Kazlų Rūda, Lithuania
Violeta Urmana (born 1961) is Lithuanian opera singer who has sung leading mezzo-soprano and soprano roles in the opera houses of Europe and North America.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is considered to be one of the Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, along with Latvian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.
A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (, ; Italian: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno] meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.
A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.
Urmana was born in Kazlų Rūda, a small town in Lithuania's Marijampolė County. She studied piano and singing at the Lithuania Academy of Music and Theater in Vilnius and continued her vocal studies in Munich at Hochschule für Musik und Theater München with Josef Loibl. Between 1991 and 1993, she was a member the Bavarian State Opera's Opera Studio program for young singers where she studied under Astrid Varnay and would begin her stage career at the opera house.
Marijampolė County is one of the ten counties in Lithuania. It is in the south of the country in the historical Suvalkija region, and its capital is the town Marijampolė. On 1 July 2010, the county administration was abolished, and since that date, Marijampolė County remains as the territorial and statistical unit.
The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius, Lithuania, is a state-supported conservatory that trains students in music, theatre, and multimedia arts.
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, with a population of 574,147 as of 2018. Vilnius is in the southeast part of Lithuania and is the second largest city in the Baltic states. Vilnius is the seat of the main government institutions of Lithuania and the Vilnius District Municipality. Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to GaWC studies, and is known for the architecture in its Old Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Before World War II, Vilnius was one of the largest Jewish centres in Europe. Its Jewish influence has led to it being described as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" and Napoleon named it "the Jerusalem of the North" as he was passing through in 1812. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, together with the Austrian city of Linz.
Urmana originally sang mezzo-soprano roles but from 2001 began singing dramatic soprano roles.She sang Madeleine di Coigny in Andrea Chénier at the Vienna State Opera in 2003, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde in Rome in 2004 and Leonora in La forza del destino in London that same year.
A dramatic soprano is a type of operatic soprano with a powerful, rich, emotive voice that can sing over, or cut through, a full orchestra. Thicker vocal folds in dramatic voices usually (but not always) mean less agility than lighter voices but a sustained, fuller sound. Usually this voice has a lower tessitura than other sopranos, and a darker timbre. They are often used for heroic, often long-suffering, tragic women of opera. Dramatic sopranos have a range from approximately low A (A3) to "high C" (C6). Some dramatic sopranos, known as Wagnerian sopranos, have an exceptionally big voice that can assert itself over a large orchestra (of more than 80 or even 100 pieces). These voices are substantial, often denser in tone, extremely powerful and, ideally, evenly balanced throughout the vocal registers. Wagnerian sopranos usually play mythic heroines. Successful Wagnerian sopranos are rare and often Wagnerian roles are performed by Italianate dramatic sopranos.
Andrea Chénier is a verismo opera in four acts by Umberto Giordano, set to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica, and first performed on 28 March 1896 at La Scala, Milan. The story is based loosely on the life of the French poet André Chénier (1762–1794), who was executed during the French Revolution. The character Carlo Gérard is partly based on Jean-Lambert Tallien, a leading figure in the Revolution. It remains popular with audiences, though less frequently performed than in the first half of the 20th century. One reason for its survival in the repertoire is the lyrical-dramatic music provided by Giordano for the tenor lead, which gives a talented singer opportunities to demonstrate his histrionic skill and flaunt his voice. Giuseppe Borgatti's triumph in the title role at the first performance immediately propelled him to the front rank of Italian opera singers. He went on to become Italy's greatest Wagnerian tenor, rather than a verismo-opera specialist.
The Vienna State Opera is an Austrian opera house and opera company based in Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera. In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra.
She is married to the Italian opera singer, Alfredo Nigro. The couple met when she was singing the title role in Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide at La Scala in 2002.
Alfredo Nigro is an Italian tenor.
Iphigénie en Aulide is an opera in three acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck, the first work he wrote for the Paris stage. The libretto was written by François-Louis Gand Le Bland Du Roullet and was based on Jean Racine's tragedy Iphigénie. It was premiered on 19 April 1774 by the Paris Opéra in the second Salle du Palais-Royal and revived in a slightly revised version the following year.
La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.
Roles sung by Urmana in the course of her career include:
Médée is a French language opéra-comique by Luigi Cherubini. The libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman was based on Euripides' tragedy of Medea and Pierre Corneille's play Médée. It is set in the ancient city of Corinth.
Gurre-Lieder is a large cantata for five vocal soloists, narrator, chorus and large orchestra, composed by Arnold Schoenberg, on poems by the Danish novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen. The title means "songs of Gurre", referring to Gurre Castle in Denmark, scene of the medieval love-tragedy revolving around the Danish national legend of the love of the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag for his mistress Tove, and her subsequent murder by Valdemar's jealous Queen Helvig.
Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was commissioned by Cairo's Khedivial Opera House and had its première there on 24 December 1871, in a performance conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886. Ghislanzoni's scheme follows a scenario often attributed to the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, but Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz argues that the source is actually Temistocle Solera.
