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Mexican soprano Maria Katzarava, known for her “young, fresh voice and wide tessitura” (ABC), joins with Stefano La Colla, a critically renowned tenor in his home country of Italy, for the sole duo recital of the season. The two will perform a programme of French and Italian opera classics with a second half dedicated in its entirety to Giacomo Puccini.
“Her [Maria Katzarava’s] dynamics were generous and well executed and her phrasing was spontaneous and expressive… her tone stood out both in the quartet and the septet, always measuring her strength and applying beautiful colours to her voice.” ABC
“From the moment he walked onstage until the moment he was shot by the supers, La Colla lived, breathed and embodied Mario Cavaradossi. Brusque and focused… he sang with passion and enthusiasm” Bachtrack
A winner of several international awards, including First Prize and Zarzuela Prize at Plácido Domingo's Operalia 2008, young Mexican soprano Maria Katzarava has already performed at some of the world’s major theatres, including the Royal Opera House, London, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Liceu de Barcelona, Florida Grand Opera in Miami, Grand Théâtre de Genève and the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, working under the baton of conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Donato Renzetti and Michele Mariotti.
Katzarava’s repertoire includes leading soprano roles, such as Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Elvire (Muette de Portici), Marguerite (Faust), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Violetta (La traviata) and Gilda (Rigoletto).
During the 2010/11 season, Katzarava made her Covent Garden debut as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, under the baton of Daniel Oren; she triumphed in the same role at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Opéra de Lausanne, Florida Grand Opera and Teatro Filarmonico, Verona.
Katzarava began her 2014/15 season with role debuts as Antonia and Giulietta in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, followed by Vier letzte Lieder with the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, under the baton of Michele Mariotti. She performed Turandot (Liù) at Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and also took part in the annual concert of Andrea Bocelli at Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, conducted by Placido Domingo.
Katzarava’s 2015/16 season saw her make her role debut as Leonore in Fidelio, followed by Il Duca d’Alba (Amelia) at Opera de Oviedo, La traviata (Violetta) at Teatro Verdi in Padova, her company debut with Liceu de Barcelona as Desdemona in Otello, and Carmen (Micaela) at Teatro Comunale, Bologna.
Recent engagements include a gala concert in Mumbai, conducted by Zubin Mehta, and a gala concert opposite Juan Diego Flórez.
Katzarava’s future plans include productions of Faust (Marguerite) at Opéra de Lausanne, Turandot (Liù) at Peralada Festival, Beethoven’s IX Symphony at St. Denis’ Festival, Madama Butterfly (title role) at Teatro Massimo di Palermo, La traviata (title role) at the Theatres of Reggio Emilia, Modena, Como, Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona, and La bohème at Teatro Comunale, Bologna, under the baton of Michele Mariotti.
Stefano La Colla, a graduate of Pietro Mascagni Conservatory, has already performed at some of the most important Italian opera houses and festivals, including Teatro alla Scala, Arena di Verona, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, Parma Festival, Teatro Verdi di Busseto, Festival Puccini di Torre del Lago, and at international venues, including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Leipzig Opernhaus, Festspielhaus und Festspiele in Baden Baden, Opéra de Toulon, and Mikhailovsky Theatre, St. Petersburg.
During his 2013/14 season, La Colla performed La Gioconda in St. Gallen, Manon Lescaut (Des Grieux) at Opernhaus in Leipzig and at Festspielhaus und Festspiele in Baden Baden, under the baton of Simon Rattle, Macbeth (Macduff) in Wroclaw, and Tosca (Cavaradossi) at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich.
In May 2015, La Colla made his anticipated debut at Teatro alla Scala under the baton of Riccardo Chailly, performing as Calaf in Turandot; the success of this performance led to him being invited to return to La Scala in June 2015, this time performaing as Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana. Other highlights from the season include performances of Manon Lescaut (Des Grieux) in St. Petersburg and Leipzig, and Tosca (Cavaradossi) at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and Teatro San Carlo, Napoli.
La Colla opened his 2015/16 season with performances of Turandot (Calaf), Tosca (Cavaradossi) and Manon Lescaut (Des Grieux) at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Tosca (Cavaradossi) at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.
Future plans include Aida (Radames) at Teatro San Carlo in Napoli and at Arena di Verona, Manon Lescaut in Amsterdam, Le Cid (Rodrigue) in St. Gallen, Turandot at Staatsoper, Pittsburgh Opera, Chicago Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Macerata Opera Festival, as well as his return to Teatro alla Scala with Nabucco (Ismaele).
Simon read music at King’s College Cambridge. He is a professor of piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music, London where he also co-ordinates the piano accompaniment course. He is an official accompanist for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition as well as regularly playing for the Rosenblatt Recital Series at the Wigmore Hall.
Performance highlights have included an invitation from the Wigmore Hall, London to present a three concert project on the songs of Joseph Marx; a recital tour with baritone Stéphane Degout which included the Ravinia and Edinburgh Festivals; his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York with mezzo Karen Cargill; a performance with Mark Padmore of Schubert Winterreise at the Schubertiade, Hohenhems, Austria; recitals with Angelika Kirchschlager at La Monnaie, Brussels and at the Wigmore Hall where appearances also have included recitals with Christopher Maltman, Elizabeth Watts, Stephan Loges, Sophie Bevan, Christopher Purves and Lawrence Zazzo, Future highlights included performances and recordings with BBC New Generation Artists Kitty Whately, Benjamin Appl and Ilker Arcayurek and recitals with Sally Matthews at La Monnaie and Christopher Purves at the Frick Collection, New York.
Simon has also appeared at the Wigmore Hall with violinist Carolin Widmann, with whom he has given recitals in Amsterdam, Paris, Salzburg, Cologne and Madrid and recorded for ECM - Phantasy of Spring, contemporary works, including Feldman, Zimmerman and Xenakis – which received a Diapason d’Or and the German Critics Award. More recently he recorded a disc of Brahms, Schubert and Beethoven with violinist Ji-Hae Park (Universal records).
Vocal recordings include Warlock Songs with Andrew Kennedy (Landor), 2 volumes of Debussy Songs with Gillian Keith (Deux-Elles), the complete CW Orr Songs with Mark Stone (Stone Records) and a disc of Gustav and Alma Mahler songs with Karen Cargill (Linn records). Future releases include a song recital disc recorded at Aldeburgh with Dame Felicity Palmer and the complete songs of Jonathan Dove with Kitty Whately.