The Slovenian MARKO letonja has been active as both an opera and a concert conductor since 1991. He began his studies as a pianist and conductor at the Music Academy of Ljubljana and completed them in 1989 as a student of Otmar Suitner at the Academy for Music and Theater in Vienna. Already two years later, he was appointed the music director of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Ljubljana, which he led until 2003. During this time, Marko Letonjas international career began. With his appointment to Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Symphony Orchestra and the Theater in Basel in 2003, his focus of activity shifted to musical theater. He has also made guest appearences, among others at the Grand Théâtre of Geneva, at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, at the Dresden Semper Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Berlin State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, at the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari and at the Teatro San Carlos Lisbon. Since seotember 2012, Marko Letonja is the chief conductor of the Orchèstre Philharmonique de Strasbourg as well as the chief conductor and artistic director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. At the Vienna State Opera, he gave his debut in 2013 with Pique Dame and also directed Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
Born in lower austria, soprano Daniela Fally completed her vocal training at the Wiener Musikuniversität after having previously completed theater studies, musical studies and private acting classes. Since the 2009/2010 season, she is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper, after having been an ensemble member at the Wiener Volksoper for four years. Guest engagements include among others, at the Salzburger Festspielen, the Bregenzer Festspielen, the Opernfestspielen Munich (Zerbinetta 2011 and 2013), at the Bayrische Staatsoper Munich (Adele, Zerbinetta), the Staatsoper Hamburg (Fiakermilli, Marie/Fille du régiment 2012 and 2013, Zerbinetta), the Semperoper Dresden (Blonde, Sophie/Rosenkavalier under Christian Thielemann 2012 and 2013), the Opera houses in Zurich (Adele), Düsseldorf (Adele), Liège (Zerbinetta), and Strassburg (Blonde, Sophie/Rosenkavalier), Cologne (Zerbinetta), at the Seefestspielen Mörbisch (Adele) and at the Lyric Opera in Chicago (Adele). At the Wiener Staatsoper, she has sung among others Sophie (Rosenkavalier and Werther), Rosina, Fiakermilli, Adele, Oscar, Zerbinetta, and italienische Sängerin (Capriccio).
Marina Rebeka was born in Riga/Latvia. In October 2007 she won the first prize in the renowned singing competition Neue Stimmen in Gütersloh. She sang Violetta in La traviata at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, she performed in Moise et Pharaon at the Salzburger Festspiele, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro she interpreted the Contessa di Folleville and Madama Cortese in Il viaggio a Reims, also Anna in Maometto II., at the New York Metropolitan Opera she sang Donna Anna – a role which she also performed at the Zürcher Oper and the Lyric Opera Chicago.
Marina Rebeka made her debut at La Scala in Milan as Contessa di Folleville and at the Latvian National Opera Riga as Adina in L’elisir d’amore. Furthermore, performances have led her to the Komische Oper Berlin and the Opera National de Lorraine in Nancy. Future engagements include appearances in La traviata in Munich, Chicago, Zurich and New York, in Lucia di Lammermoor in Amsterdam and Zurich as well as in Così fan tutte and L’elisir d’amore in Zurich.
Nadia Krasteva was born in Sofia. She received her singing training at the Music Academy in Sofia and in Rome at the Academy Boris Christoff. In the 2001/2002 season, she sang at the opera houses in Sofia, Plovdiv, Carna, Burgas and Stara Zagora and is an ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera since 2002 where she made her debut as Fenea in Nabucco. Since then, she has performed more than 30 works, like for example Carmen, Adalgisa (Norma), Maria Gesualdo, Léonor (La Favorite), Olga, Giulietta (Contes d’Hoffmann), Marina Mnischek (Boris Godunow), Meg Page (Falstaff), Ulrica (Ballo in maschera), Eboli (Don Carlos), Flosshilde (Rheingold, Götterdämmerung), Erste Norn (Götterdämmerung), Polina und Daphnis (Pique Dame), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Sonjetka (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Preziosilla. Furthermore, she performs and has performed among others at the Deutschen Oper Berlin, the Scala, the Bayerischen Staatsoper, in Hamburg, Sofia, Bratislava, Savonlinna, Riga as well as in Parma, the Lyric Opera Chicago, in Valencia, the De Nederlandse Opera and the Bolschoi Theater in Moscow. Future performances are among others, leading her to the Met and Munich.
