Conductor JAMES CONLON made his debut in 1974 with the New York Philharmonic and has since then conducted all significant orchestras in the USA and Europe. Between 1983 and 1991 he was music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, from 1989 to 2002 GMD of the city of Cologne, between 1995 and 2004 first guest conductor of the Paris Opera. Furthermore, James Conlon has been music director of the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979, since 2005 music director of the Ravinia Festival and since 2006 music director of the Los Angeles Opera. In 1976 James Conlon made his debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera, where he has conducted more than 270 performances ever since. Further performances led him to La Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the opera in Rome. In the season 2014/2015 he for example led La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere die Siviglia at the Los Angeles Opera. He is Commandeur de L´Orde des Arts et des Lettres and since 2002 he is member of the French Legion of Honour.
DMITRY BELOSSELSKIY studied in the Russian Academy of Music. He then went on to perform at several renound stages, most notably the Salzburger Festspielen, the Milan Scala, the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the New Yorker Metropolitan Opera, the Bavarian Staatsoper, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Bolschoi-Theatre, the Zurich Opera, Tel Aviv, the Choregies d’Orange, and the Bregenzer Festspielen. His repertoire includes works such as Giuseppe Verdis Il trovatore, Fiesco in Giuseppe Verdis Simon Boccanegra, Zaccaria in Giuseppe Verdis Nabucco, Philipp II. in Giuseppe Verdis Don Carlo, the leading role in Modest Mussorgskis Boris Godunow, Malatesta in Francesca da Rimini, Banquo in Giuseppe Verdis Macbeth, the leading role in Giuseppe Verdis Attila, Escamillo in Georges Bizets Carmen and Oroveso in Vincenzo Bellinis Norma. Recent engagements include e.g. Ramfis in Aida and Silva in Ernani (at the Met) as well as appearances at the Scala and in Chicago. At the Wiener Staatsoper he made his debut in 2014 as Zaccaria in Nabucco.
Since his debuts in Glyndebourne, at the Opera North and at the English National Opera, CHRISTOPHER VENTRIS is amongst the leading tenors of his fach. In recent years, he focused his career on Wagner roles such as Parsifal, Siegmund, Lohengrin and Erik. He for example debuted very successfully at the Bayreuther Festspiele as Parsifal and enthralled the audience with that same role under the direction of Bernard Haitink at the Zurich Opera, under the direction of Christian Thielemann at the Wiener Staatsoper, with Kent Nagano at the Bayerische Staatsoper, with Lorin Maazel in Valencia, as well as at the Nederlandse Opera, the ROH Covent Garden, in Paris, in San Francisco, Seattle and Barcelona. Other important recent engagements include Erik in San Francisco, Max at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and at La Scala in Milan, Sergei (Lady Mabeth von Mzensk) in Geneva, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam and London. He debuted as Števa at the New York Met, as Tannhäuser at the Paris Opera. Furthermore, he sang the title role in Palestrina (Munich) and Dmitri in Boris Godunow (London). Apart from Parsifal, he also sang Siegmund and Jim Mahoney (Mahagonny) at the Wiener Staatsoper.
AIN ANGER was born in Estonia and first studied Physics and Mathematics, and then in 1996 singing. He began his international career as a soloist in the Opera in Leipzig in 2001. Since then, he is a sought after bass in all important opera houses in the world. From 2004 to 2010 he was a member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper, where he made his debut as Monterone (Rigoletto) and further roles included Phillip II. (franz. and ital. Don Carlos/Don Carlo), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Sarastro (Magic Flute), Graf Des Grieux (Manon), Peneios (Daphne), orest (Elektra), Pimen (Boris Godunow), Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Zaccaria (Nabucco), Fiesco (Simon Bocanegra), Dossifei (Chowanschtschina), Pogner (Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Daland (The Flying Dutchman), Hunding (Die Walküre) and Herrmann (Tannhäuser). A lively carrer of concerts has led him amoung others to the orchestras in Tokyo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, New York, Cleveland, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Luzern and Munich. He has been a guest at many opera houses like the Pariser Opera Bastille, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Washington Opera, the La Monnaie, the Opera in Frankfurt, the Milan Scala, the Sydney Opera House, the Liceu in Barcelona, in Houston and at the Bayreuther Festspiele.
