Present Voices: The Importance of Being Earnest - Gerald Barry

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group conducted by Thomas Ades

26 April 2012 / 19:30


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Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
BCMG was formed in 1987 from within the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and is established as one of Europe’s leading ensembles. Sir Simon Rattle is the Group’s Founding Patron and has conducted BCMG in the UK, on tour in Europe and America, and on several EMI recordings. The Group has strong relationships with its Artists-in-Association Oliver Knussen, John Woolrich and Peter Wiegold, who takes up his role from the 2008-09 season. BCMG’s work has won several awards: in 2008 the Group’s NMC recording of Britten’s complete film music won a MIDEM award; in 2007 a BBC Prom concert given by the Group with Oliver Knussen was shortlisted for a South Bank Show Award; in 2005 BCMG won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Audience Development for its Shropshire Tours programme. The Group has also won previous Royal Philharmonic Society, Prudential, Gramophone and PRS Millennial awards and in 2002 won The Arts Ball Outstanding Achievement Award.

The core of BCMG's work is the performance of new music, and the Group has premiered over 100 new works by leading UK and overseas composers. Most have been commissioned with the help of a large number of individuals through BCMG’s ground-breaking Sound Investment scheme. The Group regularly tours nationally and internationally. Read more

Thomas Adès
Born in London in 1971, Thomas Adès studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and read music at King’s College, Cambridge. Between 1993 and 1995 he was Composer in Association with the Hallé Orchestra, which resulted in The Origin of the Harp (1994), and These Premises Are Alarmed for the opening of the Bridgewater Hall in 1996. Asyla (1997) was a Feeney Trust commission for Sir Simon Rattle and the CBSO, who toured it together, and repeated it at Symphony Hall in August 1998 in Rattle’s last concert as Music Director. Rattle subsequently programmed Asyla in his opening concert with the Berlin Philharmonic as Music Director in September 2002.

Adès’ first opera, Powder Her Face (commissioned by Almeida Opera for the Cheltenham Festival in 1995), has been performed all round the world, was televised by Channel Four, and is available on a DVD as well as an EMI CD. Most of the composer’s music has been recorded by EMI, with whom Adès has a contract as composer, pianist and conductor. Adès’ second opera, The Tempest , was commissioned by London’s Royal Opera House and was premièred under the baton of the composer to great critical acclaim in February 2004. It was revived in 2007 – again to a sold-out house, and has since been seen in Copenhagen, Strasbourg and Santa Fe. Read more

Barbara Hannigan
Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto where she studied with Mary Morrison. Further studies took place at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, the Centre d’arts Orford, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Holland where she studied with Meinard Kraak.

Her operatic roles include Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice, Anne Truelove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, the title role in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Emmeline in Purcell's King Arthur, Larinda in Hasse’s Larinda e Vanesio as well as the title roles in Hasse’s La Contadina and La Fantesca, Arethuze in Charpentier’s Acteon, Armida in Händel’s Rinaldo and Dalinda in Händel’s Ariodante. Read more

Peter Tantsits
Peter Tantsits made an auspicious debut at Milan's Teatro alla Scala last spring when he sang the high-lying role of Syme on short notice for the Italian premiere of Lorin Maazel's opera 1984. Recent performances include debuts with some of the world's top orchestras: the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich with which he made his Austrian debut at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Candide lead by Kristjan Järvi, Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic as Spoletta in Tosca in his acclaimed Lincoln Center debut, the National Symphony lead by Leonard Slatkin in Salome as Vierte Jude in his Kennedy Center debut with Deborah Voigt, and his debut with the American Symphony Orchestra and Leon Botstein as Pellerin in Dallapiccola's early opera Volo di notte at Avery Fisher Hall. A "vivid Spieltenor," Mr. Tantsits has sung for three seasons with the Festival Lyrique-en-mer in France performing Mahler Das Lied von der Erde with the festival orchestra as well as Mozart Great Mass in C minor, Spoletta in Tosca, Caius in Falstaff, Gastone in Traviata, and Nathanaël, Spalanzani, Frantz, and Pittichinaccio in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, for which he was praised by French critic Cyril Brun for "marvelously incarnating his roles, simultaneously revealing his exceptional talent as an actor and as a singer". Read more

Joshua Bloom
Joshua Bloom was born in Melbourne and completed his B.A. (History) at the University of Melbourne.