The Mezzosoprano Stephanie Houtzeel recieved her „Master of Music“ from the Juilliard School in New York and is a prizewinner of several competitions. She has been in leading roles in the Opéra National de Paris, the Zurich Opera, the Semperoper, the Washington Kennedy Centre, the New York City Opera, the Theater an der Wien, the Opéra de Lyon, the Opéra National du Rhin, the Royal Danish Opera, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, the New Israeli Opera, the Graz Opera and at the Salzburg Festival. Since the 2010/2011 season, she is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper, where she has been seen singing the roles of Komponist, Octavian, Dorabella, Siébel, Varvara, Nicklausse, Kreusa, Orlofsky and Jenny Hill. Aside from the big Strauss and Mozart roles of her vocal range, her repertoire includes among others, Charlotte, Gluck’s Orfeo, Händel’s Ariodante, Ottavia, Valencienne or Amando in Grand Macabre. Future performances are leading the Mezzosoprano among others to Graz (Leading Role in Xerxes), to the Komische Oper Berlin and to the Bayreuther Festivals. In 2015, her new CD Nostalgia will be released.
The tenor YOSEP KANG studied in Seoul, Salzburg and Berlin. He is a prize-winner of several singing competitions. In 2002, he sang Conte d’Almaviva with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He went on to sing this work at the Berlin State Opera, in Stuttgart, Essen, Hannover, Cologne and Wiesbaden. Other engagements have led among others, as Nemorino to Görlitz, as Tamino in Stuttgart and Graz, as Alfredo in Stuttgart, Mannheim and Wiesbaden, as Edgardo to Hannover and Wiesbaden, as Rosenkavalier-Singer at the Komische Oper in Berlin, to Munich, Dresden and Cologne, as Don Ottavio to Klagenfurt and as Rodolfo to Lyon and Vienna. At the Vienna State Opera, he has already sung Rodolfo.
THOMAS EBENSTEIN was born in 1979 in Carinthia, and studied vocal arts at the Vienna University of Music under Helena Lazarska. From 2003 to 2012 the tenor was an ensemble member at the Komische Oper Berlin, and since the 2012/2013 season, he has been an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper. Guest appearences have led him among others, to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the Grand Théatre de Genève, the Theater an der Wien, the Volksoper in Vienna, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Philarmonie in Berlin, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Vienna Musikverein, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Ruhrtriennale Bochum, the Wiener Festwochen, the Easter Festival in Salzburg, the Salzburg Festival, the Bergen International Festival, and to the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
His repertoire includes such roles as Pedrillo (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Truffaldino (Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen), David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Narraboth (Salome) and Alfred (Die Fledermaus). He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2012 and sang, among others, Tanzmeister, Andres, Incroyable, Andrès/Cochenille/Frantz/Pitichinaccio, Guillot de Morfontaine, Valzacchi and Monostatos.
The bass singer Ildar Abdrazakov, born in 1976 in Ufa (Russia), studied at the State Institute of Arts in his hometown and has won a number of awards at international competitions (e.g. Maria Callas competition 2000). One great success was his leading part in Rossini´s Moise et Pharaon at La Scala under the direction of Riccardo Muti as well as a reopening concert of La Scala in the year 2004. Regular engagements lead him to the New Yorker Met, the Salzburg Festival, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berlin, Madrid, the Mariinksij Theatre, Rome and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. His repertoire includes parts such as Méphistophélès in Faust and Damnation de Faust, Mustafà in L’italiana in Algeri, Enrico VII. (Anna Bolena), Die vier Bösewichte in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Sivglia), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Attila, Leporello, Giovanni da Procida (I vespri siciliani), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor). Ildar Abdrazakov is also a very welcome guest star at concerts and has performed with the world´s leading international orchestras. Ildar Abdrazakov made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2003 as Escamillo.
