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Gidon Saks


Gidon Saks stars as Claggart in Billy Budd at Teatr Wielki

28 March 2019

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Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

Gidon Saks returns to the role of Claggart in Britten Billy Budd this month, starring in Annilese Miskimmon's production at Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera from 12 April 2019. The production is conducted by Michał Klauza.

Gidon Saks is in demand internationally for his highly acclaimed interpretations of many bass-baritone roles. Over the span of his illustrious career, his signature roles have included Bluebeard, Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress, Claggart Billy Budd, Kaspar Der Freischütz and Hagen Götterdämmerung.

Highlights for Saks this season include Pangloss in Bernstein Candide with Bergen National Opera, his role debut as Richard III in Robert Carsen’s production of Battistelli Richard III for Teatro La Fenice and Claggart in Billy Budd in David Alden’s production at the Bolshoi as well as in Daniel Špinar’s production for the National Theatre, Prague.

Performances of Billy Budd run until 18 April 2019.

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Gidon Saks stars as Richard III at Teatro La Fenice

15 June 2018

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Teatro La Fenice

Gidon Saks appears in Venice this month to star in the Italian premiere of Giorgo Battistelli Richard III at Teatro La Fenice from 29 June 2018. Saks takes the title role in Battistelli's portrayal of the despotic king, which takes its lead from Shakespeare's famous play.

Richard is the latest addition to Saks' repertoire of villains, which also include Bluebeard in Bluebeard's Castle and Claggart in Billy Budd. Saks gave a critically acclaimed performance as Claggart at Prague Opera earlier this season:

“The casting presence of Gidon Saks was, of course, a decisive asset for this Czech first... the master of arms seems to stick to his skin and we grasp his performance from the first notes, where he darkens this interpretation which he will not stop playing with a dizzying virtuosity according to the masks he wears."
Forum Opera, March 2018

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Gidon Saks & David Alden nominated for Golden Mask Awards for Billy Budd

06 December 2017

Related profiles:
David Alden

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Golden Mask Awards

Gidon Saks and David Alden are nominated for Golden Mask Awards for their work in the Bolshoi’s production of Britten Billy Budd. Alden is nominated for Best Opera Director, his production for Best Opera Production, and Saks for Best Actor, for the role of John Claggart. Alden’s acclaimed production was co-produced by the Bolshoi, Deutsche Oper Berlin and English National Opera. The Golden Mask Awards are Russia’s highest honours for theatre and stage performance.

Saks is world renowned for his portrayal of Claggart, having sung the role all over the world, including for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra National de Paris, and on recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, which won a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Performance. This season he sings the role again for the Bolshoi as well as for Prague National Opera, and will also sing the title role in Battistelli Richard III for La Fenice.

Alden recently returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with his new production of Rossini Semiramide, which premiered earlier this year at the Bayerische Staatsoper to critical acclaim. In 2018, his production of Lucia di Lammermoor can be seen at Norwegian National Opera, followed by his Maria Stuarda at Opernhaus Zurich, and his new Lohengrin, again for the Royal Opera House.

The Golden Mask Awards ceremony will take place on 15 April 2018.

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Gidon Saks stars as Claggart in Billy Budd at Deutsche Oper Berlin

10 May 2017

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Deutsche Oper Berlin

Gidon Saks returns to Deutsche Oper Berlin on 24 May 2017 to take the role of Claggart in the revival of David Alden's 2014 production of Billy Budd. Saks performs opposite John Chest in the title role, with conductor Moritz Gnann in the pit for the performances.

Saks also sang Claggart in the production's original run in 2014 to great acclaim:

"As Claggart, Gidon Saks is as sadistic as one could imagine, with a powerful voice and dominating stage presence."

"The intensely passionate performance of Gidon Saks..."
Der Tagesspiel

He also sang the role for Virgin Classics' 2008 recording of the opera alongside the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Daniel Harding, with Nathan Gunn in the title role and Ian Bostridge as Captain Vere. United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed the album as one of her favourite recordings in an article by Alex Ross for the New Yorker in 2012. 

There are further performances of Billy Budd on 26 May and 2 June.

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David Alden's Billy Budd performed at the Bolshoi Theatre with Gidon Saks as Claggart

11 November 2016

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David Alden

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Bolshoi Theatre

David Alden’s critically acclaimed production of Britten Billy Budd debuts at the Bolshoi Theatre on 25 November 2016. William Lacey conducts a cast including Intermusica’s Gidon Saks as John Claggart and bass Robert Lloyd as Dansker.

Alden's production of Billy Budd premiered to great acclaim at English National Opera in 2012:

“This story is timelessly relevant, and he tells it stomach-churningly...Billy Budd is Britten’s most harrowing opera, and the black despair evoked by Alden harrows as rarely before.”
Sunday Times, June 2012

“... grimly atmospheric staging... Mr. Alden is going for psychological, not scenic, realism, and once I made the adjustment, I was swept up.”
New York Times, June 2012

“All were wholly committed to the production, one of the best things that David Alden has done for ENO, which is really saying something...”
Opera, August 2012

David Alden’s future highlights include a new production of Rossini Semiraminde at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Joyce di Donato in the title role.