The austrian and former member of the Vienna Boys Choir Herbert Lippert is considered amongst the most important tenors of our times. The first promoters of his voice were Sir Georg Solti and Wolfgang Sawallisch, under whose direction came numerous recordings like Die Schöpfung, Don Giovanni and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In 1997, Herbert Lippert was awardsd a Grammy Award for his interpretation of the role of David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg under the direction of Sir Georg Solti. He is connected to the Vienna Philharnomic not only through intensive work in the opera and concert sector, but also through cooperation in the field of operetta, in particular the "degenerate operetta". Some great successes in the Lied field include Lieder evenings with Wolfgang Sawallisch and Maurizio Pollini. He is an ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera where made his debut in 1985 in La Traviata, and has sung roles here like Tamino, Matteo, Flamand, Don Ottavio, Offizier (Cardillac), Belmonte, Alfred, Froh, Walther von der Vogelweide, Skuratov, Aegisth, Jim Mahoney, Peter Grimes, Erik and Eisenstein.
EVGENY NIKITIN was born in Murmansk and studied at the music academy in St. Petersburg. Already during his studies, he debuted at the Mariinski theatre and was soon invited to important opera houses and renowned festivals world-wide. In 2002 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Krieg und Frieden and also sang Colline, Pogner, Fasolt, Orest, Wanderer, Rangoni and Klingsor there. He debuted at the Paris Opera in 2005 in Der Dämon and sang, respectively still sings Boris Godunow, Jochanaan, Klingsor, Tomski, Gunther, Orest there. He made his first appearance as Jochanaan at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2008 and also performed Telramund there. Furthermore he sang the leading role in Der fliegende Holländer and Philipp II. (Baden-Baden), Amfortas (Berlin), Jochanaan (Zurich and Verbier), Boris Godunow, Amfortas, Wotan, Wanderer, Don Giovanni (Mariinski), Don Pizarro (Valencia). Amongst his current performances are his debut as Telramund in Amsterdam and as Scarpia in Chicago.
ELENA MAXIMOVA completed her vocal training at the Tschaikowski-Conservatoire in Moscow and became engaged as a soloist to the Moscow Stanislavski Music Theater. There, Elena Maximova was heard, among others, in the following roles: Polina (Pique Dame), Siébel (Faust), Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Olga (Eugen Onegin), Carmen and Charlotte (Werther). Elena Maximova gave her debut in 2005 on the stage of the Bavarian State Opera in a new production of Rigoletto (Maddalena). She also sang there Suzuki, Carmen, Olga and Frederica (Luisa Miller). Furthermore, she has sung at the Opéra in Lyon (Eugen Onegin, Pique Dame) and performed as Carmen at houses like the Berlin State Opera, the Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Palau de les Arts in Valencia and in the Scala. Elena Maximova is also active worldwide as a concert singer. Recently she sang Carmen, Preziosilla, Charlotte, Despina, Rosina, Nicklausse and Isabella in Moscow, Carmen in Palermo, Helsinki and Moscow, Olga in the ROH London and the Met. She gave her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2012 as Carmen and also sang Maddalena.
NORBERT ERNST studied in Wiener Neustadt under Gerd Fussi and in Vienna under KS Robert Holl. He also recieved important impulses through masterclasses with Kurt Equiluz and Walter Berry. He received his first engagement in 2002 as an ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein –Düsseldorf, where he among others, gave a successful debut as David. Guest performances have led the young Austrian tenor to the Wiener Volksoper, Geneva, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper, Monte Carlo, the Opéra National Paris, the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, and the Liceu in Barcelona. Since 2004, he receives regular invitations to the Bayreuther Festspielen. In 2013, he worked among others in a new production of the Ring des Nibelungen as Loge. He gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2008 as David. Since 2010, he is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper and has sung here, among others, Steuermann, Kudrjáš, Tamino, Elemér, Jack O’Brien, Triquet, Tanzmeister, Narraboth, Aegisth, Alfred, Jaquino, Andres and Loge.
