Verdi conceived his masterpiece on a grand scale. It is as dramatic and powerful as any of his operas. Some critics were distressed at the overtly theatrical character of the music. Some called it sensational and irreligious, yet the most overtly dramatic moments also provide its most moving and even devout passages. The whirling tumult of the Dies irae or the majestic trumpet summons in the Tuba mirum convey a terrifying vision worthy of those from the Book of Revelation.
Whatever may have been written about it, audiences loved it and Brahms himself wrote that only a genius could have written such a work. It stands as an honest spiritual testament from a man who naturally conceived and described his experiences in powerful, direct and theatrical terms.
‘The Requiem shifts priorities between soloists, choir and musicians. The Requiem described as “a work of far-reaching and emotional magnitude” and by Classic FM as “in the ‘blockbuster’ category” hugely lived up to expectations and more, vibrating the very structure of the concert hall at times’
Francesco Cilluffo’s future engagements include Tosca Tulsa Opera (US Debut), Roméo et Juliette and Madama Butterfly New Israeli Opera, La Traviata Opéra Royal de Wallonie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona, Reggio Emilia and OperaLombardia (Como, Brescia, Pavia), and the season’s opening concert for Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino with a Poulenc programme.
Recent operatic engagements includes Il barbiere di Siviglia Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa; Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Campiello Opera di Firenze and Teatro Verdi di Trieste; L’elisir d’amore Teatro Regio di Parma, Teatro Comunale di Modena and New Israeli Opera; Tutino’s Le braci (world premiere) Festival della Valle d’Itria, Martina Franca and Opera di Firenze; Nabucco Theater Kiel; and Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff Wexford Festival (broadcast on BBC Radio 3). Previous operatic engagements include Der König Kandaules Teatro Massimo di Palermo; Il Trovatore AsLiCo (Milan and Como) L’Arlesiana Teatro Pergolesi di Jesi (DVD and CD); Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana Teatro Nuovo di Sassari; Rossini’s Tancredi Circuito Lirico Lombardo (Pavia, Cremona, Como and Brescia), and Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio Teatro Regio di Parma and at Teatro Valli di Reggio Emilia. In concert, he recently conducted Das Lied von der Erde Festival della Valle d’Itria, Martina Franca; Verdi Gala Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and Festival Verdi in Parma; Duruflé’s and Mozart’s Requiem and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 14 Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, and concerts with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and ORT-Orchestra della Toscana for the opening of the Incontri in terra di Siena Festival.
As a composer, premieres include his opera Il caso Mortara (New York, 2010), choral cantata Voci di tenebra azzurra (Festival della Valle d’Itria, 2011) and the song cycle The Land to Life Again (Festival Incontri in Terra di Siena and UCLA, 2012). Francesco took part in master classes with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Gianluigi Gelmetti and Ivan Fischer. He worked as assistant conductor to Rani Calderon (Opéra du Rhin, Strasbourg, Royal Danish Opera), assisting also John Mauceri (Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra), Lothar Zagrosek (Teatro la Fenice), Asher Fisch (Teatro Massimo di Palermo) and Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Monteverdi Academy). Born in Turin, he received his conducting and composition degree from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and graduated in Musicology from Turin University. He continued studies in London, where he was awarded Master in Composition (with distinction) Guildhall School of Music and Drama and a PhD in Composition King’s College, London.
Russian soprano Vlada Borovko became a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the start of the 2015/16 Season, immediately upon her graduation from the Kazan State Conservatory. Shortly after her joining the program, she made an impressive debut as Violetta Valéry on the main stage of Royal Opera House, when she was called at the last moment to step in for an ailing colleague. The event marked not only her debut in the role but also her stage debut in a leading role.
In her 2016/17 season with the Royal Opera House, Borovko will sing Clotilde Norma, Ermione Oreste, Mlle Jouvenot Adriana Lecouvreur, Giannetta L’elisir d’amore as well as covering Leonora Il Trovatore, Aspasia Mitridate Re di Ponto, and will continue to cover Violetta La Traviata.
Borovko initially went on to study foreign languages at the Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod. Upon her graduation she enrolled at the Kazan State Conservatory where she studied under the guidance of Galina Lastovka. While still a student, she was invited to take part in the world premieres of two contemporary works and sang Stephano Roméo et Juliette in Kazan. She made her professional opera debut as
Mércèdes Carmen at Tatar State Opera and Ballet Theatre and sang Annie and Strawberry Woman Porgy and Bess with Marco Boemi at the International Shalyapin Opera Festival.
