All about Hungary: Opera singers

Opera singers

Posted on Mar 25, 2010| | | No comments:
Hungary is one of the biggest country of classical music and we do not miss opera singers eighter. If we can say that Italy "produces" perfect male voices, in that case Hungary is its female partner.
It is true, our opera singers do not performe very often in Hungary, they usually play in the most famous opera houses all over the world, the Hungarian State Opera House does not have budget for competiting with the others for salaries (it is my personal theory).

Eva Marton

Éva Marton (born June 18, 1943, Budapest) is a Hungarian dramatic soprano, particularly known for her operatic portrayals of Puccini's Turandot and Tosca, and Wagnerian roles.

Marton studied voice at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. She made her professional debut as Kate Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at Hungary's Margaret Island summer festival. At the Hungarian State Opera, she made her debut as Queen of Shemaka in Rimsky-Korsakov's Le Coq d'Or in 1968.
In 1972, she was invited by Christoph von Dohnányi to make her debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Frankfurt Opera. That same year, she sang Matilde in Rossini's Guglielmo Tell in Florence, conducted by Riccardo Muti. She also returned to Budapest to sing Odabella in Verdi's Attila. In 1973, Marton made her debut at the Vienna State Opera in Puccini's Tosca. In 1977, she sang at the Hamburg State Opera, in the role of the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten, and made her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Verdi's Aida. In 1978, Marton made her debut at La Scala in Milan as Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore. She debuted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1979 as Maddalena in Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier.
In 1981, she performed at the Munich Opera Festival in the title role of Die ägyptische Helena by Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting. She sang the role of Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio in 1982 and 1983, both performances conducted by Lorin Maazel.

In 1976, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York in the role of Eva in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. At the Bayreuth Festival she sang both Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser in 1977-1978. In 1982, Marton performed the role of Elisabeth in Tannhäuser at the Metropolitan Opera. Of that performance, The New York Times wrote:
The arrival on the scene of a fully matured Wagnerian singer is always good news, however long we must wait between dispatches from the front. The news today is that Eva Marton has arrived. The Hungarian artist, portraying Elisabeth for the first time with the Metropolitan Opera in Monday night's Tannhäuser, showed that she has the vocal and temperamental qualities to become the opera world's next important dramatic soprano. She may, in fact, already be there. The timbre is right, the sheer staying power is impressive and the instincts are those of a born actress.

Marton later became a frequent interpreter of the role of Brünnhilde in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. She performed in the complete Zubin Mehta-led Ring cycle at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1996. In 1998, she appeared in a new production of Lohengrin at the Hamburg State Opera, portraying Ortrud.

Marton first sang the title role of Puccini's last opera Turandot at the Vienna State Opera in 1983. It became a role with which she was closely identified. Since 1983, she has performed the role over a hundred times including at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Arena di Verona, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, Barcelona, Houston Grand Opera. She has also portrayed Turandot in six television and video productions, including a Vienna State Opera production directed by Harold Prince, a Metropolitan Opera production created by Franco Zeffirelli production and a production designed by David Hockney filmed at the San Francisco Opera. She has recorded the role twice, conducted by Lorin Maazel and later Roberto Abbado.

Marton's new roles in this millennium include Isolde in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at Hamburg State Opera in 2000, and Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal in Barcelona and Lisbon in 2001. In 2006 and 2007, she performed in a concert version of Giordano's Fedora at the Miskolc Opera Festival, in Elektra by Richard Strauss at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and in Jenůfa in Hamburg, in the role of the Kostelnicka. She retired from the operatic stage after performing the role of Klytemnestra in Elektra in Barcelona (Spain) in Feb/March 2008.