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Gidon Saks sings Bluebeard at the Bartók for Europe Festival at the Munich Gasteig

11 September 2016

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Gasteig, Munich

Gidon Saks travels to Germany this month to perform the title role of Bartók Bluebeard's Castle alongside soprano Petra Lang and Concerto Budapest at the opening concert of the prestigious ‘Bartok for Europe Festival’ on 25 September 2016.

Saks is renowned for his portrayal of Bluebeard, and was most recently praised for his “fierce, emotionally ripe” (Financial Times) performance in Calixto Bieito’s production at the Komische Oper Berlin. This is the first time Saks and Lang have performed the opera together, and it promises to be an exciting new interpretation of a staple piece in Saks’ repertoire.

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Gidon Saks and Michael Colvin join Opéra National de Paris for Lear

09 May 2016

Related profiles:
Michael Colvin

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Opéra National de Paris

Gidon Saks joins the Opéra National de Paris this month to sing the King of France alongside Michael Colvin's Duke of Cornwall in Aribert Reimann Lear from 23 May 2016. Calixto Bieito directs this new production under the musical direction of Fabio Luisi.

This is a busy season for Saks, who has just finished a run of performances as Gyges in Zemlinsky Der Konig Kandaules for Opera Vlaanderen, and next month he travels to the United States to appear at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival.

“The versatile, Israeli bass-baritone Gidon Saks lends his powerful voice to the part of Gyges. His expressiveness and presentation are fascinating.”
Opera Nederland, March 2016

Recent highlights for Colvin include his Royal Opera House debut as Rodolphe Guillaume Tell, Basilio Le nozze di Figaro with Canadian Opera Company and his Dutch National Opera debut as L'Aumônier du Carmel Dialogues des carmélites. Next season Colvin reprises his role as Basilio with Canadian Opera Company and returns later in the year to sing Thomas Scott in their 2017 production of Louis Riel. Further engagements include returns to Royal Opera House and Vlaamse Opera as well as his debut with Opera de Monte-Carlo.

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Gidon Saks sings Gyges in Der König Kandaules at Opera Vlaanderen

11 March 2016

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Opera Vlaanderen

Gidon Saks appears at Opera Vlaanderen this month, taking the role of Gyges in Zemlinsky Der König Kandaules in Antwerp and Ghent from 25 March 2016. Conducted by Dmitri Jurowski and directed by Andrij Zholdak, the cast also features Dmitry Golovnin in the title role and Elisabet Strid as Nyssia.

The role is the latest in a busy season for Saks, who recently made his role debut as Bottom in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Bergen National Opera. Later this spring he appears as the King of France in Aribert Reimann Lear for the Opera National de Paris, conducted by Fabio Luisi and directed by Calixto Bieito.

Der König Kandaules runs in Antwerp until 3 April, and in Ghent from 13-24 April.

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Paul McCreesh conducts Gidon Saks, Ben Johnson and Tim Mead in Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen National Opera

24 October 2015

Related profiles:
Tim Mead

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Bergen National Opera

Paul McCreesh returns to lead the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra this month, conducting Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen National Opera from 7 November 2015. The production – a revival directed by Robert Carsen – runs for four performances on 7, 9, 11 & 13 November, and features a host of Intermusica singers, including countertenor Tim Mead as Oberon, tenor Ben Johnson as Lysander and Gidon Saks playing the role of Bottom.

Saks is making his house and role debut as Bottom, having just made highly successful appearances at the Edinburgh Festival as Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress and in the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at the Komische Oper Berlin. Later this season he can be seen as Gyges in Der Konig Kandaules at Opera Vlaanderen, and as the King of France in Lear at the Opera de Paris.

Tim Mead is also making his house debut in Bergen. He has most recently been seen at Opera de Lille singing the role of Arsamene in their production of Cavalli’s Xerse, and at Lincoln Center in the U.S. premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin. Mead reprises the role of Oberon at the Glyndebourne Festival this summer.

Ben Johnson’s most recent operatic success was in the role of Carlo in Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco for the Buxton Festival. Equally at home in twentieth century and contemporary repertoire, Johnson is renowned for his performances of works by Britten, including the War Requiem and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. Later this month he sings Arvo Pärt’s Passio with the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge.

McCreesh last conducted Bergen Philharmonic in 2012, when he led the orchestra – along with the Bergen Philharmonic Choir, plus Kor Vest and local students – in a large-scale performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

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Gidon Saks & Susan Bickley sing The Rake's Progress at Edinburgh International Festival

29 July 2015

Related profiles:
Susan Bickley

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Edinburgh International Festival

Gidon Saks and Susan Bickley join Sir Andrew Davis and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a concert performance of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Edinburgh International Festival on 12 August 2015. Saks and Bickley take the roles of Nick Shadow and Baba the Turk, and are joined by Emily Birsan as Anne Truelove, Andrew Staples as Tom Rakewell, Peter Rose as Father Truelove and Catherine Wyn-Rogers as Mother Goose.