Last season, alongside her debut as Violetta, other roles with the Royal Opera House included Frasquita Carmen, Xenia in a new production of Boris Godunov which was also presented at the BBC Proms, Anna Nabucco and a venture into another Verdi role, Leonora in Il Trovatore, which she covered over the summer.
Irish mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon is the youngest ever prize-winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and is in demand for repertoire ranging from the Baroque through to Rossini and Wagner. Her distinguished career has brought numerous opportunities to collaborate in both opera and concert with a wide range of conductors such as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Bernard Haitink, Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Mark Elder, Christophe Rousset, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alberto Zedda, Fabio Luisi, Harry Bicket, Ivor Bolton, Christoph Eschenbach, William Christie, Pinchas Zuckerman, Ingo Metzmacher, Sir Charles Mackerras, and Rene Jacobs.
Having studied in Dublin with Dr Veronica Dunne, Bardon’s career embraces an impressive diversity of roles: Erda in the Grammy-award-winning production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at The Metropolitan Opera (DVD/Deutsche Grammophon), La Nourrice Ariane et Barbe Bleu for Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona (DVD/Opus Arte), her highly-acclaimed interpretation of Azucena Il trovatore at Welsh National Opera, her creation of the title role in Saariaho’s Adriana Mater for Opera national de Paris, her glowing reviews last season for Carmen in Los Angeles, conducted by Placido Domingo – a role she has recorded for Chandos – and her Laurence Olivier
Nomination for Maurya Riders to the Sea at ENO are all testament to an exceptional artistic versatility.
An acclaimed Baroque and bel canto singer, highlights have included the title roles in Giulio Cesare at The Liceu Barcelona, Orlando for the Opéra National de Paris (CD/Erato), Rinaldo for Oper Köln as well as Cornelia Giulio Cesare for Bayerische Staatsoper, The Metropolitan Opera, ENO and Glyndebourne Festival Opera (DVD/Opus Arte). She has sung Rosmira Partenope for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teater an der Wien and ENO (Olivier nomination for Outstanding Achievement in
Opera), Andronico Tamerlano in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Amsterdam and Madrid; Bradamante Alcina in Drottingholm and Moscow, Penelope Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria for Maggio Musicale Florence, Amsterdam, Berlin Staatsoper and Athens; Ruggiero Alcina for Trieste and Montpellier, Amastras Xerxes for Montpellier, Dresden and Munich Staatsoper (DVD Opus Arte), Juno Semele for ENO and Innsbrook, Ottavia L’incoronazione di Poppea in Oslo (DVD/EuroArts) and most recently Zenobia
Radamisto for Theater an der Wien and at Carnegie Hall. Bel canto highlights include Tancredi and Arsace Semiramide for La Fenice, Calbo Il Maometto Secondo for Santa Fe Opera, Smeaton Anna Bolena for San Francisco Opera, title role La Cenerentola for La Monnaie, Andromache Ermione Festival Hall (CD/Opera Rara), Malcolm La donna del Lago for the Edinburgh International Festival (CD/Opera Rara).
Enjoying an ongoing relationship with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Bardon has appeared there in productions of Guillaume Tell, Mefistofele, Rigoletto, Moise in Egitto, The Rake’s Progress (earning an Olivier nomination) and most recently in Richard Jones’ acclaimed staging of Britten Gloriana (DVD).
Bardon has extensive concert experience and has performed with many of the world’s leading Orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia,Les Arts Florissants, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Concerto Koln, Academy of Ancient Music, Les Talens Lirique, The Halle Orchestra, Le Concert Spirituel, English Chamber Orchestra, RTE Symphony Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, The English Concert, Filarmonica della Scala, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de RAI, and Orchestra de Paris, in repertoire including the Bach Passions, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Verdi Messa di Requiem, Handel Oratorios, Wagner Wiesendonk Lieder and the Mahler Symphonies.
Highlights for the 2015-2016 season include the title role Agrippina at Theater an der Wien, title role in Porporo Germanico in Germania at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, Mary in John Adams Gospel according to the other Mary in Strasbourg with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Mendelssohn Elijah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Mahler Symphony No.2 with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra,
and Handel Messiah with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Le Concert Spirituel, and RLPO.
Italian-American tenor Leonardo Capalbo has garnered international acclaim for his performances throughout the United States and Europe. Lauded for his rich, lyric voice and dramatic intensity, Capalbo has received acclaim at houses such as Berliner Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival, L’Opéra de Lyon, Teatro Regio di Torino, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Semperoper Dresden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, New York City Opera and Welsh National Opera amongst others.
In 16/17 Capalbo will return the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to perform the title role in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffman. Other engagements include Don José Carmen in Sevilla, Duca Rigoletto (Wichita Opera) and Alfredo La Traviata (Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa) in Warsaw.