Sylvia Sass

Sylvia Sass (12 July 1951) is an acclaimed Hungarian operatic soprano, particularly associated with Verdi roles.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, she studied at Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest with Ferenc Révhegyi. She made her professional debut at the Hungarian State Opera, as Frasquita in Georges Bizet's Carmen, in 1971. The following year, she appeared at the Sofia National Opera, as Violetta in La traviata, and during the 1974-75 season at the Salzburg Festival singing Mozart in concert.
In 1975, she sang at the Scottish Opera, as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, and in 1976, made her debut at the Royal Opera House in London, in a much acclaimed performance of Giselda in I Lombardi, returning the following season as Violetta. In 1977, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as Tosca. She also appeared at the Vienna State Opera, the Munich State Opera, the Teatro Municipal de Caracas as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, at the opera houses of Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, as well as the Paris Opera and the Aix-en-Provence Festival, both as Violetta. In 1978, she made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, as Puccini's Manon Lescaut, conducted by Georges Prêtre, a performance that was televised live across Europe.
Her repertory also included; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Mimi in La bohème, Judith in Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, etc, but she was particularly admired in early Verdi operas, especially as Lady Macbeth.
A DVD of her masterful 1981 performance of "Bluebeard's Castle" under Sir Georg Solti is available.
Sass has won many awards, the first in 1972 when she won first prize at the Kodály Voice Competition. In 1973, she won the Grand Prix as Violetta at the International Opera Competition for Young Singers. In 1974, she won the Silver Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, in Moscow. She was also made an Honored Artist of Hungary, in 1977.
Her exceptional vocal and dramatic talent prompted some to hail her as the second Maria Callas. However, perhaps as a result of having taken on too much too soon, her voice deteriorated early, and by the end of the 1980s, she had all but vanished from the operatic scene. In recent years, she has settled in France, where she keeps busy painting and giving masterclasses.
Sass has made several recordings of arias, lieder, and complete operas, notably Bluebeard's Castle and Don Giovanni, both conducted by Georg Solti, Verdi's I Lombardi, Ernani, Attila, Macbeth, Stiffelio, all conducted by Lamberto Gardelli, as well as Cherubini's Médée, again with Gardelli, Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs and Richard Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder.

Ilona Tokody

She was born in 27 April, 1957 in Szeged, soprano. She started her studies in the Hungarian Music Academy in 1971, the next year she has won at the Kodaly singer competion, and in the following some years she has succeed in different competitions in Geneva, Bratislava, Oostende and Budapest. Since 1976 she is a privat singer of the Hungarian State Opera House and a permanent member of the Vienna State Opera.
She has sung in several European and American cities. In the New York Metropolitan Opera she has performed in 1988. She was the singer who sang the first time the main role of the opera Iris from Mascagni recorded to disk, together with Placido Domingo. In 1992 she has a magnificent concert with Jose Carreras in the big People's Stadium in Budapest. With the catalan artist she has a close friendship. In 1994 she plays with the famous Spanish Juan Pons in the Music Academy in Budapest, then they go together for a world tour as a duett with the performance of verdi. Since 1996 she is a permanent member of the Hungarian State Opera House.

Andrea Rost

Andrea Rost (born June 15, 1962) is a Hungarian lyric soprano. She has performed in leading roles with the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, the Royal Opera House, Opéra National de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera and the Salzburg Festival. 1997 saw the release of her first solo recording, Le delizie dell’amor, featuring arias from bel canto, Verdi and Puccini operas.

Erika Miklòsa

Erika Miklósa (born June 9, 1970, Kiskunhalas) is a Hungarian coloratura soprano.

Born in the southern Hungarian town of Kiskunhalas, she spent her youth as an athlete training for the heptathlon. Due to an accident, however, she was forced to switch career paths. Because of her good singing skills she chose to be a singer. At first she sang at family gatherings, weddings and formal celebrations. On one such occasion, a singing-master heard her and almost immediately began to teach the 16-year-old Erika. Soon she went on to study music at the Liszt Ferenc Academy Music in Szeged as well as in Milan and New York. She became a soloist at the Hungarian State Opera in 1990. Her signature role is the Queen of the Night (Mozart: The Magic Flute). She sang also at the Royal Opera House in London, at the Staatsoper in Vienna, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and many more famous opera houses.

Awards & commendations

  • Pro Opera Lyrica Opera Singer of the Year 1993 (Hungary)
  • International Mozart Competition - 1st Prize in Voice category (1993)
  • European Award for Culture, Zurich (1995)
  • Order of Merit Member Cross (Hungary, 1998)
  • Honorary Citizen of Kiskunhalas (1999)
  • Artist of Bács County (2003)

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