Annelies Van Parys
Annelies Van Parys
Annelies Van Parys (°1975) is one of Belgium’s leading contemporary composers. She composes solo pieces and chamber music, as well as big orchestral compositions. Her great love is musical theatre. As composer-in-residence at Muziektheater Transparant since 2007, she has written a number of compositions for musical theatre. Note, for example, the remarkable productions of RUHE, An Oresteïa and Private View – Van Parys’ first opera, which was rewarded four times, a.o. with the Fedora-Rolf Liebermann Prize. In cooperation with Gaea Schoeters (who also wrote the scenario for Private View), she composed the opera USHER, at the request of the Staatsoper Berlin and Folkoperan Stockholm. The production was shown there in 2018 and 2019, and even returned to Berlin in 2020. Van Parys was also lauded for the big composition A War Requiem for the National Orchestra of Belgium and Collegium Vocale Ghent, with soloists Sophie Karthauser and Thomas Bauer. Her most recent orchestral work was created at the request of the Royal Concert Hall Orchestra of Amsterdam, and premiers in January 2021 (conductor: Matthias Pintscher).
American soprano Linda Watson has appeared at many of the major opera houses of the world including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatro del Liceu, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Nederlandse Opera, Opéra national de Paris, Wiener Staatsoper, Bayreuther Festspiele and at the Metropolitan Opera, with leading conductors including Abbado, Mehta, Levine, Gergiev, Thielemann, Pappano, Gatti, Salonen and Nagano. She began her career as a mezzo-soprano in Aachen and in 1995 joined the Leipzig Opera.
She sang her first soprano role, Sieglinde (Die Walküre), in Essen and subsequently joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where she also sang Leonore, Ortrud, Kundry, Feldmarschallin, Färberin, Ariadne and Elektra. In 2014 she was nominated for the Principal Soloist Grammy Award for her participation in Christian Thielemann’s Ring recording. Engagements this season include Ariadne and Turandot for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Die Amme (Die Frau ohne Schatten) in Hamburg and Herodias (Salome) at the Wiener Staatsoper.
Martin Wölfel was born in Potsdam, and studied singing at the Carl Maria von Weber College of Music in Dresden. At first, he concentrated on becoming a tenor before he found his true calling as a countertenor after visiting a recital given by Axel Köhler. After changing course, he studied with Margret Trappe-Wiel until 1999, finally as a master student. He furthered his studies by taking master classes with such distinguished musicians as Paul Esswood, Axel Köhler, Jessica Cash and Brigitte Fassbaender. At the same time, he undertook a lively series of concert activities.
The young singer has been engaged by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, the Virtuosi Saxoniae, the Berlin Lautten Compagney, the Dresden Chamber Choir, the Rheinische Philharmonie, the Gürzenich Orchestra, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Stockholm Drottningholms Baroque Ensemble, the Britten-Pears Orchestra and the ‘Rheinische Kantorei’. In addition he has worked with other renowned orchestras and ensembles including the Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra, the Dresden Baroque Orchestra, the Berlin Oriol Ensemble, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the Dresden ‘Kreuzchor’, la Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy from Tourcoing, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Vienna ‘Klangforum’, the chamber choir ‘les éléments’, and the Jacques Moderne and Café Zimmermann ensembles.
Martin Wölfel is a popular guest singer at international festivals such as the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts, the Settimana Musicale Senese, the MDR Music Summer and the ‘Festival van Vlaanderen Brugge’. The list of prominent festivals can be continued with the Mosel ‘Festwochen’, the Stuttgart European Festival of Music, the Utrecht Festival of Early Music, the Dresden Music Festival and the ‘Septembre Musical – Festival de Musique Montreux-Vevey’.
Martin Wölfel has not only conquered the concert world but also the stage: he appeared as Arsace /”Berenice” at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Händel Festival), as Claire in the German premiere of John Lunn’s “The Maids” at the Dresden Semper Opera, as Oberon /”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the National Theater Mannheim, as Pisandro /”Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria” at German Opera on the Rhine, and was a guest in Bernhard Lang’s “The Theatre of Repetitions” at the Steirische Herbst Festival in Graz and at the Opéra National de Paris in 2006.
