Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Intro to SLO's Carmen Main Cast

So yeah SLO's new production of Carmen is opening in two weeks time, featuring a cast of new and familiar faces. So to help you familiarise yourself with the main cast, here are their official bios as provided by the SLO press release. Notable points are firstly that this will be Joshua Tan's first opera conducting gig in his hometown. Sophie Fournier, an experienced Carmen, has sung with such legends as Georges Prêtre, so her Carmen should be something to check out. Huang Rong-Hai, a former principal singer at the Shanghai Opera House, student of Liao Chang-Yong and colleague of numerous top PRC conductors (but now based in Malaysia or so I've heard), this will be his debut opera performance in Singapore. Lastly, Li Yang, student of Nancy Yuen at NAFA and had only just made her SLO opera debut in the bit role of Pappagena, will be taking on the principal soprano role of Micaela in only her second main stage SLO assignment. The Mad Scene wishes her and the rest of the cast and crew the very best performances come 21 January 2011.


French mezzo soprano Sophie Fournier has performed extensively in major opera houses in France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Conductors she has worked with include G. Prêtre, M. Plasson, A. Jordan, J. Mercier and J.C. Malgoire. She was First Prize recipient at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris and a finalist at the Pavarotti Competition in Philadelphia (1994).

Recent engagements include tours in France and Russia singing Cléopâtre (Massenet) and El amor brujo (de Falla) with the Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Maestro Jean-Claude Casadesus, Mettela in La Vie Parisienne (Offenbach) and Guilhen in Fervaal (d’Indy) which was broadcast on Swiss Radio. In March 2011, she will sing Emilia in Verdi’s Otello in Belgium.

Her repertoire also includes among others, Marguerite (Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust), Stéphano (Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette), Iphigénie (Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride), Charlotte (Massenet’s Werther) and Mère Marie (Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites). She made her debut as Carmen in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and recently reprised the role in Tours (France) with French conductor Jean-Yves Ossonce.

Fournier can be heard in Cosi fan tutte (Mozart) and Carmen Saeculare (Philidor) on the Auvidis and Erato labels, as well as the award-winning DVD La “Voix” retrouvée produced by Doriane Film.

South Korean tenor Lee Jae Wook has been engaged with opera companies across the world in Italy, Singapore, Ecuador and South Korea in lead roles for Verdi’s La Traviata, Rigoletto, Nabucco, Puccini’s La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Turandot, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, L'Elisir d'Amore, Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, Cosi fan tutte, Strauss Die Fledermaus, and the iconic first Korean opera ever written Choon Hyang Jeon.

Lee has also performed as a recitalist and soloist in Germany, Italy, Japan, South America, Singapore and South Korea, including concerts with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra and Incheon Philharmonic Orchestra.

He studied voice at Hanyang University (South Korea) and the Orfeo International Vocal Music Academy (Parma, Italy), and was the First Prize winner in the National Vocal Music Competition in Korea, and a laureate of numerous international competitions (Montserrat Caballe, Rosetum, and Nino Carta, etc.) Lee is currently the Professor of Vocal Music at Seoul Art College.

LI YANG – Micaela
A native of Harbin in northern China, Li Yang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) where she majored in Voice under the tutelage of soprano Nancy Yuen. She has also trained in traditional Chinese Voice performance at the Harbin Normal University.

Yang has won major prizes in China in the Golden Bell Vocal Competition, the Hei Long Jiang Vocal Competition, the Hei Long Jiang TV Vocal Competition and the Winter’s Dream Young Singer Vocal Competition. She also won the Second Prize in the Trinity Guildhall Music Competition in Singapore.

Appearing numerous times as a soloist in the Singapore Lyric Opera’s Education and Outreach Programmes, Yang is also active regionally, performing Gerhilde in Wagner’s Die Walküre and Mademoiselle Silberklang in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor with the Bangkok Opera, and also being featured in the Puccini 150th Anniversary Concert in Malaysia. She has also sung the role of Alison in Holst’s The Wandering Scholar with OperaStudio Singapore.

HUANG RONG HAI – Escamillo
Bass-baritone Huang Rong Hai is one of leading young singers to emerge from China in recent years. A graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (protégé of Liao Changyong), Huang is also a laureate of the Don Giovanni International Singing Competition (Verona, Italy), the 28th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition (Vienna, Austria), the 6th Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition (Helsinki, Finland), the 2008 Mondial Chinese Vocalist Concours (Taipei) and the 2010 Singapore International Vocal Competition.

He has performed both lead and supporting roles in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Puccini’s La Bohème, Turandot, Bizet’s Carmen, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Gounod’s La Damnation de Faust, Eugene Onegin and Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Die Walküre and Der Fliegende Holländer. He also sang the lead role of Zhao Yuanwai in the world premiere of Wen Deqing’s The Wager at the Geneva International Music Festival in Switzerland and again at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland.

From 2002 to 2009, he was the Principal Singer of the Shanghai Opera House, and has worked with conductors such as Alberto Zedda, Paolo Olmi, Michel Plasson, Marco Boemi, Lü Jia, Cao Ding and Jari Hämäläinen.

2nd Prize winner of the 2008 Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition and Juilliard graduate, Singaporean conductor Joshua Kangming Tan’s rise to prominence on the international scene has been marked by recent sensational debuts in Carnegie Hall, Philharmonie Berlin, Mariinsky Hall, Taiwan, Japan, Shanghai and Beijing. He has won numerous awards and scholarships, including the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Award, NAC-Shell Scholarship and is the first ever recipient of the Charles Schiff Conducting Prize from the Juilliard School for outstanding achievement.

Joshua has come to the attention of the leading conductors of today and has been mentored by James DePreist, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman and Kurt Masur. Recent engagements include performances with the National Center for Performing Arts Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Russiche Kammerphilharmonie, Macao Symphony Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Kaoshiung City Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg State Capella Symphony Orchestra and the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, amongst others.

Upcoming highlights include concert debuts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, Academic Symphony Orchestra of St Petersburg Philharmonia and the Okayama Symphony Orchestra.

DAVID EDWARDS - Director and Set Designer
David Edwards is a freelance director, writer and presenter. He was born in London and graduated in Classics from Cambridge University. David has directed opera around the world (including San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Tulsa, Memphis, Philadelphia, London, Milan, Vienna, and Tokyo). Previous credits in Singapore: Nozze di Figaro, Barbiere di Siviglia for SLO and Die Walküre (Act 1) for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

His original scripts have been performed in London and Aldeburgh (Wagner and Berlioz; Verdi in Venice; Wagner, Britten and the Sea, From Bayeuth to Busseto, Verdi’s Singers on Record, Verdi’s Trills) and at the Chicago Humanities Festival (Opera At The Movies, Exiled In America).

David visits Tokyo every year to direct a production with the Young Artists at the New National Theatre (Albert Herring 2008, Falstaff 2010 and Il Tabarro/Gianni Schicchi 2011). In London he is Production Director for The Mastersingers and regularly tutors students at the Motley Theatre Design Course.

The Singapore Lyric Opera's production of Carmen runs from 21 to 25 January 2011 (no show on 23). Ticketing information available at the Events Page.

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