DONNA ELLEN comes from Canada and studied singing at the Wilfrid Laurier University of her hometown. For two seasons, she sang at the Canada Opera Piccola under the care of Leopold Simoneau and Pierette Alarie, before she changed to the Opernstudio in Zurich. In1987, she became engaged with the Landestheater Linz, where she sang roles like the Queen of the Night, Blonde, and Zerlina and sang in the premiere of Balduin Sulzers Proteus. Previous performances include among others, in Stuttgart, Geneva, Berlin, Bad Ischl, in the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna. In 2004, she gave her debut at the Volksoper. Her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an honorary ensemble member, was in 2003 as Helmwige. Since then, she has sang among others, Marzellina (Barbiere di Siviglia), Axinja (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Leitmetzerin (Rosenkavalier), Annina (Traviata), Curra (Forza del destino), Brünnhilde (Nibelungenring for children), Königin (Traumfresserchen), Berta (Pünktchen und Anton), Marcellina (Nozze di Figaro), Fekluša (Kátja Kabanová), Kartenaufschlägerin (Arabella), Aufseherin (Elektra), and Dirne (Aus einem Totenhaus), Giovanna (Rigoletto).
Michael Roider was born in Salzburg and studied violin and vocal arts at the Mozarteum. Initially, he worked as a violinist but decided on a singer´s career in 1978. His first engagements were in Basel, Lucerne, as well as in Graz, where he for example sang Kudrjaš (Katja Kabanova), Max (Freischütz), Eisenstein (Fledermaus) and the title role in Der Graf von Luxemburg. Further performances led him to Berlin, Tokyo, Budapest, Salzburg, Karlsruhe, Bern, Zürich, Leipzig and to the Volksoper Wien. In 1995 he made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper as Offizier (Ariadne auf Naxos), where he has performed e.g. as Idomeneo, Triquet, Hirt (Oedipe), Valzacchi (Rosenkavalier), Herodes (Salome), Hauptmann (Wozzeck), Maler (Lulu), Loge (Rheingold), Basilio (Nozze di Figaro), Vere (Billy Budd), Spalanzani (Contes d’Hoffmann), Bob Boles (Peter Grimes), Cajus (Falstaff), Aegisth (Elektra), Laca (Jenufa), Guillot (Manon), Altoum (Turandot), Schäbiger (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Kreon (Medea), Incroyable (Andrea Chenier), Trabuco (Forza del destino), Albert (Tote Stadt) and Eisenstein. In 2008 and 2009 he sang Mime in Budapest.
CARLOS OSUNA was born in Mazatlán (Mexico) and studied vocal arts in his home country and at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice. In 2009 he became member of the opera studio of the Basel Theatre and took master classes with Grace Bumbry and Francisco Araiza as well as with Mirella Freni, Kiri Te Kanawa, Ileana Cotrubas, José Carreras and Sherril Milnes. The tenor for example received invitations to the Verbier Festival, the Welsh National Opera, the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, the Festival Internacional de Santander. He celebrated great triumphs as (excerpt) Nemorino, Rodolfo, Pinkerton, in the title role Werther, as Beppe in Pagliacci and in Aus einem Totenhaus. Furthermore, Carlos Osuna is also very successful on the world´s concert stages. At the Wiener Staatsoper he for example sang Abdallo (Nabucco), Hauptmann (Simon Boccanegra), Gaston (La traviata), Aladdin (Aladdin und die Wunderlampe, Kinderoper), Der große Sträfling (Aus einem Totenhaus), Beppe, Tebaldo (I vespri siciliani), Scaramuccio, (Ariadne auf Naxos), Narraboth (Salome), Hirt (Tristan und Isolde), Sir Hervey (Anna Bolena).
