This spring, Diana Damrau makes her debut as Amalia in Verdi’s I Masnadieri at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Fairly unknown, this opera’s plot is bursting under high-pressure from the very beginning.
Based on Schiller’s The Robbers, Verdi wrote I masnadieri upping the stakes from the play: instead of combating social grievances, in the opera all the characters struggle to keep up with a family story that is laden with early loss and brotherly rivalry, with suppressed desire and misunderstood needs. The political conflict of The Robbers is intensified on the personal level in Verdi’s opera.
OPERA NEWS Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll today announced the recipients of the fifteenth annual OPERA NEWS Awards. This year’s honorees — soprano Diana Damrau, baritone and stage director Thomas Allen, tenor Javier Camarena, countertenor and producer Anthony Roth Costanzo and soprano Ana María Martínez — will be fêted at a black-tie gala on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. A musical tribute will also be performed in honor of the recipients.
Deputy Editor Henry Stewart observes: “As a stage performer, Diana Damrau is always in the moment, using her theatrical acumen, buttery soprano, effortless coloratura and idiosyncratic, text-focused phrasing to vitalize the characters she sings—and the art form itself.”
On January 31, Diana Damrau releases her latest album of Richard Strauss Lieder, which marks her latest collaboration with pianist Helmut Deutsch and her last with the late Mariss Jansons conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Jansons tragically passed away after their performance together at Carnegie Hall on November of 2019. The album is already available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes.
“For me, Strauss is one of the greatest composers,” Diana Damrau has said. “The way he handles the soprano voice is a joy. And to be able to sing his music with my voice feels like coming home.” The centrepiece of this album of Strauss songs is the sublime Vier letzte Lieder, in which Damrau – born and trained in Bavaria – joins forces with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and its long-standing Chief Conductor Mariss Jansons, in what was to become his final recording. Her partner in a tempting and diverse selection of songs with piano is Helmut Deutsch. “Not only is Strauss’s music gorgeous,” says Damrau, “there’s the way he combines words and notes – and the psychology.”
This season, Diana Damrau returns to the stage of La Scala as Juliette in Bartlett Sher’s sumptuous production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, in which she originally starred in its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Damrau is once again joined by tenor Vittorio Grigolo as Roméo, with Maestro Lorenzo Viotti leading from the pit. The performances take place from January 15 – February 16.
“For me, Strauss is one of the greatest composers,” Diana Damrau has said. “The way he handles the soprano voice is a joy. And to be able to sing his music with my voice feels like coming home.”
The soprano literally shares a home with Richard Strauss in that she, like the composer, was born in Bavaria. She studied at the conservatory in the Bavarian city of Würzburg, and went on to join the company at its Mainfrankentheater before making an international reputation – not least in such soaring Strauss roles as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier and Aithra in Die Ägyptische Helena.
Diana Damrau ends the year with three New Year’s Eve Concerts on December 29, 30 and 31 at the Philharmonie Berlin, accompanied by the Berliner Philharmoniker and conductor Kirill Petrenko.
The program offers overtures to Gershwin’s Girl Crazy and An American in Paris, Bernstein’s Symphonic dances from West Side Story, and Weill’s Lady in the Dark Symphonic Nocturne, featuring Ms. Damrau in Rodgers “If I loved you” from Carousel, Bernstein’s “I feel pretty” from West Side Story, Weill’s “Foolish Heart” from One Touch of Venus, Sondheim’s “Send in the clowns” from A little Night Music and Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.
The concert on December 31 is scheduled for livestreaming via the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Concert Hall.
OPERA NEWS Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll has announced the recipients of the fifteenth annual OPERA NEWS Awards, which include Diana Damrau, Thomas Allen, Javier Camarena, Ana María Martinez, and Anthony Roth Costanzo.
This year’s honorees will receive their awards in a black-tie gala event set for April, 5, 2020 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
In November, Diana Damrau joins legendary conductor Mariss Jansons and Sir Antonio Pappano in performing Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder.
The concerts with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Antwerp and New York, also include in the program Strauss’ Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, as well as a selection of other Strauss Lieder that won’t be included in the Carnegie Hall performance.
For her performance with Maestro Pappano in Amsterdam, she sings Vier letzte Lieder in addition to selections by Rossini, Bizet, Wagner, and Berg.
See below for a full list of dates and locations.
Warner Classics’s recording of Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, featuring Diana Damrau and Jonas Kaufmann with Helmut Deutsch at the piano, has been shortlisted for a 2019 Gramophone Classical Music Awards: Solo Vocal.
The Awards ceremony takes place in London at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms on October 16. Individual tickets and tables for the ceremony are available to purchase here.
Presented with Apple Music, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s Polska Music programme and Medici TV, this year’s Awards Ceremony will be streamed live from the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms by Medici TV at 6.30pm (UK time).