Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday: Anna Tomowa-Sintow

"Tatiana's Letter Scene"
Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)
"Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Bulgarian: Анна Томова-Синтова, by official transliteration Anna Tomova-Sintova, born September 22, 1941, in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) is a Bulgarian soprano who has sung to great acclaim in all the major opera houses around the world in a repertoire that includes Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, and Strauss. She enjoyed a particularly close professional relationship with conductor Herbert von Karajan from 1973 until the conductor's death in 1989. Tomowa-Sintow began studying piano at age six. At sixteen she won a national singing competition. She later attended the National Conservatory of Sofia, where she studied voice with Professor Georgi Zlatev-Tcherkin and soprano Katia Spiridonowa and graduated with diplomas in voice and piano, making her stage debut, for her master class finals, as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Upon graduation,

"Ben io t'invenni...Salgo già del trono"
Nabucco (Verdi)
she joined the Opera Studio of the Leipzig Opera, where, in 1967, she made her professional debut as Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco. While with this company she built up her repertoire with the leading roles in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Manon Lescaut; Verdi's La traviata, Il trovatore, and Otello; Mozart's Don Giovanni; Strauss's Arabella; and Werner Egk's Die Zaubergeige. For many of these roles she studied with the company's music director, Professor Peter Schmitz, who had studied with Richard Strauss. In 1972, she was invited to join the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, where she was named Kammersängerin during her very first year. In Berlin she continued to expand her repertoire with leading roles in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte, Verdi's Aida, Puccini's Tosca, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Wagner's Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, and Strauss's Ariadne auf

"Es gibt ein Reich"
Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss)
Naxos and Der Rosenkavalier. She is also a Kammersängerin of the Vienna Staatsoper. In 1973, Tomowa-Sintow auditioned for conductor Herbert von Karajan for the upcoming world premiere of Carl Orff's De temporum fine comœdia at the Salzburg Festival. He hired her immediately, and for the next seventeen years (until Karajan's death) the two worked frequently together in opera houses, concert halls, and recording studios around the world. Karajan called Tomowa-Sintow 'the greatest talent I have encountered over the past years.' From 1973 through 1991, Tomowa-Sintow was a permanent guest of the Salzburg Festival. With that maestro, she recorded Le nozze di Figaro (1978), Lohengrin (opposite René Kollo and Dunja Vejzovic, 1976-81) and Der Rosenkavalier (with Agnes Baltsa and Janet Perry, 1982). Tomowa-

"Non mi dir" Don Giovanni (Mozart)
Sintow made her San Francisco Opera debut in 1974, as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni; her Covent Garden debut in 1975, as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte; her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1976 and her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in 1980, both as Donna Anna; and her La Scala debut in 1982, as Elsa in Lohengrin. Her recording of Ariadne auf Naxos with James Levine and the Vienna Philharmonic won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording." [Source]

Born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, Anna Tomowa-Sintow began her musical path very early, starting with the piano at the age of six. Ten years later she won her first national singing competition which led to her entering the National Conservatory of Sofia. There, she studied voice with Prof. Zlatev-Tcherkin and the soprano, Katja Spiridonowa. She graduated from the conservatory with a diploma in voice and

"Wählst du den einen - verlierst du
den andern!" Capriccio (Strauss)
piano, performing, for her master class finals, on stage for the first time Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Following this, she was immediately invited to join the Opera Studio of the Leipzig Opera, where in 1967 she made her professional stage debut as Abigaille in Nabucco. A major artistic force and influence during this period was the conductor Rolf Reuter with whom she worked on most of her roles there. She gradually built up her repertoire with parts such as Madama Butterfly, Violetta, Leonora (Trovatore), Desdemona (Otello), Manon Lescaut, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Ninabella in Werner Egk's Die Zaubergeige and Arabella - a role which she studied with the Music Director of the Opera, Prof. Paul Schmitz, a personal student of Richard Strauss. During this period, she also began performing in concerts and recordings with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Kurt Masur. In 1971 she won gold medals at the international vocal competitions in both Sofia and Rio de Janeiro. In 1972, Anna Tomowa-Sintow was asked to join the company of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, where she was named "Kammersängerin" during her very first year. A few years later she received the same title at the Vienna Staatsoper. In Berlin, she continued to expand her repertoire with Contessa (Figaro), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Ariadne, Aida, Tosca, Marschallin (Rosenkavalier), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Elsa (Lohengrin) and Tatjana (Onegin). The critic Ernst Krause admiringly called her their "Arabellissima". Her first international breakthrough occurred in Paris in 1973 with the Verdi Requiem at the Dôme des Invalides and a few months later in Geneva