KS Walter Fink was born in Bregenz and completed his studies of vocal arts as well as ancient philology in Vienna. In 1977 he was accepted to the Opernstudio of the Wiener Staatsoper and one year later became member of the ensemble.
In the years 1982-1991 he was engaged in Bremen, until he returned to the Wiener Staatsoper in 1991, where he has been a member of the ensemble ever since and performs in his fach bass and bass-baritone. Engagements have lead him to Berlin, Lyon, Toulouse, the New York Met and to the Bregenzer Festspiele. He has sung about 70 different parts at the Wiener Staatsoper, among them Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Osmin (Entführung aus dem Serail), Rocco (Fidelio), Colline (La Bohème), Kaspar (Freischütz), Doktor (Wozzeck), Warlaam (Boris Godunow), König Heinrich (Lohengrin), Veit Pogner (Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Titurel (Parsifal), Daland (Der fliegende Holländer), Grand Inquisiteur (Don Carlos), Fafner (Siegfried), Melcthal (Guillaume Tell) und Kardinal Brogni (La Juive). In 2001 he became Österreichischer Kammersänger.
Rolls at the Wiener Staatsoper 2012/2013: e.g. Schließer (Tosca), Schmidt (Andrea Chénier).
Janusz Monarcha was born in Poland, studied at the University of Music in Wroclaw and won several singing competitions. He was first engaged at the Wroclaw Opera House. In 1986 he came to the Wiener Kammeroper, one year later Janusz Monarcha was already member of the ensemble of the Volksoper. Guest appearances led him to France, Monte Carlo, Hungary and the USA. Since 1991 he is member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper and has sung e.g. Fasolt (Rheingold), Oberpriester (Herodiade), König (Aida), Pope (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Lord Valton (I puritani), Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Albert (La Juive), Daland (Fliegender Holländer), Geronte (Manon Lescaut), Colas (Bastien und Bastienne), Colline, Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Kardinal Alfonso (Gesualdo), Oberpriester (Nabucco), Dorfrichter (Jenufa), Bailli (Werther), Angelotti (Tosca), Reinmar von Zweter (Tannhäuser), Vanuzzi (Schweigsame Frau), Warlaam (Boris Godunow), Mönch (Don Carlo), Rocco (Fidelio), Pistola (Falstaff).
Roles at the Wiener Staatsoper 2014/2015 e.g.: Pfarrer/Dachs (Schlaues Füchslein), Schmidt (Andrea Chénier), Albert (La Juive), Pope (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Pfleger des Orest, 2. Gralsritter, Oberpriester des Baal.
Mihail Dogotari was born in Glodeni (Moldova) in 1986. He studied at the National Music Academy in Bucharest and completed a large number of master classes. Furthermore, he has won numerous national and international competitions. His repertoire includes Alidoro (La cenerentola), Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) and Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), to only name a few. He has performed in Ravenna, Milan, Bucharest, Bergamo. From the beginning of the season 2012/2013 he has been member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper. He is holder of the Novomatic scholarship and made his debut at the house on the ring in September 2012 as kaiserlicher Kommissär in Puccini´s Madama Butterfly.
Baritone Tae-Joong Yang was born in Buye/South Korea and completed his vocal arts studies in Seoul. In 2003 he came to Germany, where he continued his music studies in Berlin. Among his numerous prizes is the first prize in Domingo´s Operalia competition. Regular opera and concert performances lead him to Korea, Japan, Italy, France and Austria. In December 2008 Tae-Joong Yang made his successful debut as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at the Wiener Staatsoper. Since the season 2009/2010 he has been member of the ensemble of the house on the ring and has sung e.g. Silvio, Lescaut (in Manon Lescaut sowie in Manon), Alessio (La sonnambula), Albert (Werther), Schaunard, Harlekin, Masetto, Mercutio, Marullo, Roberto (I vespri siciliani) and Belcore.
