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Christiane Iven (Mezzo-soprano, Contralto)

Born: Hamburg, Germany

The German mezzo-soprano, Christiane Iven, studied singing at the Academy of Music and Theater in Hamburg under Judith Beckmann. While a student she was honoured with a number of international competition prizes, including the first prize at the German Music Competition in Bonn in 1990 and participated in Lieder interpretation courses led by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in Berlin.

Christiane Iven had an engagement as a lyric mezzo-soprano at the Bremen Theater from 1992 to 1996 and has been a member of the Mannheim National Theater since the 1996-1997 season. Guest performances included the Hamburg State Opera, Leipzig Opera, Bonn Opera and Cologne Opera. She then became a member of the ensemble at the Staatsoper in Hannover. She started a very successful transition to the youthful-dramatic soprano field at this opera house she met with tremendous acclaim for her interpretations of the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. Her interpretation of Emilia Marty in Janácek's The Makropulos Case under the direction of Luk Perceval received great critical acclaim. Her other important roles are Octavian in Rosenkavalier, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, Gräfin Geschwitz in Alban Berg's Lulu and Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. As a member of the Staatsoper Stuttgart for several years, Christiane Iven has captivated audiences with her renditions of Feldmarschallin in Rosenkavalier, Agathe in Freischütz, Didon in Les Troyens and Kundry in Parsifal amongst others. Guest engagements have taken her to the Hamburg Staatsoper, Leipzig Opera, Bonn Opera, and Theater in Basel. Over the past few years she has also been a guest at various other European opera houses, with performances that have included Sieglinde in Walküre in Budapest and Feldmarschallin in Rome.

The versatile soprano has also been extremely successful as concert and Lieder singer. Christiane Iven is a sought-after concert soloist in Germany and throughout Europe. She has concertized with ranking orchestras and conductors, such as the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields under Sir Neville Marriner (George Frideric Handel´s Jephtha and the 9th Symphony of L.v. Beethoven), John Eliot Gardiner (Walpurgisnacht by Felix Mendelssohn), Helmuth Rilling (J.S. Bach´s B minor Mass BWV 232), L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Fabio Luisi (W.A. Mozart's masses), Hartmut Haenchen (symphonies of Gustav Mahler), Simone Young (Le marteau sans maître by Pierre Boulez), András Schiff and the Musikkollegium Winterthur (J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244)), Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, NHK Symphony Orchstra Tokyo, Bamberger Symphoniker, NDR Symphony Orchestra, SWR Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under Heinz Holliger, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne under Christian Zacharias, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala under Riccardo Chailly, and many others.

Christiane Iven has a particular love for Lieder. Together with Thomas Quasthoff and Justus Zeyen, she gave her much acclaimed debut in the Wiener Konzerthaus with Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch. Her last recitals in Amsterdam, Hitzacker, Herrenchiemsee and Ittingen received outstanding reviews. Accompagnied by Burkhard Kehring, she sang selected works by Robert Schumann, Messiaen and Strauss in Hannover in spring of 2008. She gives frequent recitals and has made many broadcast recordings (including songs of Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg´s Pierrot lunaire). Several radio and CD recordings document her extensive repertoire. She made her CD debut with romantic and contemporary Lieder that was released by Ars Musici, and also recorded Schubert's Mayrhofer Lieder on Naxos. She has also a number of radio productions with the NDR, WDR, and Radio Free Berlin to her credit.

Accompanied by pianists such as András Schiff and Burkhard Kehring, performing alongside Bruno Ganz and Liese Klahn (Marienleben by Paul Hindemith), or working frequently and engagedly together with Heinz Holliger, Marko Letonja, Jonathan Nott, Enoch zu Guttenberg and Marc Albrecht, to name a few, her recitals have received outstanding reviews. She has made guest performances at a variety of major music festivals, such as the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Ludwigsburg Castle Festival, Kissinger Sommer, Luzerner Festwochen and Schwetzinger Festspiele.

In past seasons Christiane Iven continuously extended her repertoire and debuted as Marie in Alban Berg's Wozzeck, as Hanna Glawari in Léhar’s The Merry Widow and as Sieglinde in the Walküre. Recent performances include concerts with the Wesendonck-Lieder that she will interpret with the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala under Riccardo Chailly and the RTVE in Madrid under Leopold Hager, Zemlinsky’s Lyrische Sinfonie with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and Lothar Zagrosek, G. Mahler's Wunderhorn songs together with Matthias Goerne and Marc Albrecht in Lyon as well as stagings of Elias with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg under Heinz Holliger.

On her home ground, the Stuttgart Opera House, in the current season (2012-2013) she is singing, among other things, the title role in a new production of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos conducted by Michael Schønwandt. With the SWR’s Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) conducted by Stefan Solyom, Christiane Iven is singing a programme tailor-made for her: Isoldes Liebestod and La mort de Cléopâtre by Berlioz, and, with the International Bach Academy Franz Liszt’s Die heilige Elisabeth conducted by Martin Haselböck. Recitals are planned for Madrid in the 2012-2013 season.

Recordings recently released feature Christiane Iven singing Robert Schumann’s Faust-Szenen with the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Lieder by Alban Berg performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg under Marc Albrecht as well as Gustav Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn under the baton of Michael Gielen and the SWR Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart (Hänssler classic).

Christiane Iven is professor of voice at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover. For her outstanding artistic achievements, she was awarded the Niedersächsischer Staatspreis (Lower Saxonian State Prize). In November 2011 she was nominated a Baden-Württemberg ‘Kammersängerin’.

Source: Liner notes to the album ‘Bach: Apocryphal St. Luke Passion’ conducted by Wolfgang Helbich (CPO, 1997); Hans Ulrich Schmid Website (September 2001); KS Gasteig Website (2007-2008, October 2012)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001, January 2002, April 2008); Elisabeth Keck, Assistant Project Manager, KünstlerSekretariat am Gasteig (May 2013)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Neithard Bethke


BWV 244 [2nd]

Wolfgang Helbich


BWV 246

Links to other Sites

Christiane Iven (Hans Ulrich Schmid)
Christiane Iven (KS Gasteig) [English/German]

Christiane Iven (Musikalische Akademie) [German]
Christiane Iven (Staatstheater Hannover) [German]

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