07 Sep 2009
Voices you just have to hear: The 10th season of the Rosenblatt Recitals
2009-10 brings the landmark 10th season of the Rosenblatt Recitals, London’s only operatic recital series. Since December 2000, when tenor Giuseppe Sabbatini launched the Rosenblatt Recitals at St John’s Smith Square, they have presented the opera stars of today and tomorrow in an intimate context.
Evidence of the series’ talent-spotting credentials is provided by the line-up of Rosenblatt recitalists appearing at the Royal Opera House in 2009-10: tenors – something of a Rosenblatt speciality – Juan Diego Flórez (who first gave a Rosenblatt recital as long ago as 2001), Joseph Calleja (2005), Saimir Pirgu (2004), Stephen Costello (2006) and James Valenti (2006), baritones Gabriele Viviani (2007) and Jacques Imbrailo (2008), and mezzo soprano Sonia Ganassi (2004). Recent Rosenblatt seasons have also brought such rising names as Nicole Cabell, Elizabeth Watts, Maxim Mironov and Francesco Meli.
The 2009-10 season
The 2009-10 recital season opens on 23rd September at St John’s Smith Square with the Slovakian tenor Miroslav Dvorsky, established as a leading man at houses such as Vienna, La Scala, Berlin and Covent Garden. His generous programme ranges from Smetana, Dvořák and his 20th-century compatriot Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský to Lehár, Donizetti, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Giordano and Cilea.
American soprano Ailyn Pérez makes her second Rosenblatt Recital appearance on 15th October – her first came in early 2008 in a duet programme with Stephen Costello, whom she married later in the year. Recently described by Opera Now as a singer whose “exquisite voice and natural charm would melt a stone”, Pérez – Juliette at last year’s Salzburg Festival – brings arias from La traviata, Turandot, Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Louise, Amadeo Vives’ zarzuelas El niño judio and Doña Francisquita, and a selection of Spanish songs.
A fellow alumnus of Philadelphia’s distinguished Academy of Vocal Arts is tenor Bryan Hymel, who made a powerful impression at the 2007 Wexford Festival in Rusalka, with Opera magazine praising his “heroically robust tone and good musical instincts”. After his ringing Pinkerton at ENO earlier this year he comes to the Rosenblatt Recitals on November 11th with a programme that includes arias by Handel, Gluck, Meyebeer, Bizet and Puccini, songs by Beethoven and Schubert, and numbers from Carousel and Les Misérables.
The first recital of 2010, on 13th January, is by the young German contralto Maria Radner, who has already performed with conductors such as Pappano, Rattle and Maazel, at the opera houses of Munich, Madrid and Valencia, and at the festivals of Aix-en-Provence and Bregenz. 2010 brings appearances at the Concertgebouw, the opera houses of Toronto and Leipzig and the Salzburg Easter and Summer festivals. Her programme at St John’s Smith Square comprises songs and arias by Handel, Rossini, Saint-Saëns, Wagner, Strauss and Bizet.
Further deep sonorities follow on 10th February when British bass Matthew Rose performs songs and arias by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Schubert, Liszt and Britten. In December 2009 at the Royal Opera House he will be Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, a role he has performed all over the world, notably with the Vienna State Opera, the New York Met and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His repertoire also includes King Marke, King Philip, Prince Gremin, Leporello, Osmin (which he sings in September 2009 in San Francisco), Gurnemanz, Zaccaria, Claggart and Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has become something of a signature role.
In Spring 2010, it’s back to tenors for the Spanish-born Puerto Rican Joel Prieto on 17th March and Ohio native Lawrence Brownlee on 25th May.
Joel Prieto, a former member of the Deutsche Opera Berlin and the Atelier Lyrique de l'Opéra National de Paris, won both the first prize and the zarzuela prize in the 2008 Operalia competition, the brainchild of Plácido Domingo. In May 2009, when Prieto sang in Scottish Opera’s Così fan tutte, the Daily Telegraph observed that his “sweet-toned Ferrando [took] the purely vocal honours for his meltingly lovely 'Un aura amorosa’”. His future opera engagements include Covent Garden (Fenton in Falstaff), Barcelona, Toulouse, Munich and Santiago (Chile).
Lawrence Brownlee has been praised for a graceful voice and bel canto style that recall the tenors of the golden age of the early 20th century. His Rosenblatt Recital programme features Donizetti and Rossini with Liszt and spirituals arranged by the composer John Carter. In recent seasons he has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in both Il barbiere di Siviglia and La cenerentola. His performance in the latter prompted the New York Times to judge that: ““Lawrence Brownlee was outstanding, with a sweet sound, impressive agility, ringing high notes and a smile that resonated to the core of his interpretation.”
The two resident pianists for the season are Iain Burnside and Simon Lepper and a further recital will be announced for 3rd June 2010.
AILYN PÉREZ soprano
MARIA RADNER contralto
LAWRENCE BROWNLEE tenor
MIROSLAV DVORSKY tenor
BRYAN HYMEL tenor
JOEL PRIETO tenor
MATTHEW ROSE Bass
For further information, please contact Helen Tweedy at Albion Media: or call 020 7495 4455