"Ritorna vincitor!" Aida (Verdi)
with Desdemona (Otello). During the same year she inaugurated the NHK Hall in Tokyo with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under Wolfgang Sawallisch. In 1973, Anna Tomowa-Sintow auditioned for Herbert von Karajan for the upcoming world premiere of Karl Orff`s De temporum fine comoedia at the Salzburg Summer Festival. She was immediately engaged and continued to work with the great Maestro for 17 years in a strong collaboration that spanned from the stage to concert halls (including tours to America and Japan), with numerous recordings and films. In "A Biographical Portrait" by Roger Vaughan (Weidenfeld & Nicholson), Herbert von Karajan declared about Tomowa-Sintow: "Toscanini never had access to a voice like hers - she can hit C sharp at nine o'clock in the morning." Her association with the Salzburg Festival and Maestro Karajan occupies a special place in her career. In the years from 1973 to 1991 she was a permanent guest at the Salzburg Festivals during which her many performances and recordings with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics set standards for the generations to come. She received two Grammy awards for her recordings of Ariadne under Levine and Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) under von Karajan. With Maestro von Karajan she performed Elsa, Contessa Almaviva, Donna Anna, numerous concerts, including her signature piece, Strauss' Vier letzte lieder, the Verdi Requiem, the Mozart Requiem and Brahms' German Requiem and others, all of which were recorded and to the most part filmed as well. She began with her unique Strauss interpretations in Salzburg in 1982 as Ariadne with Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting, followed in 1983/84 by her triumphant Marschallin in

"Salce, salce" Otello (Verdi)
Karajan's production of Der Rosenkavalier. This performance was televised and documented on CD and Video. Then, in 1985/86, to immense critical and public success, followed her Countess Madelaine in Capriccio under Horst Stein, which was revived and filmed for television in 1990. After having attended one of the Capriccio rehearsals, Karajan immediately decided to record the final monologue (for the first time) along with the Vier letzte lieder. About this recording, which won several international awards, he later said: "Anna left us an exemplary interpretation of both of these works". During these years in Salzburg Anna Tomowa-Sintow performed Donna Anna twice. The first time in 1977/78, in Ponnelle's production of Don Giovanni under Karl Böhm (recorded), and again under von Karajan (on video and Grammy award winning CD) exactly ten years later. In 1989 she performed, for the first time in Salzburg, the role of Tosca with conductor Georges Prêtre. Widely regarded as one of the greatest sopranos of our days, Anna Tomowa-Sintow has performed in all the major opera houses around the world. Following her debut at Covent Garden in 1975 as Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), she regularly returned to this house with roles, such as Elsa, Contessa Almaviva, Ariadne, Amelia (Ballo in maschera), Maddalena (Andrea Chénier/ televised and released on Video), Jaroslawna (Prince Igor/ B. Haitink cond./ televised and released on Video), her

