Intermusica artists featured in Best of 2017 critics' picks
At the end of each year we look forward to reading critics’ musical highlights from the last 12 months; we’re delighted to see many of our artists featured in a host of such round-ups.
A standout achievement of the year was Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi 450 tour, which was praised globally. The tour commemorated the 450th anniversary of the composer’s death and visited the Berlin Festival, Philharmonie de Paris, the new National Forum of Music in Wrocław, and the Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals, as well as Bristol’s Colston Hall, Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana and a historic residency at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the composer's adopted home. Hugh Canning in the Sunday Times praised it as “dazzling”, while it was also chosen as one of the highlights of the year by the Guardian and Alex Ross of the New Yorker, who praised the “deft, vivid” productions that confirmed that “the first great opera composer remains the master of the game.” It was also chosen by the Herald Scotland, The Arts Desk, New York Classical Review and Chicago Classical Review.
Another highlight was the world premiere run of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Hugh Canning picked it as his operatic highlight of the year in the Sunday Times, and it also featured in round-ups in the Evening Standard, The Arts Desk and The Stage.
Hugh Canning also praised David Butt Philip’s “searing” performance in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé.
Nicholas Collon’s Prom with his Aurora Orchestra, in which he conducted Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony from memory, was chosen as one of the Evening Standard’s highlights of the classical year, as was the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester’s visit to London. The orchestra’s performance at the Barbican featured Intermusica artists Leonidas Kavakos and Kirill Gerstein performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and was part of the orchestra’s 275th anniversary tour, which Intermusica brought to Europe and Asia.
Several Intermusica artists also featured in The Arts Desk’s round-up of the best concerts and opera performances. In the concert round-up, Mark Wigglesworth’s Prom with the BBC Philharmonic was highlighted thanks to a “miraculous” performance of Haydn Symphony No.99. Kian Soltani was highly praised for his performance of Strauss Don Quixote at the Southbank Centre with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, with The Arts Desk writing that it was “quite the most vivid” critic David Nice had heard live. Nice also cited HK Gruber for his performance as conductor and chansonnier in his Frankenstein!! at the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s composer festival.
In The Arts Desk’s opera round-up, Martyn Brabbins’ performance of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Last Supper with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra “kicked off the year in thoughtful, complex style”, while David Nice also gave special mention to Wallis Giunta, writing that she was the “young singer of the year in my books” for her performances in L'enfant et les sortileges and Trouble in Tahiti in Opera North's well-received Little Greats series of one-act operas. Giunta was also named 'Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera' in the WhatsOnStage Opera Poll.
Meanwhile, Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s new recording of Bach St Matthew Passion, made with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, was chosen as one of Gramophone’s Critics’ Choice, as was Boris Giltburg’s account of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 with Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Composer and music writer Robert Hugill picked John Wilson’s recording of Walton’s Façade as one of his top recordings of the year. Also featured were Sir James MacMillan’s “powerful” Stabat Mater and Martyn Brabbins’ latest entry in the Romantic Piano Concerto series for Hyperion, this time featuring the piano concertos of Roger Sacheverell Coke.
The Pavel Haas Quartet once again found great critical success with their latest CD, which featured Dvorák Piano and String Quintets and was made with Boris Giltburg and founder and former member Pavel Nikl. The album was chosen as one of the records of the year by the Boston Globe and WQXR.
Wallis Giunta stars in L'enfant et les sortilèges in return to Opera North
Wallis Giunta returns to Opera North from 16 September 2017 to perform in the company's Little Greats festival of short operas. She first makes her role debut as The Child in Ravel L'enfant et les sortilèges, and then stars as Dinah in Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti from 11 October.
The Little Greats festival presents six short operas in a variety of pairings. In addition to L'enfant et les sortilèges and Trouble in Tahiti, the company presents Janáček Osud, Gilbert & Sullivan Trial by Jury and Mascagni Cavalleria rusticana.
The performances mark Giunta's first return to Opera North after her debut with the company in February 2017, when she starred as Angelina in La Cenerentola:
"the grand finale gains strength from the introduction of two exceptional new faces...the Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta has an incipient star quality that positively explodes with the ornamental cascades of her concluding aria"
"In the title role the rising Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta is touching, credible, and gets round the notes too. More than that, she gauges her performance from demure reticence...to a commanding cascade of coloratura in her final aria."
Wallis Giunta sings Seven Deadly Sins with the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla
Wallis Giunta reprises the role of Anna 1 in Joel Ivany’s production of Weill Seven Deadly Sins with Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla on 6 and 7 July 2017, performing at the city's Teatro de la Maestranza under the baton of John Axelrod.
Giunta received great critical acclaim for her performance in this production with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall last month, conducted by Peter Oundjian:
“Centering the vocal dynamic of the evening, mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta brings immeasurable strength of purpose and continuity to this highly charged Seven Deadly Sins as the ever caustic, eternally unimpressed Anna I… Snarling, catty, weary, admonishing, Giunta bounces from scene to scene with palpable vitality, an omnipresent dramatic force, sharp-eyed and even sharper tongued.”
Opera Going Toronto, June 2017
“Top vocal honours went to Giunta, whose high mezzo sounded fantastic, and she sang with impeccable German — her tenure at Oper Leipzig has helped her honed her German in no uncertain terms.”