For Opera Australia, roles have included Dandini (La Cenerentola), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress) Schaunard (La Boheme), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte), Figaro (le nozze di Figaro), Escamillo (Carmen), Leporello (Don Giovanni) and Rodolfo (La Sonnambula). As an Opera Foundation Australia Stipendiat at the Vienna State Opera, he performed Fiorello (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and the Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly), and on the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Programme Gianni Schicchi and Dottore Bartolo (Il barbieri di Siviglia). Other roles in San Francisco were Angelotti (Tosca), Garibaldo (Rodelinda) and Ribbing (Un Ballo in Maschera), and the Black Politician in the U.S. premiere of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre. He made his Chicago Opera Theater debut in Béatrice et Bénédict, appeared in Die Zauberflöte and Salome for the Santa Fe Opera, and sang Don Alfonso in Così fan Tutte for San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater. Other recent engagements include Alidoro for Garsington Opera Festival and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Teatro Petruzelli, Bari.

Future engagements include Masetto and Truffaldino (Ariadne) for the Metropolitan Opera, and a new commission by Gerald Barry in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Thomas Adès.

Katalin Károlyi
Born in Hungary, Katalin Károlyi began her musical studies on the violin before studying singing with Noëlle Barker and Julia Hamari. She went on to set up the Studio Versailles Opéra with Rachel Yakar and René Jacobs. Since then she has concentrated on repertoire from baroque opera, chamber music and contemporary music.

Katalin Károlyi has sung under the direction of conductors such as Yehudi Menuhin (Jeney Funeral Rite), William Christie (Charpentier Médée, Les Plaisirs de Versailles, La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers; Monteverdi madrigals; Rameau Hippolite et Aricie; Landi Il sant’Alessio), Phillip Herreweghe (Stravinsky Mass), Laurence Equilbey (vocal music of Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc), Paul van Nevel (music of the 15th century), Peter Srottner (Strauss Elektra), Bernard Tétu (German chamber music of the 19th and 20th centuries), Roland Hayrabedian (Stravinsky Les Noces) and David Robertson (contemporary music).

She has performed at many festivals including Aix-en-Provence, Ravinia Chicago, Ille-de-France and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She has also appeared with leading opera companies worldwide including the Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Colon, and in concert at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore and Barbican Halls, London and the Cité de la Musique, Read more

Hilary Summers
A true contralto with a wide vocal range, she has excited the attention of many contemporary composers. She created the role of Stella in Elliot Carter’s opera What Next? and has performed Boulez’s Le Marteau sans Maître throughout Europe under his direction.
Operatically, Hilary is destined to play statuesque Handelian heroes such as Giulio Cesare but occasionally has fun with such roles as the dominatrix Mescalina/Ligeti’s Le grande macabre, The Sorceress/Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas or even the bearded Baba the Turk/Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

Future engagements include performances at Frankfurt Opera, Teatro Real Madrid and the Liceu in Barcelona.

Stephen Richardson
A specialist in contemporary repertoire, British bass Stephen Richardson has given the premiere performances of a number of important works including Ade's The Tempest at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Tan Dun's Orchestral Theatre II: Re, and Tea at Suntory Hall, Tokyo; Barry's The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit and The Intelligence Park; Tavener's Eis Thanaton, Resurrection, The Apocalypse and Fall and Resurrection with City of London Sinfonia at St Paul's Cathedral; and the British premiere of Ruders The Handmaid's Tale for English National Opera.

Stephen Richardson was born in Liverpool and read music at Manchester University before training at the Royal Northern College of Music. Since graduating he has assumed many of the leading bass roles in the operatic repertoire.

This season he made his debut at Opera Australia as Falstaff, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflote. He recently performed Kaspar (Weber's Der Freischutz) with Opera de Rennes and Don Quichotte (Fenelon's Le Chevalier Imaginaire) for Ensemble Intercontemporain, and this summer will sing Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro at Grange Park Opera. Read more


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