Regarded as one of the foremost vocal artists of our day, Derek Lee Ragin has achieved special renown for his pioneering efforts in establishing countertenor singing as an art form in his native United States and abroad. The subtlety of style, purity of tone, and emotional impact of his singing has brought new dimensions of expression to the countertenor's art. The beauty of Ragin's voice came to the attention of a wider international audience when he was heard on the soundtrack to "Farinelli," the acclaimed Sony Pictures Classics feature film based on the life of the great 18th-century castrato, which won the ‘Golden Globe’ for Best Foreign Film in 1995 and the ‘Golden Record’ award the following year in Cannes. In great demand as a master of Baroque vocal style, he is also an inspired interpreter of contemporary music. His performances of such diverse repertoire are characterized by an unusual warmth and expressivity, and he has received unanimous accolades from critics and audiences throughout the world. Selected highlights of Derek’s career include: performing in Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera, recitals at Wigmore Hall, Gluck's Orfeo in the Salzburg Festival with the Monteverdi Choir conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, debut of Der Name der Rose by Munich composer Enjott Schneider (a composition for countertenor and organ written especially for him), performances in Sydney and Melbourne with the Brandenburg Orchestra, performing in the world premiere of Peter Eötvös' Angels in America at the Châtelet in Paris, world premiere of Jonathan Dawe's Prometheus at the Guggenheim, the New York Philharmonic world premiere of Kancheli's And Farewell Goes Out Sighing, and Kancheli's Diplipito with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival and again in Stuttgart when the work was recorded for ECM, Bach cantatas with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra in Milan and London which were recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, singing in Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at Tanglewood with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony, and in Salzburg and Paris in Gyorgi Ligeti's re-written opera Le Grand Macabre, and a return engagement at the Metropolitan Opera, singing the role of Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In addition, he has performed extensively as a recitalist with pianists Julius Drake and Mark Markham, and with lutenist/guitarist Peter Croton
Mr. Ragin's discography includes Italian lute songs with Peter Croton, Handel cantatas, and a disc of spirituals entitled ‘Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit’, all for Channel Classics. He recorded the role of Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice for Philips Classical, the title roles in Handel's Tamerlano and Teseo for Erato, and the role of Poro in the world premiere recording of Johan Adolf Hasse's Cleofide on the Capriccio label. With the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Shaw, Mr. Ragin performed and recorded Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and the world premiere of the composer's Missa Brevis. The recording subsequently won a 1995 Grammy Award, and his recording of Giulio Cesare with Concerto Köln received a Gramophone Award in 1992.
Derek Lee Ragin received a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Master of Music Teaching from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He continued studies as a singer at the University of Maryland and at the Sweelink Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He was the winner of the 1983 Purcell-Britten Prize for Concert Singers in England, as well as at the 1986 International Music Competition in Munich.
"Brian Asawa is the most important countertenor in the world today."
Opera Today, June 2009......
In 1991, Brian Asawa's career was launched when he became the first countertenor to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was the first countertenor Adler Fellow for San Francisco Opera, and is the only countertenor in history to win the Placido Domingo "Operalia" International Opera Competition. He was also awarded Seattle Opera's Artist of the Year Award for his portrayal of Arsamene in Handel's Xerxes.
Since 1993 he has appeared in opera houses world wide singing signature roles such as Tolomeo in Handel's Giulio Cesare for Seattle Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Bordeaux Opera, Opera Australia, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera at Palais Garnier, Madrid's Teatro Real, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, New Israeli Opera, and Hamburg Staatsoper. Other roles include: Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus for San Francisco Opera and San Diego Opera; Arsamene in Handel's Serse for Los Angeles, Cologne, and Santa Fe Operas, and Grand Théâtre de Genève; Farnace in Mozart's Mitridate for Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels; Belize in Peter Eotvos's Angels in America; Mascha in Eotvos's Tri Sestri and Ottone in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea for Hamburg, the last also for Glimmerglass Opera; Nero in Poppea for Opera Australia; Endimione in Cavalli's La Calisto in Brussels; Fyodor in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov for Netherlands Opera and Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice for Nederlandse Opera; David in Handel's Saul for Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream for San Francisco and Houston Grand Operas and Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli; and Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress for Swedish Television One and San Francisco Opera.