Recent concert projects have included his USA debut with the LA Symphony as well as opera galas in the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Königin Elisabeth Zaal Antwerp.
Roles for the Wiener Staatsoper in the season 2014/2015: among others. Masetto, Dandini, Bello.
The poet Hoffmann sits at his writing table. Spirits of wine and beer arrive and then vanish. Hoffmann's Muse appears, swearing to protect him from the dangers of love. She will transform herself into Nicklausse, a young student, to guide Hoffmann.
Councillor Lindorf intercepts Andrès, who is employed by Stella, a lovely opera singer appearing this evening in Don Giovanni. Lindorf bribes Andrès to get a letter from Stella to Hoffmann. The letter is a declaration of love for the poet, and includes the key to her dressing room. Lindorf may be old and pitiful-looking, but he has power and money. He intends tonight to steal Stella from Hoffmann. In Luther's tavern, waiters prepare the tables for the arrival of Hoffmann, a regular client. Boisterous students invade the tavern, demand wine, curse Luther, toast Stella, and wait impatiently for Hoffmann. He arri ves with Nicklausse. Hoffmann seems tormented, gloomy; still, the students insist he sings a funny song about Kleinzack the dwarf. As Hoffmann describes the grotesque creature, his mind wanders and he describes a beautiful woman instead. The students bring him out of his reverie. Waiters light the punch. Hoffmann spots Lindorf and sees in him the eternal antagonist who ruins his luck in everything, especially love. Their curiosity roused, the students demand that Hoffmann tell them the name of his mistress. There are three, he answers: Olympia, a young girl; Antonia, an artist; and Giulietta, a courtesan. The students decide not to return to the opera - they prefer to smoke their pipes and to listen to Hoffmann's tales of his three loves.
ACT I - OLYMPIA
Physics is Spalanzani’s passion, and this eccentric inventor has constructed a perfect automaton with such genuinely human traits that he passes it off as his daughter, Olympia. Tonight he will present Olympia to society. He's counting on his latest creation to help him recoup 500 ducats that he lost when his banker, Elias, failed. The first guest arrives early; it's Hoffmann, his student, who has been admiring Olympia from afar. Left alone for a moment with her, Hoffmann gets one glimpse of Olympia and falls in love. Nicklausse warns him off, compa ring his new love with a doll with enamel eyes. Is this a presen timent? Coppélius enters, introducing himself as a friend to Spalanzani. In fact, he has come to reclaim the eyes he constructed for Olympia unless Spalanzani can pay him off. In the meantime, Coppélius tries to sell Hoffmann his strange inventions - barometers, hygrometers and pairs of lovely eyes. Nicklausse is skeptical, but Hoffmann eagerly buys some magic glasses that make his dreams of Olympia appear real.
Spalanzani returns and is alarmed to find Coppélius waiting. Coppélius wants a share of the profits, and Spalanzani sends him away with a bad check drawn on the bankrupt Elias. As he leaves, Coppélius advises Spalanzani to marry Olympia off to Hoffmann. Cochenille, a servant, announces the guests have arrived.
The guests marvel over the enchanting Olympia, who sings as Cochenille accompanies her on the harp. Her exquisite song is interrupted at times by strange mechanical noises, but Hoff mann, dazzled by his magic glasses, listens rapturously. Left alone with Olympia, Hoffmann declares his love and believes he is loved in return. But at their first embrace, Olympia runs away. Nicklausse bursts in with some disturbing rumors about Olympia that are circulating at the party. Hoffmann ignores the warning and runs off in search of his beloved. Coppélius promises to avenge himself on Spalanzani, who tried to swindle him with a worthless check. The guests return. Hoff mann waltzes with Olympia, who quickens the pace to such a frenzy that she seems to have gone quite mad. Hoffmann falls and breaks his magic glasses; Olympia must be taken away. Coppélius is waiting for her. He smashes the doll to pieces. Hoffmann realizes his folly: he was in love with an automaton.