CAROLINE WENBORNE was born in Sydney and studied vocal arts at the Conservatory in Sydney. She won numerous singing competitions and was a member of the opera studio Cologne in 2005/2006. Her repertoire comprises parts such as Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Desdemona (Otello), Alice Ford (Falstaff) and Rusalka. In 2006/2007 she was scholarship holder of the Opera Foundation Australia at the Wiener Staatsoper, where she debuted as Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore) in 2007. That same year she was awarded the Eberhard Wachter Medal. Since the season 2007/2008 Caroline Wenborne is a member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper. She sang (exerpt) Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Javotte (Manon), Mascha and Chloë (Pique Dame), Gerhilde (Walküre), Freia (Das Rheingold), Gutrune and Dritte Norn (Götterdämmerung), Freia (Das Rheingold), Isotta (Die schweigsame Frau) here. Further engagements for example led the singer to the Victoria Opera Australia, where she sang Donna Anna.
MARCUS PELZ was born in Stuttgart, studied solo vocals, lied and oratorio, classical operetta as well as the fach Old Music at the Conservatory of Vienna and graduated from the opera school of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. First engagements at the Landestheater St. Pölten, the Wiener Kammeroper (1995-1997) and the Neue Oper Wien were the basis for his engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper (member of the ensemble since 1999). Guest engagements for example led him to the Teatro Avenida in Buenos Aires in the leading role of Wozzeck, and to the Maggio Musicale in Florence with the Rosenkavalier. His repertoire in the House on the Ring includes more than eighty parts, e.g. Hermann, Gregorio, Schaunard, Notar and Polizeikommissar, Kothner and Konrad Nachtigall, Sprecher and 2. Priester, Antonio, Phorbas, Angelotti, Donald, Gualtiero Raleigh, Alessio, Masetto, Haly, Johann, 1. Schäfer, Albert, Altgesell and Saretzki. His appearances in children´s operas on the roof of the Wiener Staatsoper are very popular among the young audience.
Marian Talaba was born in Cupka/ Chernivtsy in 1977 and studied in Chernivtsy as well as at the Ukranian Academy of Music. In 2002 he won the first prize at the International M. Lysenko Music Competition. Already as a student he made his debut at the Kiew National Opera. Since 2001 he has sung roles such as Likov (Die Zarenbraut), Prinz (Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen), Tybalt (Romeo et Juliette), Beppe (Pagliacci), Pierre Bezukhov (Krieg und Frieden), Kalaf (Turandot), Duca (Rigoletto), Enzo Grimaldi (La gioconda) there. As a concert singer he regularly appears with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra. Guest appearances have led him to the USA, Switzerland and to Germany. Since 2004/2005 Marian Talaba is member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper, where he made his debut as Gaston in La traviata and has since then sung Pinkerton, Sinowi (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Narraboth (Salome), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Cassio (Otello), Ismaele (Nabucco), Tybalt, Grigori (Boris Godunow), Štewa (Jenufa), Flavio (Norma), Hermann (Pique Dame) and Tichon (Katja Kabanova).
Wolfram Igor Derntl was born in Mauthausen. He completed his vocal studies at the Goetheanistisches Konservatorium with honours. In 2004 he was engaged at the Wiener Staatsoper and has since then also been member of the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle. Before his fixed engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper, he was for example engaged at the Wiener Volksoper, the Wiener Kammeroper, the Stadttheater St. Pölten, in Klosterneuburg, Schwetzingen or at the Wiener Burgtheater. He was successful as Tamino (Zauberflöte), Basilio and Don Curzio (Figaro), Pedrillo (Entführung aus dem Serail), Barinkay (Zigeunerbaron), Symon (Bettelstudent), Adam (Vogelhändler) and Alfred (Fledermaus). Since his engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper he has performed numerous roles, apart from his administrative activities for the choir. In 2009/2010 he was engaged as a soloist at the Wiener Staatsoper.