He has appeared as Prince Go-Go in a new co-production of Le Grand Macabre by Ligeti with Brussels La Monnaie/Opera di Roma, and Carmina Burana with the London Symphony Orchestra in Daytona Beach.
His discography includes solo CDs with Sony/BMG ranging from Elizabethan lute songs to song cycles by Ned Rorem and Jake Heggie. Operatic recordings include Farnace in Mozart's Mitridate for Decca, Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream for London, and Arsamenes in Handel's Xerxes for Conifer. He also appears in Handel's Messiah for Deutsche Grammaphon.
Wonderful Brian Asawa sadly passed away on April 18, 2016. He was a wonderful voice and a luminous personality that will be sorely missed Every person who ever met him could never forget him for the bright individuality he was.
Robert Crowe, described by the New York Times as “a male soprano of staggering gifts“, is a member of perhaps the world’s smallest vocal category. His education was completed at the Manhattan School of Music, after receiving a master of music from Boston University School for the Arts and a bachelor of music, magna cum laude from Millsaps College. In 1995 he was only the second countertenor (and first male soprano) to be a National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition—having his professional debut as „Cherubino“ at the Des Moines Metro Opera in summer of that year. Mr. Crowe has sung on many opera stages in the US and in Europe: „Goffredo“ in Handel’s Rinaldo at the Bayerische Staatsoper, „Acomate“ in Hasse’s Solimano at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, the title role in Scarlatti’s Massimo Puppieno with the Theatro Massimo in Palermo. He has also performed leading roles at the Handel Festival of Halle, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Staatstheater Darmstadt, Handel Festival of Göttingen, Handel Festival of Karlsruhe, Early Music Festival of Utrecht, Mozart Festival of Warsaw, Early Music Festival of Connecticut, Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, Sans Souci Festival in Potsdam, Stadtstheater Basel, Landestheater Eisenach, Virginia Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Millenial Arts Productions in NYC, among others. He has worked with such conductors as René Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Fabio Biondi, Andreas Spering, Michael Hoffsteter, Julius Rudel, Rheinhard Goebel, Marcus Creed, and stage directors, Nicholas Broadhurst, David Alden, Peer Boysen, and Axel Köhler and many more.
Robert Crowe is a male soprano of over twenty-five years’ solo performing experience, with over 80 operatic and dramatic oratorio roles, three solo recordings, as well as numerous opera and oratorio discs to his credit. The first male soprano in history to be a national winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition, he has performed leading roles at all three German Handel festivals, the National Theater of Mannheim, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the State Operas of Munich and Berlin as well as solo concerts and operatic roles in venues in Europe, North America and India. In November of 2019 he was awarded the prestigious Noah Greenberg Award for excellence in the historical performance practices by the American Musicological Association. Robert has released four solo CDs, two with Bavarian Radio and Hänssler Classics of the solo motets of Carissimi, Strozzi, Monteverdi and Grandi, one with Toccata Classics (London) of the solo Amen, Alleluia arias of G. F. Handel. In 2020, again with Toccata, he released his fourth solo CD of music of the last operatic castrato, Giambattista Velluti, funded partially by the Greenberg Award.
While maintaining a full singing schedule, in 2017 he finished his PhD at Boston University in historical musicology, working with Joshua Rifkin. His dissertation concerns the literary portraiture of Velluti in 1820s London. He has presented papers and/or lecture recitals at numerous international musicological conferences on the topics of singing/vocalità, the castrati, gender, and sexuality. In 2019 Dr. Crowe’s article on the use of falsetto in the early nineteenth century appeared in 19th Century Music. His critical edition of 30 songs and arias ornamented by Velluti was released in late summer 2020 with A-R Editions. In February 2019 he published the first ever edition of Barbara Strozzi’s long-misattributed (to Giacomo Carissimi) motet “Oleum effusum est (plus Psalm 21/22)” as a part of the Strozzi Complete Works series of Cor Donato Editions.
