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Commentary

Vivica Genaux (Photo by Harry Heleotis)
14 Sep 2008

Vivica Genaux Focuses on Baroque Repertoire in 2008-09 Season

The 2008-09 season of radiant mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux promises to add further luster to her credentials as one of the world’s leading interpreters of music of the Baroque and bel canto periods.

Vivica Genaux Focuses on Baroque Repertoire in 2008-09 Season

Above: Vivica Genaux (Photo by Harry Heleotis)

 

At all the major music capitals, she is consistently praised not only for the technical command and beauty of her distinctive voice, but also for her compelling stage portrayals.

Ms. Genaux balances her appearances worldwide with operatic engagements, concerts and recitals in new venues and countries, as well as returns to sites of previous audience and critical triumphs. This season she adds four additional roles to her pantheon of characters, one each by Vivaldi, Handel, Hasse and Haydn. She ventures into recording studios twice for Virgin Classics, first for a new solo-CD and then to complete a recording, begun in July of 2008, as Antiope in Vivaldi’s Ercole, which she subsequently performs in the theater for the first time. Her stage personæ now total forty, twenty-five of which are trouser-parts.

The 2008-09 season commences with one of three New York area performances, the first at Tannery Pond Concerts in the Berkshires, in a recital paired with longtime confrere Craig Rutenberg (August 30). Their program comprises works of Haydn, Loewe, Garcia/Viardot, Rossini, Serrano, Chueca/Valverde and Giménez. This is followed by a debut at the Festival de Fénétrange for a bill consisting of arias by Handel & Hasse with Concerto Köln (September 5). For her initial engagement at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, Ms. Genaux switches male attire and roles from her more usual eponymous hero to the villain, Polinesso, in Ariodante, with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques (September 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 & 26). Her colleagues include Danielle de Niese (Ginevra), Maria Grazia Schiavo (Dalinda), Angelika Kirchschlager (Ariodante), Topi Lehtipuu (Lurcanio), Martin Mairinger (Odoardo) and Luca Pisaroni (Il Re) in this Lukas Hemleb production. Ms. Genaux participated at its 2007 premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In a return to Madrid’s Teatro Real, where she has previously been seen and heard in Ariodante and Bajazet, she takes great “pleasure” in going “allegorical” as Il Piacere in a staged version of the Handel oratorio Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (November 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 14 & 16) conducted by Paul McCreesh, their premier collaboration. The cast in this Jürgen Flimm-directed production also consists of Isabel Rey (La Bellezza), Marijana Mijanovic (Il Disinganno) and Steve Davislim (Il Tempo). Another role and festival debut await at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele in a Hasse rarity, as Salome in Sanctus Petrus et Sancta Maria Magdalena, coupled with the composer’s Miserere in D minor, with Michael Hofstetter at the helm. Ms. Genaux is joined by Kirsten Blaise, Heidrun Kordes, Jacek Laszczkowski and Terry Wey (November 23). The mezzo and Concerto Köln, an ensemble with which she often makes music, offer concerts in early-December in Cologne (3), Lyon (5) and Saarbrücken (12), after which she embarks on another recording project, for Virgin Classics, her seventh for the label.

As 2009 begins, Ms. Genaux, assuming the role of the proud and fierce Amazon Queen, Antiope, completes a Virgin Classics recording of Vivaldi’s Ercole sul Termodonte, the sixteenth of the composer’s forty-eight stage works, at studios in Florence with a starry cast which includes: Diana Damrau, Patrizia Ciofi, Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels, Philippe Jaroussky, Rolando Villazón and Topi Lehtipuu, with Fabio Biondi/Europa Galante. Back in the United States she concertizes with Andrea Marcon and members of the Venice Baroque Orchestra on January 14 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. In late-January she sings Ercole for the first time on stage at Vienna’s Konzerthaus (25) and then at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (27) with the team of Biondi/Europa Galante, where her co-stars are Roberta Invernizzi (Ippolita), Emanuela Galli (Orizia), Stefanie Irányi (Martesia), Romina Basso (Teseo), Philippe Jaroussky (Alceste), Carlo Allemano (Ercole) & Filippo Adami (Telamone). In one of her calling-card roles, she plays the practical and quick-thinking Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri at Torino’s Teatro Regio (a Company debut) on March 4, 6, 8m, 11 & 15m, where her colleagues include Antonio Siragusa as her rediscovered love, Lindoro; Roberto di Candia as her would-be suitor, Taddeo; and Lorenzo Regazzo as the befuddled Bey of Algiers, Mustafà. The displays of vocal virtuosity and madcap antics are led from the pit by Bruno Campanella. For her initial engagement in Russia, at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (April 8), she teams up with frequent recital partner Carlos de Aragon, here conducting the Musica Viva Orchestra, in a mixed-repertoire program. In her one-time hometown, at the Pittsburgh Opera, she once again dons Isabella’s traveling gear and shows the residents of Algiers what it means to tangle with an Italian Girl. Here her fun-loving colleagues are William Burden (Lindoro), Earle Patriarco (Taddeo) and Paolo Pecchioli (Mustafà), conducted by the company’s Music Director, Antony Walker (May 2, 5, 8 & 10m). Rejoining Concerto Köln, she intones her first notes in Brazil and Argentina with concert dates in São Paulo (May 26 & 27) and Buenos Aires (June 1 & 2). One more Festival debut awaits her in France, in St. Denis, with a Marian-themed program featuring Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Handel’s Il pianto di Maria, in which she is paired once more with Maestro Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques (June 23). For her first foray with the music of Haydn, Ms. Genaux assumes the part of the aptly-named Costanza in a semi-staged run of L’isola disabitata, a tale of shipwrecked romance and mistaken identity. For Ms. Genaux, this represents a new role and orchestra collaboration with Jonathan Nott and the Bamberger Symphoniker (July 8, 9, 11 & 12). Her season comes to a close at New York’s Caramoor Festival where she portrays the avenging warrior-prince, Arsace, in Rossini’s Semiramide, here sharing the stage with another fellow bel canto specialist, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, among others (August 1). In this, her ninth engagement there (following on the heels of La Cenerentola, La donna del lago, Lucrezia Borgia, La gazza ladra, as well as two recitals and two concerts), she is reunited with Will Crutchfield, who has been a major force in her career from the beginning.

For further information, please access Ms. Genaux’s websites at: www.vivicagenaux.com and www.fanfaire.com/genaux

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