Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday: Edith Mathis

"Se il padre perdei" Idomeneo (Mozart)
Edith Mathis (born February 11, 1938, Lucerne) is a renowned Swiss soprano and a leading exponent of the works of Mozart. She graduated from the Lucerne Conservatory and studied with Elisabeth Bosshart in Zürich where she debuted in a 1956 production of Die ZauberflöteIn 1956 she appeared in the title role in the revival of the opera Massimilla Doni in Berne and Zürich as part of Otmar Schoeck’s 70th birthday celebrations, followed by a recording conducted by Gerd Albrecht. She soon joined the Cologne Opera in 1959 and sang as a guest artist with the Hamburg State Opera (1960-1975), Glyndebourne Festival (1962-65) and the Salzburg Festival (debut in 1960). 

She became a member of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and went on to sing at the leading opera houses of the world including the Royal Opera House - Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera and the Opéra de Paris. Her varied repertoire included the roles of Ninetta in La Finte Semplice (Mozart), Marzelline in Fidelio (Beethoven), Mélisande in Pelleas et Mélisande (Debussy), Nannetta in Falstaff (Verdi), Aminta in Il Re Pastore (Mozart), Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Agathe in Der Freischütz (Weber), title role in Arabella (Strauss) and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss). Mozart would remain one of her specialties, with her roles including Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina in Così fan tutte and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. She recorded the latter role in 1980, opposite Karin Ott and Janet Perry, under Herbert von Karajan. Other roles she sang include Sophie and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and Agathe and Aennchen in Der Freischütz

Mathis also sang in the premieres of von Einem's Der Zerissene, Henze's Der junge Lord (Berlin 1965), Heinrich Sutermeister's Le roi Berénger (Munich 1985), and Menotti's Help, Help, the Globolinks!. She was also a singer of oratorios and Lieder. Her recordings include Schubert lieder for Hyperion Records, as well as Brahms, Wolf, Schumann and Strauss lieder for Denon. Several of her most notable recorded roles in Mozartian opera include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro for the Berlin Staatsoper with Karl Bohm conducting, as well Idamante in Idomeneo with the Staatskapelle Dresden. A re-released recording of Don Giovanni with the Vienna Philharmonic and Karl Böhm from the 1977 Salzburg Festival features her in one of her best-known roles, Zerlina. Additional recordings include Die Zauberflöte, Fidelio, Die Freunde von Salamanka, Der Wildschütz, Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Ascanio in Alba, Il Re Pastore, Il Sogno di Scipione and Apollo et Hyacinthus Il Mondo della Luna, L'lnfedeltà Delusa, Ariodanteas well as Bach cantatas (many of them on Archiv Produktion under Karl Richter).

Alongside her operatic career, Edith Mathis also has an extensive Lieder and oratorio repertory and her many concert appearances have included tours to Japan, the USA, Australia, Russia and Israel. She has received numerous awards for her work on the operatic stage, in the concert hall and in the recording studio, including Hans Reinhart Ring (1978), Mozart-Medaille der Internationalen Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg (1976), Kunstpreis der Stadt Luzern, Buxtehude-Preis des Lübecker Senats (1981) and the Prix Mondial du Disque (Montreux). She has been a Bayerische Kammersängerin since 1979. In 1986 she appeared in Barcelona as Agathe in Der Freischütz and in 1990 made her debut at the Berne City Opera as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.

Edith Mathis is married to conductor and pianist Bernhard Klee, with whom she has often appeared in recitals. She now lives in Switzerland. In recent years she has become a sought-after teacher. Among the singers who were her pupils or took part in her master-classes are Donna Brown, Sibylla Rubens, Maria Regina Heyne, Claudia Patacca, Brigitte Geller, Annette Labusch and Jörg Dürmüller.

"Komm in mein Herzens Haus" Cantata BWV 80 (Bach)

"Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" Cantata BWV 51 (Bach)

"Deh vieni non tardar" Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart)

"Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben" Zaïde (Mozart)

"Laudate Dominum" Vesperae Solennes de Confessor, K.339 (Mozart)

"Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio" Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart)

"Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen" Der Freischütz (Weber)

"Ach ich fühls" Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)

"Zueignung" (Strauss)

"In stiller Nacht, zur ersten Wacht" Deutsche Volkslieder (Brahms)