Vier Letzte Lieder (Strauss)
first Kaiserin (Frau ohne Schatten), which was unanimously received as one of her greatest interpretations, and Tosca. In 1995 she returned to Covent Garden for a triumphant Marschallin in London. Her La Scala opera debut took place in 1982 as Elsa in the Abbado/Strehler production of Lohengrin for the opening of the season. With the Scala she also performed Desdemona to Domingo's Otello and Carlos Kleiber conducting, Andrea Chénier with Carreras and Riccardo Chailly in the pit, as well as a concert of the Vier letzte lieder with Sawallisch and a solo recital. At the Vienna Staatsoper, Anna Tomowa-Sintow has not only presented her entire Strauss and Mozart repertoire, but also performed a wide range of Italian roles, including Leonora (La Forza del Destino), Manon Lescaut, Aida, Tosca, Amelia, Desdemona (new production, Zubin Mehta cond.) and Elisabeth (Tannhäuser, new production, Lorin Maazel cond.) as well as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin. Another opera house which she has been visiting regularly is the Munich Staatsoper, where two of her most important triumphs during the 1980's were the premieres of Aida (Muti cond.) and Manon Lescaut (Chailly cond.). In Munich she was also cheered as Marschallin, Arabella, Ariadne, Donna Anna, Amelia, Butterfly and Tosca and she sang the very first Arabella to be

"Pace, pace mio Dio"
La Forza del Destino (Verdi)
performed in Japan ever, during the tour of the Nationaltheater in 1988 under Sawallisch. Arabella always played a very important role in her career. She sang this part during the new productions in Cologne, Hamburg (dir. Otto Schenk) und Zurich. In Zurich Anna Tomowa-Sintow also took part in the highly successful new productions of Ariadne und Tosca (dir. Tito Gobbi). At the Grand Opéra de Paris, she has been seen as Leonora (La Forza del Destino/ telecasted), Elsa and Elisabeth in a production of Tannhäuser, which inspired its director Istvan Szabo to make the movie Meeting Venus. In 1993 Anna Tomowa-Sintow added another important role to her famous Strauss repertoire by presenting for the first time, to tremendous success, the mammoth title role in Die Ägyptische Helena in a concert performance in Paris and shortly after that in a staged production at the Athens Festival. 1984 saw her in a spectacular production of Un ballo in maschera in Geneva with Pavarotti and Cappuccilli, which was also recorded for television. Anna Tomowa-Sintow's debuts with the three major American opera houses have all been with Donna Anna (Don Giovanni): San Francisco in 1974, the Metropolitan Opera in 1976 and the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1980. San Francisco then saw her Leonora (La Forza) in 1976 and Elisabetta (Don Carlo) in 1979. She returned frequently for major productions at the MET. She was invited to participate in the telecasted MET's Centennial Gala where she thrilled the audience with a spectacular "Ernani involami." The following year, she opened the Met 1984 season with Elsa to Placido Domingo's Lohengrin, in a much acclaimed portrayal. Later returns included the

"È strano!...Ah, fors'è lui...Sempre
libera" La Traviata (Verdi)
telecast of Simon Boccanegra (released on Video) and Aida (with L. Pavarotti), all conducted by James Levine with whom she recorded the Grammy award-winning Ariadne auf Naxos. MET audiences also cheered her very first Marschallin under Erich Leinsdorf in 1979, her moving Traviata in 1987 and her exciting Tosca in 1993. She became a particular favorite of Chicago audiences through her performances of Donna Anna, Aida (with Pavarotti for the opening of the season in 1983), Madama Butterfly (in the ravishing, televised Harold Prince production), her spectacular Leonora (Il Trovatore), Violetta, the Marschallin and Tatiana- all of which were conducted by Bruno Bartoletti. Anna Tomowa-Sintow has also given numerous recitals throughout the world: Paris, La Scala, Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Barcelona, Madrid and Tokyo. Her recital repertoire comprises a diverse range including Brahms, Strauss, Tchaikowsky, Wagner and Rachmaninoff. All of her concert repertoire has been recorded (most of it also filmed and released on video) under the baton of Herbert von Karajan: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis, Brahms' Deutsches Requiem, Bruckner's Te Deum, Mozart's Requiem and Coronation Mass, as well as Bach's Magnificat, B-Minor Mass, St. Matthew Passion, Verdi's Requiem and Strauss' Vier letzte lieder. Her most recent recording, Erich Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane,