Furthermore Martin Wölfel sang Ottone /”L’Incoronazione die Poppea” at the Opera of the Rhine, Orpheus /”Orpheus and Euridice” in Rostock, he appeared in the German premiere of Philip Glass’s opera “Galileo Galilei” at the Staatstheater Braunschweig, and sang the role of Helicon in the world premiere production of Detlef Glanert’s “Caligula”, a co-production by the opera houses in Frankfurt and Cologne, as well as the midwife Delfa /”Giasone” at the Frankfurt Opera House.
His other roles include: Guido /”Flavio”, Orlowsky /”Die Fledermaus”, Andronico /”Tamerlano”, the Devil in Detlev Glanert’s “Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung”, and he sang Tolomeo /”Giulio Cesare”, amongst others in Karoline Gruber’s production at the Hamburg State Opera House and the Cologne Opera House.
Wölfel has earned much praise from the critics for his appearances as Tolomeo during the Händel Festival in Karlsruhe in a production by Peer Boysen, conducted by Michael Hofstetter, as Edgar /”Lear” at the Frankfurt Opera House, as Fjodor in a new production of “Boris Godunow” at Semperoper in Dresden, and as Edgar /”Lear” at the Komische Oper Berlin in a production by Hans Neuenfels, Socceress /”Dido” and especially as both Orlowsky and Frosch in a new production of “Die Fledermaus” in Frankfurt (recorded for TV, stage director: Christoph Loy). In July 2011 he made his successful debut at Berlin Staatsoper – Artemis in Henze’s “Phaedra”.
Martin Wölfel is regular guest at Oper Frankfurt and returned to Berlin Deutsche Oper in 2017 for the world premiere of Aribert Reimann’s opera “L’Invisible”, in 2016/17 he also made his debut at Cardiff Welsh National Opera and Covent Garden London – “The Merchant of Venice”. Furthermore, he made his debuts in Oslo in 2017 and Seoul in 2018.
Future plans include among other engagements his return to Oper Frankfurt.
Wölfel has worked with such well-known conductors as Andreas Spering, Jane Glover, Ludwig Güttler, Sir Neville Marriner, Markus Stenz, Christopher Moulds, Sebastian Weigle and Michael Hofstetter. Amongst the directors who have had the pleasure of working with him as a singer and performer are David Mouchtar-Samourai, Christof Loy, Georges Delnon, Alexander Paeffgen, Anouk Nicklisch, Ullrich Peters, Vera Nemirowa, Andreas Baesler, Thilo Reinhardt, Arila Siegert and Christian Pade.
He has taken part in countless radio and CD recordings. The MDR Kultur channel broadcast a portrait of him in its series ‘MDR Profile’ – and nowadays his name is always mentioned when specialists are talking about the small group of prominent altos and countertenors.
Since 2007 Martin Wölfel has also been a teacher at the Folkwang Academy in Essen and the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, he also established his own masterclass festival (www.kronenburg-classes.de). Since 2017 he is Professor for life-time in Essen.
Director Peter Konwitschny was born in 1945 in Frankfurt am Main, and grew up in Leipzig. His father was a conductor, and his mother was a singer. He studied opera direction in Berlin, and worked for ten years as an assistant director at the Berliner Ensemble, under artistic directors Ruth Berghaus and Manfred Wekwerth. During the period 1980-85 he was the director of opera, operette and theatre productions in Budapest, Berlin, Rostock, Greifswald, Anklam, Altenburg and Halle. He was director at the Landestheater in Halle from 1986 until 1990. Through his new, conceptual approach to Händel-operas, Konwitschny made musical history there.
