Thursday, January 6, 2011

Aleksandra Kurzak Signs Exclusive Contract With Decca

Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak has announced she has just signed an exclusive recording contract with Decca. The debut album was recorded in December 2010 and will be released mid-2011. The disc will contain bel canto arias from I Puritani, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Traviata and more. As a tribute to homeland, an aria from Stanislaw Moniuszko's The Haunted Manor will also be included. The Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana is conducted by Omer Meir Welber. 

As part of the contract, she will also make a guest appearance on the next album of tenor Joseph Calleja that will feature duets from La Bohème and Les pêcheurs de perles. It will also be released in 2011. She is the first Polish artist to sign exclusively with the label famous for singers like Pavarotti, Sutherland, Horne and Fleming.


Recent engagements include Lucia di Lammermoor (Seattle Opera), Don Giovanni (Teatro La Fenice, Salzurger Festspiele, Theater an der Wien), La Traviata (National Opera House Warsaw), Il Turco in Italia (Royal Opera House - Covent Garden), Tancredi (Theater an der Wien), Mitridate (Welsh National Opera, Mozart Festival in Coruña) and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Lyric Opera of Chicago). At the Metropolitan Opera she has sung Les Contes d'Hoffmann (2004, debut), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (2008) and Rigoletto (2009).

In 2011, the soprano will perform a recital at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Violetta in La Traviata (Hamburg, Warsaw, Turin), Adina in L'elisir d'Amore (Valencia, Vienna), Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (London), Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Madrid), Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Los Angeles), the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor (Warsaw) and Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel (New York).

BIOGRAPHY:
Polish-born soprano Aleksandra Kurzak began her musical education at the age of 7, playing violin and piano. She studied voice at the conservatories of Wroclaw and Hamburg. She made her professional opera debut at the age of 21 at the Wroclaw State Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. Her mother and teacher Jolanta Żmurko performed the role of Countess. Kurzak is a laureate of singing competitions in Warsaw, Barcelona, Helsinki and Canton.

Between 2001 and 2007 Kurzak was a member of the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera, where she sang numerous roles: Queen of the Night, Blonde, Susanna, Servilia, Marzelline (Fidelio), Nanetta (Falstaff), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Gilda, Adèle, Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Maid (Powder her Face), Musetta, Cleopatra, Fiorilla (Il Turco in Italia), Marie (La Fille du Régiment).

In 2005 Kurzak made her debut at The Metropolitan Opera in the role of Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. In the same year she debuted at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden as Aspasia in Mitridate, Re di Ponto. The artist returned to the Met, singing Blonde in Entführung aus dem Serail and Gilda in Rigoletto. Since her first London appearance, Kurzak has returned regularly to the Royal Opera House, where she has performed roles of Norina (Don Pasquale), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Susanna, Matilde (Matilde di Shabran), achieving a real triumph on this stage and most recently Donna Fiorilla.

In February 2010 Kurzak made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in the role of Gilda.

Kurzak has appeared as well at the German State Opera Unter den Linden in Berlin (Queen of the Night), Teatro Regio in Parma and Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (Gilda), Bavarian State Opera in Munich (Cleopatra, Adele, Rosina, Fiorilla), Vienna State Opera (Rosina), Teatro Massimo in Palermo (Norina), Teatro Massimo di Bellini in Catania (concert with arias by Bellini), Lyric Opera House in Chicago (Blonde), Salzburg Festival (concert arias by Mozart, Ännchen and Donna Anna), Mozart Festival in A Coruña as well as at the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff (Aspasia) and at the Theater an der Wien (Donna Anna and Amenaide), Finnish National Opera (Gilda), National Opera in Warsaw (Gilda, Violetta) and Teatro La Fenice (Donna Anna). She appeared with  Essen Philharmoniker, the Hamburger Symphoniker, the Hamburger Philharmoniker, the NDR Orchestra and with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

PERSONAL:
With tenor James Valenti
She grew up in Wrocław, Poland.  Her mother was an opera singer and her father was a horn player. She attended many rehearsals at the opera house growing up. Her mother, a woman who started with Queen of the Night and moved later into Tosca roles,  studied a lot of opera at home. Aleksandra studied violin for 12 years, but still managed time to attend the opera. Her dream was to be a ballet dancer, but realized that career would be very short.

She studied at the music academy in Wrocław from 1996-2000. In 1998 she won the Stanislaw Moniuszko International Voice competition in Warsaw. While at school she met a professor from the Hoschule für Musik in Hamburg, whom she would study with after she completed the University. 

She won competitions in Warsaw, as well as Helsinki (1999) and  Viñas International Singing Competition in Barcelona (2000). She entered the Plácido Domingo competition, Operalia, and didn't win but was heard by Peter Katona of the Royal Opera which led to an engagement.
Don Giovanni in Salzburg with Christopher Maltman

In 2001 she joined the Young Artists program at the Hamburg State Opera and after two years became a member of the ensemble. She stayed for six years singing small comprimario roles such as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and eventually sang roles like Gilda, Blonde and Queen of the Night. During her time in Hamburg she also sang Cleopatra, Marie, Fiorilla, Konstanze, Nanetta, Susanna and Gretel. 

After her MET debut, her mother said, "Don't ask me how you sounded or looked, I was crying the whole time."

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