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Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: November 19, 1944 - Greek island of Lefkas

The Greek mezzo-soprano, Agnes Baltsa, took piano lessons from the age of six. In 1958 she moved to Athens where she graduated from the conservatory in 1965. In the same year she won a Maria Callas scholarship which enabled her to continue her studies in Munich (Germany).

In 1968 Agnes Baltsa made her first appearance as Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart) at the Frankfurt Opera, followed by Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier, R. Strauss) at the Vienna State Opera in 1970. From that year on, her career developed rapidly: the Deutsche Oper Berlin, various opera houses in the USA (among which the Metropolitan Opera in New York), the Bavarian State Opera (München), Govent Garden, Zürich, the Paris Opera etc. Under the guidance of Herbert von Karajan, she was a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival.

Agnes Baltsa's repetory includes works by Mozart (Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Requiem, etc.), Rossini (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L'Italiana in Algeri), Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana), Verdi (Aida, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Don Carlo, Requiem) and Bellini (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Donizetti (Il Campanello, Maria Stuarda), etc. But she is, of course, most famous for her performance of Carmen (Georges Bizet), a role she has sung with José Carreras many times. During the past few years, she has added new roles to her repetory like Fedora (Giordano), Hérodiade (Massenet) and Fidès (La Prophète, Meyerbeer) at the Vienna State Opera.

At the Wiener Festwochen 1999, Agnes Baltsa sang Orlofski (Fledermaus, Strauss) again, a role she hadn't sung for years. In February 2000 she successfully sang the part of Despina (!) (Cosi fan Tutte) at the Zürich opera alongside Cecilia Bartoli. In the beginning of 2000, she again picked up a role she abandoned many years ago: the Composer in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos (in Japan). This performance was part of the tour the Vienna State Opera made of Japan. The organisation especially asked Baltsa to return to Japan to sing The Composer again, since she had been tremendously successful with this role (also with the Vienna State Opera) over there in 1985. The cast of Ariadne also included Edita Gruberova and Cheryl Studer, the performance was conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli.

Quite surprisingly, for the first time in over 30 years, Agnes Baltsa was not scheduled to sing at the 2000-2001 Vienna State Opera season! She has decided not to accept the offer to sing the long-awaited role of Lady Macbeth (Verdi) in Zürich in July 2001, but did very successfully perform the role of Kundry (Parsifal) at the Teatro Real (Madrid) in March 2001. Cast also included Plácido Domingo, Matti Salminen and Franz Grundheber. Even though conductors such as Herbert von Karajan and Riccardo Muti had pleaded with her to sing this role, it wasn't until this year that she finally decided to sing the role that has 'persecuted' her throughout her career. For May 2001, various concerts in Austria and Germany are planned as well. She sang the role of Kostelnicka in Janacek's Jenufa at the Vienna State Opera in 2002. In season 2001-2002 she sang at the Vienna State Opera also in L'Italiana in Algeri (Isabella) and Carmen.

In 1980, Agnes Baltsa became Kammersängerin at the Vienna State Opera; she has been an honorary member of this opera house since 1988. In 1992, she made her first full-length motion picture called Duett, in which she plays an opera singer. Unfortunately, Agnes Baltsa has not made any studio recordings since her opera duets CD with José Carreras (1991).


More Photos

Source: The Curtain Call Opera Page (July 2001)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

Conductor

As

Works

Herbert von Karajan

Alto

BWV 232 [5th], BWV 243 [3rd]

Links to other Sites

Agnes Baltsa (Curtain Call Opera Page)
A Tribute to Agnes Baltsa
Agnes Baltsa, the Greek Mezzo (Fan Club)
Così fan tutte - Agnes Baltsa

Agnes Baltsa [German]
Oper: Agnes Baltsa [German]
Operabase: Agnes Baltsa
Operissimo: Agnes Baltsa

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Last update: żNovember 4, 2012 ż10:42:20