Since 1990, Peter Konwitschny has worked as a freelance director in many European opera houses: Basel, Graz, Paris, Vienna, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tokyo and Zürich. His interpretations of Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde (Munich), Tannhäuser (Dresden), Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Hamburg), Götterdämmerung (Stuttgart) and Der fliegende Holländer (Moscow) marked a new phase of Wagner productions. Konwitschny also contributed to contemporary interpretations of Verdi, in his productions of Aida, Macbeth and Falstaff (Graz). For his Verdi cycle, the Graz opera was awarded the 2001 title of ‘Opera House of the Year’ (Opernwelt). During that same Verdi Year, Konwitschny directed Don Carlos in Hamburg. Other important productions include: Al gran sole carico d’amore (Hannover), Moses und Aron, Elektra (Copenhagen), Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Das Land des Lächelns (Komische Oper Berlin), König Lear (Graz), Salome at the Nationale Opera (Amsterdam) and La traviata at the Graz Opera. In 1988, Konwitschny was awarded the Kunstpreis by the former DDR; he was given the 1993 Könrad-Wolf-Preis by the Berliner Akademie der Künste, the 2005 Berliner Theaterpreis and the 2007 Welttheaterpreis. He was chosen ‘director of the years’ six times by the opera magazne Opernwelt. During the 2008-2009 season, he was head director at the Leipzig Opera. In these past years, he directed a.o. From the House of the Dead (Janáček) at the Zürich Opera, Verdi’s Atilla at the Theater an der Wien, Jenufa at the Graz Opera, and Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexiko at the Salzburger Festspiele.
One of the most talented Italian conductors of his generation, Pietro Rizzo is a frequent guest conductor of some among the world greatest opera houses, including Metropolitan Opera (Cavalleria Rusticana e Pagliacci), Dallas Opera (La Bohéme, Rigoletto), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Cavalleria/Pagliacci, Nabucco, Roberto Devereux, La favorite), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino(Cavalleria Rusticana), Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (La bohème, La traviata, Andrea Chénier), Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm (La bohème, Tosca), New National Theatre Tokyo(Il trovatore, Rigoletto, Don Carlo), Bayerische Staatsoper München (Anna Bolena, Latraviata), ABAO Bilbao (La forza del destino, Norma), Semperoper Dresden (Lucia di Lammermoor, La bohème, Otello), Staatsoper Hamburg (Lucrezia Borgia).
Born in 1973, he graduated as violinist in 1992 at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and continuing his studies at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (1990-1993, awarded with the Diploma of Merit in 1992 and 1993) and at Southern Methodist University in Dallas( 1993-1997), graduating with a Master’s of Music in Violin Performance in 1996 and Artist Certificate in Violin Performance in 1997. From 1997 to 2001 he studied orchestral direction under the guidance of Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula, graduating with a Master’s of Music in Orchestral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki.
He made his professional debut as a conductor in 2000 at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, working until 2003 as Assistant Conductor, and has since then maintained long standing relationship with the house as Guest Conductor. From 2003 to 2007 he was Erste Kapellmeister at the Aalto-Theater in Essen, Germany, where he conducted approximately 70 performances each season of opera, ballet and concerts. From 2006 to 2009 he was Chief Conductor at Gothenburg Opera, and during his tenure in Gothenburg he was guest professor at the music University, conducting symphony concerts with the University orchestra, as well as coaching and teaching the music students of the orchestral program. In 2003 he began a successful collaboration with the Youth Orchestra of the Galician Symphony Orchestra in La Coruna, Spain, which culminated in his Artistic Directorship from 2010 to 2014. Since 2003 he is also a guest professor at the Opera Studio in Ghent, Belgium,where he gives regular masterclasses to the voice students on operatic repertoire, style and performance practice.
In the symphonic field, he is also a frequent guest conductor on the podium of such orchestras as the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra,Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgium Radio Symphony Orchestra, Essener Philharmoniker, Bergische Symphoniker, WDR Rundfunkorchester, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, Orchestra of Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionaledella RAI di Torino, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, Oviedo Filarmonia.
Pietro Rizzo speaks Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Finnish, is a passionate bridge player, and lives in Verona, Italy with his wife and three children.