Diana Damrau, one of today’s most brilliant opera stars, is coming to Prague together with her husband, the French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé. The concert, which is part of their European tour Belcanto Drammatico, will present a selection of arias from famous nineteenth-century operas.
Diana Damrau is known for her unbelievably broad range of repertoire, including roles intended for both coloratura and lyric soprano. Additionally, this versatile artist is no stranger to contemporary works (A Harlot’s Progress by Iain Bell or 1984 by Lorin Maazel) or the lieder repertoire, which she performs regularly together with the pianists Helmut Deutsch and Craig Rutenberg. She is undoubtedly known to the wider public from live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she made her debut in the role of Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) in 2005. Since then, she has appeared on the stage of that world-famous opera company in Massenet’s Manon, Bellini’s La Sonnambula, Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, in which she became the only soprano in the history of the Metropolitan Opera to play both Pamina and the Queen of the Night during a single season.
Together with Nicolas Testé, who is highly regarded for his interpreting of French music, she will be introducing herself to the Prague Spring public accompanied by the PKF –Prague Philharmonia and singing arias from Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, Verdi’s Il trovatore, and Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. The concert will be played under the baton of the orchestra’s principal conductor Emmanuele Villaume, who has gathered a wealth of operatic experience at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including London’s Covent Garden and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin.
The soprano Diana Damrau has been appearing on opera stages around the world for more than twenty years. At the world’s leading opera houses (Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Royal Opera House), she has played a variety of leading roles (Lucia di Lammermoor, Manon, La Traviata). Of course, she is also a sought-after performer of the lieder repertoire, which she performs regularly at such concert venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall. Her numerous recordings encompass not only classical music, but also well-known melodies from operettas, musicals, and films. She has twice won the prestigious ECHO Klassik Prize (2011 and 2014).
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé originally studied piano, bassoon, and music history. He perfected his singing at the training programmes of the Opéra National de Paris and the Centre de Formation Lyrique, then in 1998 he won second prize at the “Voix Nouvelles” competition. He appears regularly at leading European opera houses (Deutsche Oper Berlin, De Nederlandes Opera) and music festivals (Glyndebourne Festival, Montpellier Festival). He has collaborated in concert performances with ensembles including the Orchestre National de France and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
During his career, the French conductor Emmanuel Villaume has appeared with the world’s most prominent opera ensembles and symphony orchestras. He is now in his fourth season as the music director of the Dallas Opera. He has triumphed with Puccini’s Manon Lescaut both at London’s Royal Opera House and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. According to the New York Times: “It is the most vivid, exciting take on “Manon” at the Met in many years, and sets the bar high, early on, for the company’s spring season.” Since September of 2015, Maestro Villaume has been the music director and principal conductor of the Prague Philharmonia. His appointment was preceded by successful collaborations on recording projects with Anna Netrebko for Deutsche Grammophon and with Bryan Hymel for Warner Classics.
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