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Erato signs Marianne Crebassa

3 February 2016

Marianne Crebassa
Marianne CrebassaLuc Jennepin

French mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa has signed an exclusive recording contract with Erato.

Her repertory encompasses Handel, Gluck, Berlioz, Debussy and Offenbach, but she has won particular acclaim for her Mozart. She sang Cecilio in the Salzburg Festival's 2013 Lucio Silla and Cherubino in the Staatsoper Berlin's 2015 Le nozze di Figaro, and also appeared in a production based on Mozart's oratorio Davide penitente for the 2015 Salzburg Mozart week.

She is well known for performing trouser roles, including Cecilio, Cherubino, Ramiro (La finta giardiniera) and male characters from French grand operas by Chabrier, Gounod, Massenet and Offenbach.

Crebassa made her operatic debut in the Opéra de Montpellier's production of Schumann's Manfred in 2008, and joined Paris Opéra's young artist programme, the Atelier Lyrique, on a two-year contract in 2010. She has since performed in concert halls and opera houses across the world, with highlights including a performance at the opening gala of the Paris Philharmonie and singing the title role in Marc-André's Charlotte Salomon.

Future engagements include Le nozze di Figaro in Vienna, Amsterdam and Milan, Romeo et Juliette in Chicago, La clemenza di Tito with the Opéra di Paris, and the title role of Fantasio with the Opéra-Comique.

Alain Lanceron, president of Warner Classics and Erato, said: 'Since her first appearances in concert and on stage, Marianne Crebassa has captivated the international music scene thanks to the exceptional quality of her vocal timbre and her innate musicality. We are delighted to welcome this jewel into the Erato family and look forward to a stellar future with her.'

Crebassa will release her debut album with the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg and Marc Minkowski in November 2016. Speaking of the recording, she said: 'This album is close to my heart - it feels like a natural continuation of the personal and artistic connections I've made since my debut at the Salzburg Festival. This great musical city and the Mozarteum have supported me unfailingly from the beginning, as well as Marc Minkowski, with whom I have shared the stage many times.'

Marianne Crebassa

ENO Chorus expecting 25% pay cut

3 February 2016

The union Equity has confirmed that the English National Opera Chorus has been told to expect a 25% cut in pay and the loss of at least four jobs.

The Chorus is preparing for industrial action to try and prevent this. According to Equity, they also fear that these actions 'could push ENO into terminal decline'.

The news follows rumours that ENO would dispose of its chorus altogether and that they would be out of work from May until August.

Responding to reports that the company would cut chorus members' contracts by 25%, a spokesperson for ENO said last month: 'We have to be able to operate with significantly reduced funding. As a consequence, we need to look at developing a more flexible way of working while maintaining our artistic integrity. We are unable to comment on specific arrangements, as we are currently in the early stages of negotiations with unions.'

More information will follow next week.

Preview: Opera Holland Park 2016 season

3 February 2016

Opera Holland Park's 2016 season comprises 35 main-stage performances of five operas (all new productions).

The 2016 season, which runs 7 June - 13 August, marks 20 years since the company was established, and its 21st season. It is also its first season since the company secured its independence from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The season will include the company's first co-production: Rossini's La Cenerentola, in collaboration with Danish National Opera. Oliver Platt will direct the work, with a cast including Nico Darmanin, Nicholas Lester, Victoria Simmonds and Jonathan Veira.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Photo: Alex Brenner
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Photo: Alex Brenner

A rare performance of Mascagni's Iris will be directed by Olivia Fuchs, with a the cast including Anne Sophie Duprels in the title role, with Noah Stewart as Osaka.

Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades will appear in a new production by Rodula Gaitanou, with a cast including Natalya Romaniw as Lisa, Peter Wedd as Hermann, and Rosalind Plowright as the Countess.

Martin Lloyd-Evans will direct Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus, which features Jennifer France as Adele, Ben Johnson as Gabriel von Eisenstein and Susanna Hurrell as Rosalinde. 

Stephen Barlow's new production of Puccini's La bohème will feature Anna Patalong and Shaun Dixon as Mimì and Rodolfo. Members of OHP's Christine Collins Young Artists scheme will perform the work on 24 June.

The season is completed by Will Todd's family opera Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which will return for the fourth year, and four performances from the Royal Ballet School.

Booking opens on 15 February at 10am, with tickets costing £15-£75.

Opera Holland Park

ENO announces recipients of Charles Mackerras fellowship

26 January 2016

Conductors Toby Purser and Matthew Waldren have been appointed as joint recipients of the English National Opera Charles Mackerras fellowship.

This is the first time the award will be shared by two conductors, who will take up the two-year positions in September 2016.

Purser and Waldren will have the opportunity to assist on ENO productions and will have full access to the casting, staging and production departments. They will receive mentoring from music director Mark Wigglesworth, with whom they will be able to travel in order to make contacts across the operatic world.

'The panel was unanimous that both Matthew Waldren and Toby Purser revealed the right combination of potential and skill to benefit from this amazing opportunity,' said Wigglesworth, 'And so sharing the Fellowship was the inevitable and exciting outcome of this year's audition process. I look forward to welcoming these two exceptional talents to English National Opera.'

By the end of his tenure, current fellow Fergus Macleod will have assisted on eight productions. He said: 'My time at ENO has been invaluable. It is a truly incredible place to work. The support and guidance I have received, not only from Mark and Ed but from the whole company, will guide me for many years to come.

'I hope that Matthew and Toby find the scheme as beneficial as I have and wish them all the very best for their time at such a special company.'

Purser assisted on the world premiere of Julian Anderson's Thebans for ENO in 2014, and made his company conducting debut with two performances of The Marriage of Figaro later that year. He regularly conducts at Grange Park Opera and has performed at the Buxton Festival. He is founder and conductor of the Orion Orchestra.

Waldren was appointed music director of the inaugural Christine Collins young artist scheme at Opera Holland Park in 2012, where he recently conducted Lakmé and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Recent engagements include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House and assisting Xian Zhang on ENO's La bohème in 2015.

The ENO Charles Mackerras fellowship marks the legacy of the company's music director between 1970 and 1977. The scheme was launched in 2012, with Gergely Madaras the inaugural fellow.

ENO Charles Mackerras fellowship

ENO responds to rumours over cutting its chorus

21 January 2016

English National Opera (ENO) has responded to reports that it is to cut its chorus members’ contracts.

Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog states that the company has been told of plans to cut chorus members’ contracts to 75%, and that they will be out of work from May to August. The news also features in today’s Independent.

A spokesperson said: ‘We have to be able to operate with significantly reduced funding. As a consequence, we need to look at developing a more flexible way of working while maintaining our artistic integrity. We are unable to comment on specific arrangements, as we are currently in the early stages of negotiations with unions.’

A representative of the Musicians’ Union confirmed that it is engaged in a dialogue with the ENO management, but that there is nothing to comment on as yet.

The issue made national news last month when a number of figures from the opera world wrote a letter to the Times to express their concern that the chorus would be eliminated.

ENO has been under financial pressure since Arts Council England (ACE) announced that it would not be admitted into its national portfolio of organisations for 2015-18 in February 2015.

ACE announced in November 2015 that it would extend funding until 2018, but the company would remain under special monitoring arrangements.

It noted that ENO had made good progress in improving its operations, but still has further work to do to ensure its future sustainability.


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