ACT II- ANTONIA
A young girl sings a nostalgic song about her lost love. Anto nia Crespel dreams of becoming a famous diva like her mother, who is now dead. But Antonia doesn't know that she has inherited her mother's fatal illness as well as her glorious voice. To save his daughter's life, Crespel must keep Antonia from excitement and exertion. He forbids her to sing and prohi bits all relations with her lover Hoffmann. Crespel instructs the old, deaf servant Frantz not to open the door to anyone. Frantz is happy to be alone to sing away his frustrations Hoffmann bursts in looking for Antonia, who rushes in at the sound of his voice. The two declare their love and promise to marry. Hoff mann begs her to sing. She happily obliges him, but at the end of the song she nearly faints. Crespel returns. Antonia runs away; Hoffmann hides. Frantz announces the arrival of Dr. Miracle, the family physician. Crespel denounces Miracle, calling him a murderer who will destroy his daughter as he destroyed her mother. Dr. Miracle demonstrates his hypnotic powers. Hoffmann understands now that Antonia is in danger; if she sings, she will die. At his urging, Antonia reluctantly agrees to give up singing and her dreams of fame. Dr. Miracle, however, doesn't give up on anything. He returns to torment Antonia, asking her if she can sacrifice her talent to be a middle-class housewife. At first she withstands temptation, but when Miracle conjures up the voice and image of her mother, she can resist no longer - she must sing. Goaded on by the demonic doctor, Antonia sings herself to death. In desperation, Crespel turns on Hoffmann, but Nicklausse is there to restrain the grieving father. They are all too late: the devil has triumphed once again, aided by his servant, Frantz.
ACT III- GIULlETTA
Giulietta the beautiful courtesan and Nicklausse sing a barca rolle to this “night of love". Disappointed in love, Hoffmann has become a cynic who prefers wine and cards to women. Schlémil and Pittichinaccio, fight for Giuliettas affections. Nick lausse tells Hoffmann he will drag him off at the first sign of infatuation. Hoffmann scoffs at this: only a fool could lose his heart to a courtesan. As the two friends leave, Dapertutto appears and vows that Hoffmann will indeed lose his heart - to the bewitching Giulietta. A woman will gladly lose her soul for a glittering jewel says Dapertutto as he uses a diamond to lure Giulietta to him. To keep the diamond, Giulietta must promise Dapertutto that she will seduce from Hoffmann his reflection - just as she bewitched Schlémil to get his shadow. Giulietta uses her wiles to captivate Hoffmann. His sincerity touches her - for a moment she seems to want to save him. But in the end, Hoffmann falls under her spell and offers her not only his image but his soul. Schlémil finds the two alone together and is enflamed with jealousy. “Let's kill him,” suggests Pittichinaccio.
The gondolas come to take Giulietta away. Hoffmann demands that Schlémil give up the key to her room. The two men prepare to fight. Dapertutto lends Hoffmann his sword. Schlémil is fatally wounded. Hoffmann takes the key, but when he looks for Giulietta, she has forsaken him, choosing a diamond instead of his love.
So ends the tales of Hoffmann, the story of his three loves. When Nicklausse suggests that Stella is the incarnation of all three women, Hoffmann attacks his mentor in a drunken rage. By the time Stella arrives, Hoffmann has drunk himself into oblivion. Andrès, now in Lindorf's service, introduces Stella to the Councillor, who triumphantly escorts her to his car.
Abandoning the character of Nicklausse, the Muse assumes her true form. She promises to ease Hoffmann's sufferings, telling him that love in life is an illusion. The suffering poet returns to his writing desk to continue his search in his Art.