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Lawrence Zazzo (Counter-tenor)

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

The American counter-tenor, Lawrence Zazzo, graduated in both Music and English from Yale and King’s College Cambridge, Lawrence made his operatic debut as Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream to great acclaim while completing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music, London.

Lawrence Zazzo is one of the most outstanding singers of his generation. In the space of a few short years, he has appeared in many of the world’s finest opera houses and concert halls. His opera roles include the title role in Giulio Cesare (Metropolitan Opera New York, Glyndebourne), the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo (Netherlands), Gualtiero in Scarlatti’s Griselda (Berlin Staatsoper, Innsbruck Festival); Goffredo Rinaldo (Berlin Staatsoper, Innsbruck Festival, Opéra de Montpellier); Ottone Agrippina (La Monnaie, Frankfurt, Theatre de Champs-Elysees, Wiesbaden), Giuliano in Cavalli’s Eliogabalo (Brussels, Paris), Ottone L’incoronazione Di Poppea (Berlin Staatsoper, La Monnaie, Bayerische Staatsoper); Endimione La Calisto (Bayerische Staatsoper), Arsamene Serse (Theatre des Champs-Elysees, English National Opera), and the title role in George Frideric Handel’s Sosarme (Sao Carlos, Lisbon).

Lawrence Zazzo is also closely associated with 20th century and contemporary music. His Paris Opera debut was as Kreon in Kreon in Liebermann’s Medea. He created the role of Trinculo in Thomas Ades’ The Tempest at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and he has sung Sciarrano’s Luci Mie Traditrici in Brussels and New York. He is closely associated with the role of Mascha in Péter EötvösThree Sisters which he has performed with the Opera de Lyon, La Monnaie, Hamburg Opera, Edinburgh Festival, Vienna Festival, and in the Netherlands. He made his BBC Symphony Orchestra debut in their commission of Jonathan Dove’s Hojoki, and sang the Refugee in Dove’s Flight for Glyndebourne.

Lawrence Zazzo works with many distinguished conductors in the fields of Baroque and contemporary music, including René Jacobs, James Conlon, Ivor Bolton, Péter Eötvös, William Christie, Harry Bicket, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Joshua Rifkin, Trevor Pinnock, John Nelson, Jordi Savall, Harry Christophers, and Paul Goodwin. He was the first western counter-tenor invited to China, where he sang Messiah at the Shanghai Opera. His international concert career highlights include: Messiah in Notre Dame Cathedral with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and in a European tour with René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester, Bach Lutheran Masses under Joshua Rifkin in Leipzig, St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) in Ambronay and Köthen with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the title role in Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba with the Berliner Symphoniker, Antonio Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus and Gloria with the Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem, J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass (BWV 232) in Gdansk, and Saul in Berlin and Lisbon with René Jacobs and Concerto Köln. His Canadian debut was as Didymus in Theodora in Ottawa under Trevor Pinnock and he sang the title roles of G.F. Handel’s Lotario and Riccardo Primo with the Kammerorchester Basel in a European tour with Paul Goodwin. He most recently worked with Christopher Hogwood singing the title role of G.F. Handel’s Amadigi in London and Birmingham, and made his debut at the Salle Pleyel with Jordi Savall in a concert version of A. Vivaldi’s Farnace. An accomplished recitalist, he has given many around Europe, most recently at the Festival de Beaune and the Vienna Konzerthaus.

Major future plans include the title role of Giulio Cesare at La Monnaie, the Netherlands Opera and Bilbao, Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Lyon and Toronto, and Endimione La Calisto at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Munich. With René Jacobs he will appear in concerts of Giulio Cesare and Antonio Caldara’s Maddalena Ai Piedi Di Cristo in Paris. He will tour the title role in Ezio with the Kammerorchester Basel and will debut at the Theater an der Wien in L’incoronazione Di Poppea.

His many recordings include Rinaldo, Messiah, Griselda and Saul for Harmonia Mundi; Serse and Fernando for Virgin Classics, Partenope for Chandos, Deborah for Naxos, Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater for Columns Classics. Future recordings include Riccardo Primo and a CD of G.F. Handel Duets for Sony BMG.

Source: Lawrence Zazzo Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2008)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




René Jacobs


BWV 244 [1st, Radio]

Links to other Sites

Larence Zazzo - Countertenor (Official Website)

Metropolitan Opera International Radio Broadcast Information Center: Lawrence Zazzo, Countertenor
Opera Today: Merkur Interviews Lawrence Zazzo
Opera Today: FT on Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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