Saks is a leading interpreter of the role of Nick Shadow, having sung it at the Berliner Staatsoper earlier this year:

"The highlight of the show, and a real star in our opinion, was without a doubt baritone Gidon Saks. He has taken Nick Shadow beyond the boundaries of the role."
Classique News

Bickley too has become a renowned Baba the Turk, with the Times commenting that "Susan Bickley's plate-smashing Baba the Turk - as magnificiently upholstered in voice as in bosom - is the other dominant presence. Her surreal entrance  through the flowerbeds, accompanied by dozens prancing, bowler-hatted acolytes, has a touch of Pythonesque genius."

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Gidon Saks sings title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at Komische Oper Berlin

15 February 2015

Gidon Saks sings the title role in Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle at the Komische Oper in Berlin, opening on 1 March. Saks will star opposite Ausrine Stundyte as Judith, in a production directed by Calixto Bieito and conducted by Henrik Nánási. Bluebeard’s Castle will be presented in a double bill with Puccini Gianni Schicchi.

Bluebeard is a signature role for Saks, who has recently sung the role at the Canadian Opera Company, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Teatr Wielkl in Warsaw with Valery Gergiev, and at Angers Nantes opera, where he was praised for “his dark toned vocal beauty and impressive power” (Concerto Net).

Bluebeard’s Castle runs until 17 April in Berlin.

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Gidon Saks stars in David Alden's Billy Budd at Deutsche Oper Berlin

08 May 2014

Related profiles:
David Alden

Gidon Saks takes the role of Claggart in Britten’s Billy Budd on 22 May at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in a co-production directed by David Alden.

Gidon Saks sings the role of John Claggart for his house debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Saks has previously sung the role of Claggart to great acclaim, notably on the London Symphony Orchestra recording of the work under the baton of Daniel Harding, with his performance described the Guardian as “arguably the finest performance of the role for some years”.

David Alden's Billy Budd was premiered at English National Opera in June 2012 to critical acclaim:

“Alden universalises this indictment of brutality and oppression…This story is timelessly relevant, and he tells it stomach-churningly...The Vere-Claggart relationship is fascinatingly explored in Alden’s staging...Billy Budd is Britten’s most harrowing opera, and the black despair evoked by Alden harrows as rarely before.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

Billy Budd opens on 22 May and runs until 6 June, and is conducted by Donald Runnicles.

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Gidon Saks in new recording of Stravinsky Oedipus Rex with London Symphony Orchestra

25 March 2014

Bass-baritone Gidon Saks sings on a new recording of Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex set for release on 7 April through the LSO Live label. The recording marks the first LSO Live release for Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in this recording.

Saks takes the roles of Creon, and performs alongside tenor Stuart Skelton as Oedipus and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston as Jocasta. The celebrated French actress Fanny Ardant takes on the role of the narrator.

The recording also includes Stravinsky’s two act ballet Apollon musagète and is available to pre-order now – click here for more information.

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Gidon Saks makes a triumphant role debut in A Coruña

07 October 2013

Gidon Saks has received critical acclaim for his role debut as King Marke in a concert performance of Wagner Tristan und Isolde at Festival de Opera de Coruña. Conducted by Eliahu Inbal, the performance featured internationally renowned Wagner singers Stephen Gould and Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title roles.

Saks’s performance has been singled out by critics as a highlight of the concert:

“The King Marke of Gidon Saks left a pleasant memory for the audience. With a moving performance, very generous in voice and acting, it was one of the highlights of the evening.”
Julián Carrillo, El Pais Galicia, October 2013

"The highly commited interpretation of Gidon Saks had great conviction and rare tonal definition."
Nonito Pereira, Dario de Aroudsa, October 2013

Gidon Saks follows his success in A Coruña with his house debut at Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki as the title role in Bartok Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. The production will be directed by Mariusz Treliński and conducted by Valery Gergiev.

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Gidon Saks returns to Opéra National de Paris for The Rake's Progress

01 October 2012

Gidon Saks returns to Opéra National de Paris this month to sing the role of Nick Shadow in Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress, directed by Olivier Py. Jeffrey Tate conducts this revival production at Palais Garnier.

Saks has previously sung this role for the Staatsoper Berlin to critical acclaim for his impressive singing and stagecraft. Later this season, he will also make his debut as Enrico in Anna Bolena for Opera Köln, and return to the Staatsoper Berlin. The Rake’s Progress opens on October 10, with subsequent performances on October 12, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28 & 30.

“Saks steals the limelight – his body as well as his voice are impenetrable, and his identification with the role is very impressive.”
Andre Sokolowski, Kultura Extra, July 2012 (The Rake’s Progress / Staatsoper Berlin)

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Intermusica represents Gidon Saks worldwide

Isla Mundell-Perkins
Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9915

Charlotte Firth
Assistant Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9922

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