Robert maintains a full singing schedule, both in concert and in opera, teaches voice both privately and at the Teachers’ University of Schwäbisch Gmünd, and speaks and writes on musicological issues. Since 2018 he has been the artistic director of the Festival für Alte Musik (in) Aalen (Germany) and of the concert and culture series Kultur in der Villa Stützel (also in Aalen). In 2020, FAMA used his edition of Pietro Torri's 1731 oratorio Abramo for the modern premiere of this work.
Director and violin
“One of the great period violin players, with an expressive tone and an awe-inspiring technique” - All Music Guide
A leading interpreter of music on the baroque and classical violins, Elizabeth Wallfisch, is a favourite with both audiences and orchestras because of her virtuosity, her generous, sparkling personality and her impeccable musicianship. Her appearances are marked by a daring and spontaneous approach to performance that results in electrifying music making.
Renowned not only as a prominent interpreter of 17th and 18th century violin music, she is also an inspiring leader and director. She has guest-directed many of the world’s finest period orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Netherlands Bach Society, Tafelmusik, Apolloís Fire, the Hanover Band,
L’Orfeo Barockorchester, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Philharmonia Baroque.
Increasingly popular with modern-instrument orchestras, she has also directed the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra,and the Vancouver Symphony.
Her playing has taken her from the Lincoln Center in New York, where she led the Orchestra of the Enlightenment in the opening concert of the 2003 Händel Festival, to Zimbabwe, where she appeared as soloist with the Harare Symphony Orchestra (and brass band from the local police department!) in a rendition of Brahms’ Violin Concerto. For 18 years she has been the concert master of the prestigious Carmel Bach Festival in California. In January 2007 she was the Music Director of National Music Camp Australia, and now works every year with the
Australian Youth Orchestra.
Elizabeth Wallfischís long and impressive discography offers a window onto her expansive musical world. From the High Baroque Italian violinist-composers such as Vivaldi, Corelli, Veracini, Tartini, Geminiani and the Classical and Romantic greats embraces the music of their lesser-known contemporaries such as Myslivecek and
Abel. She has explored the music of Paganini, Spohr, Kreutzer, Rode, and Viotti and has recorded much of the music of the great Baroque tradition, from the earliest Italian violin music of Cima, to Biber, Telemann, Bach, Locatelli, Corelli, Veracini and the rich, sensual music of the French Baroque.
Elizabeth Wallfisch directing engagements include the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Music of the Baroque Orchestra in Chicago, Les Violons du Roy, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver and the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester. Always keen to nurture young talent, Elizabeth has formed the Wallfisch Band, a unique international period-instrument orchestra in which hand-picked younger players, either still studying or on the threshold of their careers, play alongside Elizabeth and her seasoned colleagues, all players at the very top of the profession. The experience is a living masterclass within an intensive rehearsal and concert environment. The combination of youthful energy and musical experience results in performances of the greatest vigour, intensity and passion. The ensemble made its debut in the 2008 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music and will perform in the UK, Germany, Turkey, New Zealand and Australia in the coming seasons.
Elizabeth Wallfisch has published a treatise, specifically on fundamental aspects of baroque violin playing: “The Art of Playing Chin-Off for the Brave and the Curious”
Copyright © 2021 Opus EM - Alle rechten voorbehouden
We gebruiken cookies om websiteverkeer te analyseren en de ervaring op je website te optimaliseren. Als je het gebruik van cookies accepteert, worden je gegevens gecombineerd met de gegevens van alle andere gebruikers.