Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday: Gwyneth Jones


"Crudele... Non mi dir"
Don Giovanni (Mozart)
Dame Gwyneth Jones DBE (born November 7, 1936, Pontnewynydd, Wales, UK) is a Welsh soprano. She was born into a musical family and sang regularly as a teen. Before becoming a professional singer, Dame Gwyneth worked as a secretary at the Pontypool foundry. She won many formidable prizes at Eisteddfodau Festival. She studied music at the Royal College of Music, London, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena as well as the International Opera Studio in Zürich. One year after making her professional debut in 1962 as a mezzo-soprano in Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice at the Zurich Opera House, she made her Welsh National Opera debut as Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth. She soon discovered that her easy top range could enable her to sing soprano roles and she switched to the soprano repertoire from around 1964, her first major soprano role being Amelia in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. Jones came to

"D'amor sull'ali rosee"
Il Trovatore (Verdi)
prominence in 1964 when she stood in for Leontyne Price as Leonora in Verdi's Il trovatore at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Her career then developed rapidly, and she met with success as Aïda, Leonore (in Fidelio), Desdemona (in Otello), Elisabeth (in Don Carlos), Donna Anna (in Don Giovanni), Cio-cio-san (in Madama Butterfly), Lady Macbeth (in Verdi's Macbeth), Santuzza (in Cavalleria Rusticana), Octavian (in Der Rosenkavalier), Médée (in the Italian version) and Tosca. From these, she gradually proceeded to heavier roles like Minnie (in La fanciulla del West), Chrysothemis (in Elektra), Salome, the Marschallin (in Der Rosenkavalier), Eva (in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Senta (in Der fliegende Holländer), Kundry (in Parsifal), both Venus and Elisabeth (in Tannhäuser), Helena (in Strauss's Die ägyptische Helena), Ariadne (in Ariadne auf Naxos) and Sieglinde (in Die Walküre). She has appeared frequently at almost every


"Ritorna vincitor"
Aida (Verdi)
major opera house in the world, including the Vienna State Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the San Francisco Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Paris Opéra. She made debut at Teatro alla Scala as Leonora in Il Trovatore on April 4, 1967. She returned to La Scala as the title role of Salome in January 1974. On November 24, 1972, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House of New York as Sieglinde in Die Walküre. Until her latest appearance at the MET on April 22, 1995 (as Kundry in Parsifal), she sang 11 parts in 10 operas for 93 times at the Met; the most frequent part was the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (20 times). In August 1979 she made her debut at Salzburg Summer Festival as the Marschallin. Jones's large-scaled, powerful dramatic soprano voice, unusually robust vocal stamina, stage presence and acting abilities were widely admired, although she also faced criticism for the wobble that her voice developed in the 1970s and which afflicted

"Dei tuoi figli la madre" Medea (Cherubini)
some of her performances. Nonetheless, she could still be remarkably secure and tonally rock steady beyond the age of 60. One of her most noted achievements was her interpretation of Brünnhilde in the Bayreuth centennial production of Der Ring des Nibelungen under Pierre Boulez and directed by Patrice Chéreau, a performance preserved on both video and audio discs. The recording won a Grammy in 1983. Her career at Bayreuth Festival - 1966: Sieglinde in Die Walküre; 1968: Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; 1969: Senta in Der fliegende Holländer; Kundry in Parsifal; 1970: Sieglinde in Die Walküre; Senta in Der fliegende Holländer; Kundry in Parsifal; 1971: Sieglinde in Die Walküre; Senta

"Dich teure halle"
Tannhäuser (Wagner)
in Der fliegende Holländer; 1972: Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser; Sieglinde in Die Walküre; 1973: Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser; Sieglinde in Die Walküre; 1974: Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser; Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung; 1975: Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle; 1976 : Brünnhilde Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle; 1977: Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle; Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser; 1978: Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle; 1979: Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle; 1980: Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle; 1982: Senta in Der fliegende Holländer. Later in her career (from 1980 onwards), she undertook the title role of Elektra as well as Isolde (in Tristan und Isolde), the Dyer's Wife (in Die Frau ohne Schatten) and Turandot. While best known for her work in the Wagner-Strauss-Puccini repertoire, her versatility enabled her to take on