A trainee of the Juilliard School of Music, The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and L’Académie Musicale de Villecroze, Capalbo worked under the guidance of the legendary Marilyn Horne. He made his operatic debut in 2004 as Paco in de Falla’s La Vida Breve for Opera North. Further engagements with the company included Ismaele Nabucco, later released on Chandos; Romeo Romeo et Juliette; Narraboth Salome; and Juan in Weill’s Der Kuhhandel.
Last season Capalbo made two important house debuts: La Monnaie, with Mariusz Trelinski’s Powder Her Face and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Ismaele Nabucco. Other important debuts included his first Cavaradossi at Minnesota Opera, Don Jose Carmen at Palm Beach Opera, which he reprised at the Greek National Opera, and Arturo in La Stranieraat the Concertgebouw, part of the prestigious Saturday Matinée Series.
British bass, Alastair Miles is one of the UK’s most renowned singers returning regularly to the operatic stages and concert platforms of Europe, the USA and the Far East. His international career was launched in 1986 when he won the Decca Kathleen Ferrier Prize at the Wigmore Hall London. He is recognised for his stylistically wide repertoire, equally at home with music of the Baroque period as he is with the romanticism of Verdi and Wagner.
Highlights of his career include Giorgio I Puritani and Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor for the Metropolitan Opera and The Netherlands Opera; Basilio Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Giorgio I Puritani for San Francisco Opera; Cardinal Brogni La Juive, Padre Guardiano La Forza del Destino, Prefetto Linda di Chamounix, Zaccaria Nabucco and Philippe II Don Carlos for the Wiener Staatsoper; Lord Sydney Il Viaggio a Rheims at La Scala, Milan; title role Handel Saul, Creonte in Mayr’s Medea in Corinto, Timur Turandot, and Zoroastro Orlando for the Bayerische Staatsoper; Leporello Don Giovanni for De Vlaamse Opera and Opera North; and title role Le Nozze di Figaro, Brogni La Juive, and Narbal Les Troyens for Netherlands Opera.
Alastair Miles appears regularly at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where his roles have included Colline La bohème, Rodolfo La Sonnambula, Elmiro in Rossini’s Otello, Banquo Macbeth, Dom Juam de Sylva in Donizetti’s Dom Sebastien, Le Comte des Grieux Manon, Poliferno in Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe. For English National Opera he has performed the title role in Boito’s Mefistofele, Silva Ernani and Duke Alfonso Lucrezia Borgia; for Welsh National Opera Mephistopheles Faust, Fiesco Simon Boccanegra, Enrico Anna Bolena, and Talbot Maria Stuarda; for Opera North Mephistopheles La Damnation de Faust, Philip II Don Carlo, and his appearances for Glyndebourne Festival Opera include Pogner Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Commendatore Don Giovanni, Fiesco Simon Boccanegra and Speaker Die Zauberflöte. He has also performed Claudio Agrippina for Opéra de Dijon and Opéra de Lille, Daland Der Fliegende Holländer for Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Philip II Don Carlo for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Bertram Robert le Diable and Nourabad Les Pêcheurs de Perles for the Salerno Festival.
Alastair Miles is also a highly sought after concert artist and has appeared with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including Giulini, Muti, Harnoncourt, Chung, Rattle, Runnicles, Masur, Gergiev, Gardiner, Harding, Norrington, Davis and Dohnanyi. Recent projects have included La Damnation de Faust, Dream of Gerontius and Messiah with Sir Colin Davis and London Symphony Orchestra, Schumann Faustszenen with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and with Daniel Harding, the Gewandhaus, Leipzig; Beethoven 9th Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, St Matthew Passion with the Dallas Symphony, and Sarastro Die Zauberflöte with Daniel Harding at the Lucerne Festival, Elijah at the Royal Festival Hall with Masur and the LPO, Beethoven 9th Symphony with Wiener Symphoniker, and Osmin Die Entführung aus dem Serail on tour with the Orchestra of the Age of Englightenment and Labadie and Judas Maccabeus at the BBC Promenade Concerts.
In addition to his on-going relationship with Opera Rara, recording neglected 19th century Italian and French opera, Alastair Miles’s discography currently stands at over ninety recordings including his recently much acclaimed German Lieder, a recital disc of songs by Brahms and Wolf, for Signum Classics; a solo recital disc of Great Operatic Arias for Chandos; award winning recordings of Verdi’s Requiem(Philips) and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Archiv) with Gardiner; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Masur and the Israel Philharmonic for Teldec, and Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ with Ticciati for Linn Records.