Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Anna Prohaska Signs Exclusively With Deutsche Grammophon

Deutsche Grammophon announced last month that they have signed an exclusive recording contract with English-Austrian soprano Anna Prohaska. Currently a member of the ensemble of the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin, where she has sung the roles of Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Poppea in Händel’s AgrippinaShe also has already appeared with such top ensembles as the Berliner Philharmoniker and Cleveland Orchestra, at major festivals including Salzburg and Lucerne, and with leading conductors – including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, René Jacobs, Philippe Jordan, Ingo Metzmacher, Sir Simon Rattle, and Franz Welser-Möst. Michael Lang, President of Deutsche Grammophon, says: “It’s
with admiration and pleasure that we welcome Anna Prohaska to our family of DG artists. We look forward to a wide range of exciting recording projects with Anna.” Anna Prohaska adds: “I feel truly honoured to be asked to record with Deutsche Grammophon. Growing up in a family of musicians, I got to know many classic performances of the great masterpieces from those wonderful records with the yellow labels. Now that I’m becoming a part of that great tradition myself it’s very exciting!”

Born into a distinguished musical family in Vienna (her great-grandfather was the composer Carl Prohaska, her grandfather the conductor and teacher Felix Prohaska).

Anna Prohaska studied in Berlin at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music and made her debut in 2002 at the Komische Oper in Harry Kupfer’s production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and then in Willy Decker’s production of Albert Herring

After taking on the role of Frasquita (Carmen) at short notice in a production conducted by Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin Staatsoper, she was engaged a member of its permanent ensemble. 

In 2008 she made her Salzburg Festival debut in Rusalka under Franz Welser-Möst, in 2009 she returned to Salzburg for Luigi Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore, and in 2010 sang her first Zerlina there. 

As well as in concerts with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester and the Berlin Konzerthausorchester under Lothar Zagrosek, Anna Prohaska has worked closely since 2007 with the Berliner Philharmoniker, including with various chamber music ensembles at the Salzburg Easter Festival, and in the world premiere of a work by Wolfgang Rihm in a ceremony for Claudio Abbado. 

In 2008 she performed orchestral songs by Webern conducted by Rattle – and recently she was the soloist in Berg’s Lulu Suite with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra conducted by Abbado in Venezuela and Lucerne. 

Besides contemporary music and standard repertoire, Anna Prohaska also devotes herself to early music and has worked with the RIAS Kammerchor, Moderntimes_1800 of Innsbruck, the Akademie für Alte Musik of Berlin, and Concerto Köln. She has given recitals at the Berlin Staatsoper, Bregenz Festival, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Vienna Musikverein. 

Future engagements include Blonde at the Bavarian State Opera and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; Despina in Così fan tutte under Marc Minkowski at the Salzburg Festival and in Berlin, Marzelline in Fidelio with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Vienna, Berg’s Lulu Suite with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and with the Vienna Philharmonic under Pierre Boulez, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle and with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with Daniel Harding in Munich, and Vladimir Jurowski at the Lucerne Festival – also solo recitals with Maurizio Pollini and Eric Schneider; and Elliott Carter’s new song-cycle What Are Years with Barenboim in Berlin. 

Anna Prohaska was awarded the Daphne Prize in 2008 and the Schneider-Schott Music Prize in 2010.

Her first studio recording for Deutsche Grammophon is scheduled for 2012.

What do you love most about your career?
Combining acting with singing, and the challenge of singing in languages you don’t actually speak. And you’ve also got to be able to deal with unlikely situations.

Do I dare ask for an example?
Only yesterday during the first part of the performance the back of my skimpy little dress just opened. I had to hold my dress with my arms so that it wouldn’t fall off in front of 1,600 people!

Do you like the travel?
Yes, definitely. I don’t yet have children, so there’s nothing that binds me to one particular place. Actually I think I could do a bit more! But at the moment I’m glad to be based in Berlin because I get to work with so many amazing artists like Barenboim at the Staatsoper, where I have a contract.

I hear you’re off to Venezuela soon…
Yes, it’s the first time I’ll be working with Maestro Abbado. I’m going to be singing the Lulu Suite by Berg with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. Lulu’s a totally different character from Blonde, which I’ll be singing in my debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper soon after.

What else are you up to?
I’m currently performing in Agrippina by Handel with the Staatsoper Berlin. I’m singing Poppea, who becomes the alter-ego of Agrippina. It’s one of the biggest roles I’ve ever done.

Off the opera stage, who have you recently enjoyed working with?
Working with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker was such an amazing experience. He was so welcoming and thanked me for my time while I was thinking, ‘Hey, I should be crawling on my knees thanking you for letting me sing with you!’

I hear you’ve got a planned solo recording coming out.
It’s a Lied CD, which will show all the various facets of my voice, as well as various languages and musical eras. But there’s going to be a theme that will hold everything together – but I’m not allowed to tell you what it is just yet!

What do you do you do when you’ve got time off?
I like to fly to a new city for a long weekend and do maybe eight hours of sightseeing a day – I call it ‘extreme sightseeing’!

Lastly, your ideal dinner date?
I’m a big film buff, so probably Ewan MacGregor… 

© Clara Nissen

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