"Zweite Brautnacht"
Die Ägyptische Helena (R. Strauss)
other roles, such as Poppea (in L'incoronazione di Poppea), Hanna Glawari (in The Merry Widow) and Norma. Starting from the 1990s, other than the aforementioned parts, she went on to sing Widow Begbick (Mahagonny), Ortrud (in Lohengrin), the Woman in Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung, the Kostelnicka (in Jenůfa), the Kabanicha (in Káťa Kabanová), the Woman in Poulenc's La voix humaine, Ruth (in The Pirates of Penzance), Gertrud (in Hänsel und Gretel), Herodias (in Salome) and Klytemnästra (in Elektra). Dame Gwyneth made roles that exemplify the Wagnerian/heavy dramatic soprano fach, such as Brünnhilde, Isolde, Elektra, the Dyer's Wife and Turandot, part of her core repertoire, and performed them throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She once famously undertook the roles of both Elisabeth and Venus in Götz Friedrich's production of Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival in the 1970s, and has also been

"Marie Theres'...Hab' mir's gelobt"
Der Rosenkavalier (R. Strauss)
w/Brigitte Fassbaender & Lucia Popp
credited with the unique achievement of having performed all three major female roles in Elektra on stage. She also performed in concerts and lieder recitals, television and radio broadcasts and participated in several film projects, including the epic television series, Wagner, in which she played the first Isolde, Malvina Schnorr von Carolsfeld. She has also devised for herself a couple of one-woman music-theatrical shows - O, Malvina! and Die Frau im Schatten - which are inspired by real historical characters, namely, Malvina Schnorr von Carolsfeld and Pauline de Ahna (wife of Richard Strauss). The soprano part in the Symphony No. 9, titled Vision of Eternity, of Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott was written for and premiered by her. In 2003 Dame Gwyneth made her debut as director and costume designer in a stage production of Der fliegende Holländer in Weimar, Germany. She has also given master-classes for young singers and acted as an adjudicator in international vocal competitions, including the 2009 BBC Cardiff

"Teco io sto" Un Ballo in Maschera
(Verdi) with Plácido Domingo
Singer of the World competition. Despite her advancing years and the extraordinary demands of her chosen repertoire, she remains an active performer on the stage, taking on various soprano, mezzo-soprano and even contralto roles with vocal authority and dramatic conviction. In June 2007, she created the role of the Queen of Hearts in the world premiere of Unsuk Chin's new opera, Alice in Wonderland, at the Bavarian State Opera. In February 2008 she sang the part of Herodias in Stephen Langridge's production of Richard Strauss' Salome at Malmö Opera in Sweden. She repeated this role in August 2010, alongside the Salome of Deborah Voigt, in a concert performance at the Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland, and is scheduled to perform the part on stage at the Vienna State Opera in May 2012. She was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1976 and was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1986. She is also the recipient of numerous musical/cultural awards and honours from many different countries and organisations, including the Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Golden Medal of Honour in Vienna, the Austrian Cross

"Immolation Scene"
Götterdämmerung (Wagner)
of Honour First Class, the Shakespeare Prize and the Puccini Award. She is a Kammersängerin at both the Vienna State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera and she has been made a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. She has also been conferred honorary doctorates by the University of Wales and the University of Glamorgan. She is currently the President of the Wagner Society of Great Britain. She also took on an ambitious project to convert Adelina Patti's mansion and miniature opera house, Craig y Nos, in the Swansea Valley, into a Welsh Glyndebourne, which sadly came to nought. Jones's daughter Susannah Haberfeld is a mezzo-soprano. [Source, Source]

No comments:

Post a Comment