. Tender without sentimentality, limpid without harshness, musician of every second"Diapason, 01-2-2022
The profile of Norwegian soprano Mari Eriksmoen continues to rise through her regular appearance on Europe’s major opera, concert and recital stages, and she is consistently praised for her compelling blend of radiant stage personality and purity of vocal tone.
On completion of her studies in Oslo (Norwegian Academy of Music), Paris (Conservatoire National Superieur) and Copenhagen (Royal Danish Academy of Opera), Eriksmoen was invited almost immediately to debut
as Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) at Theater an der Wien, launching her career and marking the beginnings of a close and ongoing collaboration, appearing there since as Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Euridice (Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo), Agilea (Handel’s Teseo), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) and as Susanna, Zerlina and Fiordiligi in the Da Ponte Trilogy conducted by the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Eriksmoen made her role debut as Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande) in an acclaimed staging for Opera Vlaanderen by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Marina Abramović, of which Forum Opéra wrote “her French diction was faultless, her voice like crystal, and she embodies the hypnotising fragility of this heroine to perfection.” Further performances followed at Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, and she reprises the role and staging this season marking her debut at Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Georg Frideric Handel was a composer from the Baroque period. Handel wrote primarily music-dramatic works: 42 operas, 29 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, which comes to a total amount of almost 2000 arias! Furthermore, he composed English, Italian and Latin sacred music, serenades and odes. Among his instrumental music are several organ concertos, concerti grossi, overtures, oboe sonatas and violinsonates, along with many solo works for harpsichord and organ.
Together with Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born in the same year (1685), Handel is viewed as one of the greatest composers of his time. He was extremely prolific and wrote in total more than 610 works, many of which are still performed today.
Compared to his contemporaries Bach, Telemann and Scarlatti, Handel was by far the most cosmopolitan. When Handel was a child, his father, who was a surgeon at the court of Saxe-Weissenfels, imagined a juridical career for him. But his musical talents did not go unnoticed at the court, which forced the father to let him study music. In Hamburg, Handel befriended Mattheson. Together they visited Buxtehude, the greatest organ player of his time, in 1703 (two years before Bach did). At that time, Handel was already an excellent musician, but it wasn't until his stay in Italy - the land of opera - that his talents and skills truly started to flourish. Back in Germany, he received a position at the court of Hannover, where the noblemen had a connection to the British throne. Thanks to these connections, Handel decided to move to London, after which a puzzling history of intrigues and political games started. For example, it is unclear what the exact political message of his famous Water Music is, which was composed for a boat ride on the river Thames by King George. Initially, Handel focused on Italian opera during his stay in London, but from the 1730s onwards he started composing English spoken oratorios, with the celebrated Messiah at its peak.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose actual name is Joannes Chrysotomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a composer, pianist, violinist and conductor from the classical period, born in Salzburg. Mozart was a child prodigy. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. Along with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart is considered to be one of the most influential composers of all of music's history. Within the classical tradition, he was able to develop new musical concepts which left an everlasting impression on all the composers that came after him. Together with Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven he is part of the First Viennese School. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. From 1763 he traveled with his family through all of Europe for three years and from 1769 he traveled to Italy and France with his father Leopold after which he took residence in Paris. On July 3rd, 1778, his mother passed away and after a short stay in Munich with the Weber family, his father urged him to return to Salzburg, where he was once again hired by the Bishop. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death.
In Zurich as in Aix-en-Provence, a dream Pamina. Tender without sentimentality, limpid without harshness, musician of every second
This is my first occasion listening to Mari Eriksmoen, but I will be watching for her recordings in the future. I am captivated by her purity of vocal tone and magically mellifluous coloratura.
Positive Feedback, 13-12-2021
Jan Willem de Vriend and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra provide a lively, alert orchestral accompaniment in partnership with Eriksmoen. The Stavanger is one of Scandinavia's most successful orchestras, performing its concerts in the Stavanger Concert Hall (site of this recording) which is considered one of the best concert halls in Europe.
The sound quality is exceptional. Another outstanding recording from independent producer and recording engineer Bert van der Wolf, Northstar Recordings.
Positive Feedback, 13-12-2021
This disc of Handel and Mozart arias and overtures is an enjoyable way to spend 71 minutes, but leaves one wanting more than we get here.
American Record Guide, 13-10-2021
Mari Eriksmoen uses her voice with acrobatic flexibility, but at the same time her interpretations are well-thought-out and rich in detail. Eriksmoen impresses with the expression of her voice. Thanks to the colorful and dynamic voice, the arias of Mozart and Heandel performed by Eriksmoen sound dramatic and moving.
... she is a star here. Pamina's 'ach, ich fühl's' doesn't quite touch the heart until the very end, but the other items are exemplary. [...] Jan Willem de Vriend and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra do a good job overall. Forget the less than perfect presentation and enjoy the top-drawer singing.
The Norwegian soprano (who appears as Zerlina, Fiordiligi and Susanna in Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s recently-released cycle of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas) sings arias from Idomeneo, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Mitridate and Mozart’s arrangements of Messiah and Acis and Galatea, plus excerpts from Handel’s Silla, Joshua, Teseo, and Giulio Cesare; her singing here was described as ‘top-drawer’ in this month’s edition of Gramophone.
But the focus, after all, is Mari Eriksmoen’s voice, and it is superb. The natural grace of the light, agile and confident soprano voice, the cultivated declamation and the fresh liveliness, but also the often moving empathy of her singing show a singer who, far from all effects, fully convinces with a stylistically confident musicality.