"Surta è la note...Ernani, involami"
Ernani (Verdi)
was received with tremendous international acclaim and stands alongside her diverse and extensive operatic discography: Le Nozze di Figaro, two Don Giovannis (Böhm and Karajan), Die Zauberflöte, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Capriccio, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Traviata, Aida, as well as three aria-albums and a recording of Haydn's Creation. Anna Tomowa-Sintow is reknowned for her unique artistry in both the Italian and German repertoires and is constantly further developing and deepening the different facets of these two. In 1995 she gave her very first Norma in Zurich with tremendous success and in 1997 she sang her first Sieglinde next to René Kollo's Siegmund. In 1998 followed her triumphant successes with her first Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) at the Staatsoper Berlin and her first Salome in concert for the season's opening of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. On occasion of the reopening of the Liceu in Barcelona, in October 1999, Anna Tomowa-Sintow performed Turandot for the first

"Un bel dì vedremo"
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)
time in her career. During the spring of 2000 she once again enchanted her audiences at the London Royal Opera House Covent Garden with one of her greatest roles, the Marschallin in the Rosenkavalier. In September 2000 another of her reknowned Strauss roles followed: the Kaiserin in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with conductor Christian Thielemann before she concluded the Millenium as Maddalena/Andrea Chénier in Spain. In 2001 she gave several concerts of the Verdi Requiem throughout Europe and special gala concerts for the Verdi year in Milan and Athens for the 10th anniversary of the Megaron. During the same year a stamp was released in the USA with her image as Desdemona honouring the Verdi anniversary. She celebrated the 35th anniversary of her stage

"Morrò, ma prima in grazia"
Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi)
and performing debut in a concert performance of Aida at the Opera in Sofia on September 23, 2001. In 2002 she went on a recital tour through Europe, amongst which Barcelona and London's Wigmore Hall. She also gave operatic concerts and a series of performances of Verdis Un ballo in maschera and Don Carlo, with which she was much cheered as Elisabetta in Tokyo at the end of the year. Anna Tomowa-Sintow returned to Tokyo in February and December 2003 for gala concerts at the city's Bunka Kaikan and Suntory Hall. In 2004 she gave her debut as the Foreign Princess in Rusalka. In 2005 Anna Tomowa-Sintow celebrated the 80th anniversary of the opera house in Stara Zagora (her hometown and the oldest opera house in Bulgaria) with a big operatic gala concert. She also gave a recital and her first masterclass at the Athens Concert Hall, followed by a final concert together with her students. She was the soloist of the popular summer concerts of the NHK Symphony orchestra in Tokyo and Osaka (operatic arias, televised) and gave a

"La mamma morta"
Andrea Chénier (Giordano)
masterclass at the Music Festival in Kirishima. She closed the festival with a concert performance of the Wesedonk Lieder. In 2006 she sang the Countess in a first ever concert version of Le nozze di Figaro in Sofia in honour of the 250th Mozart anniversary year. In 2007 she sang Sieglinde with triumphant success in a concert version of Die Walküre Act 1 and together with the NHK Symphony Orchestra she performed Strauss' Vier letzte lieder in Tokyo (live TV transmission) and closed the year with her very first Christmas concert together with a boy's choir and orchestra. In 2008 she appeared for the first time at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival with a frenetically cheered recital and subsequent master class. In 2009 and 2010 she gave some highly successful Christmas concerts together with the prestigious Tölzer boy's choir and orchestra at the Athens Concert Hall, the Megaron, as well as in Japan and was also giving master classes in Japan and Greece and at the renowned Musikhochschule in Rostock. She is a regular member of the jury of many prestigious singing competitions amongst which also

"Ich ging zu ihm"
Das Wunder der Heliane (Korngold)
the Mirijam Helin singing competition in Helsinki. In 2011 she was once again a prominent jury member of the "Queen Elisabeth singing competition" in Brussels and will give master classes at the Salzburg summer academy of the Mozarteum, the Schleswig-Holstein music festival and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. At the end of the year Anna Tomowa-Sintow will give a festive concert at the re-opened opera house of her native town Stara Zagora as well as a further masterclass at the national music academy in Sofia on the occasion of its 90th anniversary and will conclude the year with a great gala concert together with her students at the National Opera house. [Source]