10/30/2013, Smetana Hall at the Municipal House, Prague
Angela Gheorghiu - soprano
Atalla Ayan - tenor
Filharmonie Bohuslava Martinů, Tiberu Soare – conductor
Within her European Tour, the star of Angela Gheorghiu, one of the most glamorous opera singers of our time, will finally shine also in Prague.
Angela Gheorghiu was born in the small Romanian town Adjud. In 1992, she made her international debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with La bohème, followed the same year by debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Vienna State Opera. It was in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden that she first sang her much acclaimed La traviata in 1994; newspapers and magazines noticed that “A star is born”. Since then, she has graced the stages of the world’s opera houses and concert halls.
Her first exclusive recording contract was signed in 1995 with Decca, In 1998, Angela Gheorghiu signed an exclusive contract with EMI Classics for whom she has made many recordings. The live performance of La rondine in the Metropolitan Opera (2009) as well as Faust from Royal Opera House (2004) were released on DVD by EMI Classics in 2011, and Adriana Lecouvreur (a Royal Opera House production recorded in 2010) was released on DVD in 2012. In November 2011 Angela Gheorghiu released Homage to Maria Callas, a collection of beloved opera arias from French and Italian repertoire inspired by Maria Callas’s career and recordings. All her CDs have received widespread critical acclaim and have been awarded many prizes. Mrs Gheorghiu won the title of “Female Artist of the Year” at the Classical Brit Awards in 2001 and 2010.
Among major appearances in the last ten years were the much acclaimed performances of La rondine, I pagliacci, Simone Boccanegra, Tosca and Faust at the Royal Opera House, Roméo et Juliette at the Chorégies d’Orange and Salzburg Festival, Faust at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House and Monte-Carlo Opera, La traviata and Simone Boccanegra at the Metropolitan Opera, La bohème at the Vienna State Opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Bavarian State Opera in Munich and Milan’s La Scala as well as many recitals and concerts throughout all the world, including Salzburg Festival, Musikverein in Vienna or Carnegie Hall in New York. The new Royal Opera House Cinema Season 2011/12 relayed in hundreds of theatres around the world started with three productions having Angela Gheorghiu in: Faust (September 2011), Adriana Lecouvreur (October 2011) and Tosca (November 2011).
Angela Gheorghiu was appointed “Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture. In October 2012 she was conferred the “Nihil Sine Deo” royal decoration from His Majesty King Michael I for promoting Romanian cultural values abroad.
At only 27 years of age, Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan is well on his way to an important international career. In July 2011, he performed within the Metropolitan Opera Summer Concerts series in Central Park, Manhattan and in Brooklyn Bridge Park; the New York Times reviews then compared his voice to “the young Plácido Domingo”.
Born in Belem in the north of Brazil, Ayan developed his love for singing by listening to recordings of Luciano Pavarotti on the Internet. He graduated from Conservatorio Carlos Gomez in Belem where he also made his stage debut in the role of Rinuccio (Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi) at Theatro da Paz at the age of twenty-one. A year later, in 2008, he made his debut in Europe as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème at the Greek National Opera in Athens. He spent one season in Scuola dell’Opera Italiana in Bologna; he sang the role of Ruggero (Puccini’s La rondine) at Teatro Comunale, Bologna under the baton of José Cura. He spent the season of 2009/2010 as a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program. During the 2010/2011 season, he was Gounod’s Romeo in Rio de Janeiro (alongside Juliet of Sumi Jo) and he performed at the Teatro Municipal Rio re-opening concert with Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze. Once again, he was Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi) in Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste. In October 2011, he made his Glyndebourne Touring Opera debut as Rodolfo in David McVicar’s production of La bohème, under the baton of Jakub Hrůša.
The 2012/2013 season brought about Atalla Ayan’s debut in Covent Garden, London, where he sang Ruggero (La Rondine) alongside Angela Gheorghiu. He also did his first Alfredo (Verdi: La traviata) during his debut at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In January 2012, he introduced himself at the Semperoper Dresden in the role of an Italian singer (R. Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier) under the baton of Christian Thielemann; he sang Verdi’s songs (orchestra arrangements by Luciano Berio) with the BBC London Orchestra at Barbican Centre. In the spring 2012, he accepted engagement from the Stuttgart Opera; there, he has introduced himself as Alfred (J. Strauss: Die Fledermaus), Mozart’s Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Tamino (The Magic Flute); Verdi’s Alfredo and Ismael (Nabucco) and Puccini’s Rodolfo, a role he will also perform in December 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil.
“Atalla Ayan is a very exceptional Brazilian tenor”, said Rolando Villazón in April 2013 after Atalla performed in Rolando’s TV show “Stars vom morgen“ (The Stars of Tomorrow) in Kesselhaus, Berlin.