Musical Toronto, June 2017
Wallis Giunta sings Seven Deadly Sins with Toronto Symphony
Wallis Giunta joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on 14 June 2017 to perform Weill Seven Deadly Sins. The performance takes place at Roy Thomson Hall under the baton of Peter Oundjian with stage direction by Joel Ivany.
Giunta also gives two performances of the Seven Deadly Sins with Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla on 7 and 8 July. Giunta previously performed the work as part of a recital with Jordan de Souza in Miami and Ottawa in 2014, to critical acclaim:
“Giunta’s rich, expressive voice is already well known to Ottawa audiences, and her dramatic powers seem more evolved than ever. She also has the power to produce a sound that’s suited to whatever particular repertoire she’s singing… She could switch effortlessly between the angular sound of Weill to the baroque luxury of Handel or the world of John Lennon.”
Ottawa Citizen, March 2014
Wallis Giunta makes her UK and house debut at Opera North in the title role of La Cenerentola
Wallis Giunta makes her UK debut this month when she sings the role Angelina in Aletta Collins’ new production of La Cenerentola for Opera North from 16 February 2017. Performing under the baton of Wyn Davies, La Cenerentola opens at Leeds Grand Theatre before playing at Newcastle Theatre Royal, the Lowry in Manchester, Northern Ireland Opera and Theatre Royal Nottingham.
Giunta made her role debut as Angelina at Oper Leipzig in Germany earlier this year, to great critical acclaim:
"She sings Rossini as if she had never done anything else than to help bring to life the simple melodies and ornamental coloratura of this magnificent role with humanity and dignified musicianship...her velvety mezzo, when combined with her wonderful "Non più mesta" results in the final triumph three hours later, and you wish she would never stop. You can hardly get enough of the beautiful bel canto singing in this production."
Leipziger Volkszeitung, March 2016
La Cenerentola runs from 16 February until 25 March.
Wallis Giunta sings Paquette in Candide with the Hamburger Symphoniker
Giunta makes her debut with the Hamburger Symphoniker on 1 May 2016 as Paquette in a semi-staged performance of Bernstein Candide conducted by Jeffrey Tate. The cast for this performance also includes Jason Bridges as in the title role and Jane Archibald as Cunegonde.
Candide follows soon after Giunta's acclaimed performances for Opera Leipzig as Angelina La Cenerentola:
"Wallis Giunta as Angelina succeeds with great ease in the change from sooty Cinderella to a noble and generous lady. With her youthful and svelte mezzo soprano she also achieves the difficult coloratura and parlando sections with seemingly effortless ease. It is an impressive role debut that Giunta delivers here" Opernnetz, March 2016
Following this, Giunta makes her debut for Oper Frankfurt as Mércèdes Carmen.
Wallis Giunta stars as Angelina in La Cenerentola at Oper Leipzig
Wallis Giunta makes her role debut in the title role of Rossini La Cenerentola at Oper Leipzig on 19 March 2016. This new production by Lindy Hume is conducted by Anthony Bramall. These performances follow on from Giunta’s critically acclaimed Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro earlier this season, which marked her house debut in Leipzig:
"Wallis Giunta provides all the cheerfulness and mirth, and excellently masters her rewarding trouser role both vocally and dramatically"
Leipziger Internet Zeitung, November 2015
Following La Cenerentola, Giunta makes her debut with the Hamburger Symphoniker as Paquette in Bernstein Candide conducted by Jeffrey Tate.
Following opening night, there are further performances of La Cenerentola on 28 March, 9 and 23 April and 3 and 19 June.
Wallis Giunta performs in AIDS Gala at Deutscher Oper am Rhein
Wallis Giunta joins the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra and conductor Axel Kover for the AIDS Gala at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein on 5 March 2016.
Giunta performs 'Una voce poco fa' from Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Other soloists include Ekaterina Bakanova, Mari Eriksmoen, Elena Sancho Pereg, Anna Goryachova, Dmytro Popov, Stefano La Colla, Elena Zhidkova, Stefan Kocan and Audun Iversen.
Later in the month, Giunta makes her debut in the title role of La Cenerentola for Oper Leipzig on 19 March.
Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta joins Intermusica
Intermusica is delighted to announce the signing of mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta for General Management.
A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta is currently a member of the Leipzig Opera Ensemble where she make her house debut on 14 November singing Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro.
Further roles this season for Wallis Giunta in Leipzig include the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Siebel in Gounod’s Faust, before she makes her debut for Oper Frankfurt later this season as Mercédès Carmen. Full details of her upcoming performances can be found here.
Giunta has already gained international recognition and great critical acclaim for her portrayal of a number of roles, including Sesto and Dorabella at the Canadian Opera Company:
“It was a triumph for Giunta. She has a delectably rich, silver-toned mezzo-soprano with a beautiful sense of line and effortless rapid runs. Every one of her arias was a delight...”
“Soprano Layla Claire and mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta are ideal as Fiordiligi and Dorabella. Both have amber-coloured voices…the beautiful dark shade of Giunta’s…They blend so well each of their frequent duets seems more exquisite than the last.”
Recent highlights for Giunta also include her debut at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in John Adams’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, Olga in a new production of The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera, Dorabella Così fan tutte and Annio La clemenza di Tito for the Canadian Opera Company, Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Lyra Ottawa, and Bradamante Alcina in a new production for the Opera Atelier, Toronto.
Intermusica represents Wallis Giunta worldwide excluding Canada.