Christa Ludwig is a retired German dramatic mezzo-soprano, distinguished for her performances of opera, Lieder, oratorio, and other major religious works like masses and passions, and solos contained in symphonic literature. Her career spanned from the late 1940s until the early 1990s. She is widely recognised as one of the most significant and distinguished singers of the 20th century, "with a voice of exquisite richness and, when needed breathtaking amplitude."
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a German lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, one of the most famous Lieder performers of the post-war period, best known as a singer of Franz Schubert's Lieder, particularly "Winterreise" of which his recordings with accompanist Gerald Moore and Jörg Demus are still critically acclaimed half a century after their release.
Jessye Mae Norman is an American opera singer and recitalist. A dramatic soprano, Norman is associated in particular with the Wagnerian repertoire, and with the roles of Sieglinde, Ariadne, Alceste, and Leonore. Norman has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and is a Spingarn Medalist. Apart from receiving several honorary doctorates and other awards, she has also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, and is a member of the British Royal Academy of Music.
Kirsten Malfrid Flagstad was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano. She ranks among the greatest singers of the 20th century, and many opera critics called hers "the voice of the century." Desmond Shawe-Taylor wrote of her in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera: "No one within living memory surpassed her in sheer beauty and consistency of line and tone."
Jane Eaglen is an English dramatic soprano particularly known for her interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner and the title roles in Bellini's Norma and Puccini's Turandot.
Leopoldine "Leonie" Rysanek was an Austrian dramatic soprano.
Anja Silja Regina Langwagen is a German soprano who is known for her great abilities as a singing-actress and for the vastness of her repertoire.
Cheryl Studer is an American dramatic soprano who has sung at many of the world's foremost opera houses. Studer has performed more than eighty roles ranging from the dramatic repertoire to roles more commonly associated with lyric sopranos and coloratura sopranos, and, in her late stage, mezzo-sopranos. She is particularly known for her interpretations of the works of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner.
Dame Gwyneth Jones, is a Welsh operatic dramatic soprano.
Martha Mödl was a German soprano, and later a mezzo-soprano. She specialized in large dramatic roles such as Isolde, Brünnhilde, and particularly Kundry, and is considered, along with Astrid Varnay and Birgit Nilsson, one of the three major postwar Wagner sopranos. She was among the preeminent Wagner sopranos—and most compelling singing actresses—of the twentieth century. She was celebrated for her highly individualized interpretations, exceptional acting ability, intense stage presence, and "rich, sexy voice."
Dunja Vejzović is an acclaimed operatic soprano from Croatia.
Janice Baird is an American dramatic soprano, best known for her interpretation of Wagner and Strauss. Baird was born in New York City.
Susan Owen is an American operatic soprano. Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree from East Carolina University in 1980 and a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983. In 1990 she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. From 1995-1999 she was a member of the Staatstheater Kassel, Intendant Michael Leinert. From 1999 - 2002 she was a member of the Staatstheater Darmstadt with Mark Albrecht.
Nina Maria Stemme is a Swedish dramatic soprano opera singer.
Naděžda Kniplová is a Czech operatic soprano who had an active international career from the 1950s through the 1980s. Kniplová possessed a large voice with a sonorous, metallic, dark timbre that was particularly well suited to the dramatic soprano repertoire. While she was most admired in Czech operas and as Wagnerian heroines, she sang a wide repertoire that also encompassed Italian, Russian, and Hungarian language roles. A fine actress, her performances were praised for their intensity and pathos. However, some critics commented on a certain lack of steadiness or purity in her singing. Her voice is preserved on a number of recordings made on the Supraphon and Decca labels.
Nomeda Kazlaus (born as Nomeda Kazlauskaitė in Vilnius, Lithuania, is one of the most outstanding Lithuanian operatic sopranos of the contemporary generation of singers, an international opera diva who has appeared in leading roles in many European opera houses including the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Teatro Malibran in Venice etc. Nomeda Kazlaus is also TV host, producer, vocal professor, jury chair and member of many international competitions, laureate of four international singing competitions, winner of the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture Young Artist 2007 award.
Jennifer Wilson is an American soprano known especially for her Wagnerian opera roles. She is the daughter of Newton Wilson and Katherine Still. The daughter, granddaughter and niece of professional singers, instrumentalists and music educators, Wilson grew up steeped in music from opera and oratorio to rock 'n' roll and bluegrass. She began tap dance lessons at age 3, ballet at 8, piano at 10, and solo classical singing at 12. Wilson attended Cornell University for several years, eventually departing on a leave of absence which she filled with advanced training in acting, languages, and vocal studies with former Metropolitan Opera coloratura soprano Marilyn Cotlow. During this time, Wilson supported herself as a news bureau assistant and wire editor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The consolidation of US international broadcast services in 1995 caused Wilson to lose her position with RFE/RL, forcing her to find other employment. At this point she took up singing full-time, though her breakthrough to the elusive ranks of international soloist was still several years away.
Frances Elizabeth Connell was a South African-born operatic mezzo-soprano, and later soprano, whose career took place mainly in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Gladys Kuchta was an American operatic soprano who sang leading roles in opera houses worldwide including the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House, Bayreuth Festival, San Francisco Opera, and the Teatro Colón.