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Genaux Vivica

Dazzling mezzo-soprano VIVICA GENAUX has fully entered the ranks as one of our day's leading exponents of the Baroque and bel canto repertoire. The young American is applauded on the world's great musical stages, not only for her astonishing technical prowess, but also for her vivid character portrayals.

In a career that began just nine years ago, the Fairbanks, Alaska-born Miss Genaux initially made her mark as the charming interpreter of a pair of Rossini comic roles, each of which served as an important career stepping stone: Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Angelina in La Cenerentola. By the end of the 2002-2003 season, she will have performed these captivating characters over one hundred fifty times with many of the major U.S. opera companies, as well as in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Dresden, Montréal, Tel Aviv, Verona and Perth. Of her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera as Rosina, Anthony Tommasini wrote in The New York Times, 'She has a lovely voice, rich and warm, evenly produced throughout all registers, with bright, full top notes. This was a confident and winning debut.'

Miss Genaux's repertoire is constantly expanding. It now encompasses twenty-three roles, seventeen of them trouser-parts, including her masterful assumptions of rarely performed Baroque and bel canto characters, as well as the above-mentioned pair.

During the summer of 2002, Miss Genaux assumes the guise of the great Crusader Rinaldo in Handel's opera of that name. She performs the role with her increasingly frequent musical collaborator, conductor René Jacobs, at the Opéra de Montpellier/Festival de Radio France and then at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, where they record the work for harmonia mundi.

The fall of 2002 finds the mezzo offering a pair of recitals; first in Oderzo, Italy for a benefit performance, then in her native state, Alaska, for a program of Spanish songs with pianist Martin Dubé, given under the auspices of the Anchorage Opera. Back in her hometown, her much-anticipated Pittsburgh Opera debut follows in La Cenerentola. While still there, Miss Genaux lends her talents with other past beneficiaries to honor the 20th Anniversary of EPCASO, the Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera, in a concert at Carnegie Music Hall. At that other great Carnegie Hall, in New York, Miss Genaux offers a recital program in its Weill Recital Hall 'Evenings of Song' Series with Craig Rutenberg at the piano.

The remainder of the season is spent almost exclusively in Europe. The mezzo dons Rosina's mantilla for her debut at the Opéra National de France in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Bastille. At the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, she teams up with René Jacobs and the Akademie für Alte Musik for 'Arias for Farinelli,' a program of Baroque arias written for the legendary castrato, which these musical forces have recorded to great acclaim for harmonia mundi. Miss Genaux retraces her steps back to Paris for her first concerts with both Kurt Masur and the Orchestre National de France. They perform Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, first at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and then in Hong Kong, which marks the mezzo's first appearance in China. Further Rosinas are scheduled for her debut with the Wiener Staatsoper. Then it's back to France for two engagements in La Cenerentola - again at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, under the baton of Evelino Pidò, and then for her debut with Opéra de Marseille. Miss Genaux's season comes to a close at the Bayerische Staatsoper's Munich Festival, where she once again sings one of her most admired roles, the patient, long-suffering Penelope in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse.

During the 2001-02 season, Miss Genaux mixed familiar roles with new ones and divided her time between the operatic and concert stages throughout Europe and America. The earlier part of the season found her in Barbiere with the Baltimore Opera, followed by a recital in her native city of Fairbanks, Alaska, an evening of Spanish songs with Steven Blier and the New York Festival of Song, and concerts in Zurich and Lisbon with René Jacobs and the Akademie für Alte Musik. The rest of the season was strictly operatic, with Ariodante at the San Diego Opera, Rosinas at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, with Opera Carolina, as well as for her return to the Metropolitan Opera to repeat her much admired debut role.

Other past career highlights for Miss Genaux include: a program of Rossini arias at the Prague Autumn International Music Festival; an Amsterdam double-header - Rosina with the Netherlands Opera and Handel's Arminio at the Concertgebouw; her first Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Arsace in Semiramide with Minnesota Opera; Johann Adolf Hasse's Baroque rarity, Marc' Antonio e Cleopatra for her Paris debut; Urbain in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots for the opening of the new opera house in Bilbao; the title role in Giulio Cesare for Washington Opera; the title roles in both Arminio and Vivaldi's Giustino at Switzerland's Solothurn Festival; Hassem in Donizetti's Alahor in Granata in Seville, Spain; the title character in Ariodante (her first Handel role) with the Dallas Opera; and Selimo in Hasse's Solimano for the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. She also made debuts with noted musical entities: the Dresden Festival, the Festival Lyrique d'Été in Antibes, the Baltimore Opera and the Seattle Opera. She has sung world premieres with such esteemed organizations as The New York Chamber Symphony and The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and has appeared with The New York Festival of Song on several occasions.

Vivica Genaux has enjoyed a long association with the Caramoor Festival and Will Crutchfield, its Director of Bel Canto. She was re-engaged steadily following her first appearance there in 1996 in the title role of La Cenerentola. She returned for Malcolm in La donna del lago, Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia, and Pippo in La gazza ladra. She has also performed two recitals at Caramoor, an all-Rossini evening, and a program entitled 'Chopin-Bel Canto.'

Miss Genaux's discography is growing steadily. Released by harmonia mundi in Europe in spring-2002 and in the US in the fall, Arias for Farinelli, her first recorded collaboration with conductor René Jacobs, has garnered extraordinary praise. As previously mentioned, for the same label, the mezzo and conductor have teamed up again for Rinaldo (due out in mid-2003). A live recording of another Handel opera, Arminio, was released by Virgin Classics in 2001, with Alan Curtis conducting Il Complesso Barocco. Alahor in Granata came out in 1999 on the Almaviva label. Miss Genaux has two other live recordings: 'Rossiniana' on the Agora label with Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi and 'An Evening of Arias and Songs by Gioacchino Rossini,' taped at a Benefit she sang for EPCASO, with which she has been associated since 1994. Her accompanist there is Martin Dubé.

In addition to EPCASO, the mezzo-soprano's extraordinary talent has been recognized by several other musical organizations. In 1997 she won one of the prestigious ARIA Awards and was lauded as the '1999 Artist of the Year' by the Dresden Music Festival. She makes her home in Pittsburgh, where she studies with Claudia Pinza.




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