The South Korean bass Il Hong was born in 1980 in Seoul and studied at the Yonsei University there under Prof. Kwan-Dong Kim. In spring 2007, he completed his vocal studies with a bachelor of Music. Since October, he was studying his masters with Prof. Markus Goritzki at the Hochschule for Music Freiburg. In 2011, at the 49th Concorso Liric voci Internazionale Verdiane-Competition, he won the second prize and has been a finalist of numerous singing competitions. In the 2009/2010 season, Il Hong was in the Opera studio of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich but then changed in the 2010/2011 season to the Landestheater Detmold. There, he sang among others, Sarastro, Banquo (Macbeth), Wassermann (Rusalka), Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro) and Fasolt (Das Rheingold). Since the 2011/2012 season, Il Hong belongs to the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper and has sung until now roles like Marquis von Obigny, Reinmar von Zweter (Tannhäuser), Oberpriester (Nabucco), Joe (Rise and Fall of Mahagonny), Don Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro), Graf Warting (Un ballo in maschera) and Capulet (Roméo et Juliette).
Benedikt Kobel comes from Vienna and studied at the Hochschule for Music and performing Arts there. Guest performances have led him to the Semperoper, to Leipzig, Cologne, Frankfurt, the Gärtnerplatztheater, the Zurich Opera, the Graz Oper, the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, the Arena di Verona and the Vienna Volksoper. In 1986, Benedikt Kobel gave his debut at the Vienna State Opera as 1st Gondoliere (La Gioconda). This was followed, among other, by Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Kunz Vogelgesang (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Raffaele (Stiffelio), Narraboth (Salome), Steuermann (Fliegender Holländer), Malcolm (Macbeth), Don Curzio (Le nozze di Figaro), Valzacchi (Der Rosenkavalier), Henry (Die schweigsame Frau), Don Gaspar (La Favorite), Oloferno (Lucrezia Borgia), Spoletta (Tosca), Andres (Wozzeck), Dr. Blind (Die Fledermaus), Abdallo (Nabucco), Monostatos und 1st Priest (Zauberflöte), Goro (Madama Butterfly), Rodrigo (Otello), Tschaplitzki (Pique Dame), Jaquino (Fidelio), Edmondo (Manon Lescaut), Missail (Boris Godunow), Cajus (Falstaff) and Schmidt (Werther).
Hans Peter Kammerer was born in South Tirol and studied among others, under Walter Berry at the Musikhochschule in Vienna. His first engagements led him to the Vienna Kammeroper and the Bregenz Festivals. Furthermore, he has sung at the Berlin State Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels , the Pfingstfestspielen in Salzburg, the Mozart Festival in Schönbrunn, the Opéra Bastille, the Staatstheater in Stuutgart, Geneva, the opera houses in Barcelona and Lyon as well as the Vienna Volksoper. He gave his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1995 as Dancaïro (Carmen). This was followed by roles among others like Ascanio (Gesualdo), Marullo (Rigoletto), Barbier (Schweigsame Frau), Achter Stammesfürst (Moses und Aron), Graf Dominik (Arabella), Spalanzani (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Hauptmann (Eugen Onegin), Haly (L’italiana in Algeri), Masetto (Don Giovanni), Haushofmeister (Ariadne auf Naxos), Papageno, Dr. Falke, Gubetta (Lucrezia Borgia), Kleiner Sträfling (Aus einem Totenhaus), Wagner (Faust) and Mitjuch (Boris Godunow). He has also appeared in children's operas as well as in Zimmermann's White Rose in Parliament.
The overture "Dawn on the Moscow River": an era of tumult, everyone in the state is fighting everyone else to gain power At the present time, Prince Ivan Khovansky and the troops he leads seem to be in control. ACT I Moscow, early morning after yet another pogrom. The soldiers (streltsy) are bragging about their bloody revenge on the hated princes. Prince Shaklovity dictates to the scribe a denunciation of his enemy, Prince Ivan Khovansky. The denunciation is addressed to the young Tsar Peter I, who does not yet have real power. Simple people from the region surrounding Moscow enter the scene. They are illiterate and ask the scribe to read the news to them. The people learn of the death of the prince and of other atrocities committed on Khovansky's orders. Triumphant soldiers pay homage to him. In full view of everyone, Khovansky's son Andrei chases the foreign girl Emma and tries to take her by force. Only the intervention of Marfa, Andrei's former lover, saves the girl. Ivan Khovansky orders his soldiers to seize Emma, whom he finds pleasing. A quarrel breaks out between father and son. The appearance of Dosifei, leader of a radical, nationalist and religious sect, puts an end to the quarrel. Father and son retreat before the force of will of their ideological rival. Unrest lies in the air. ACT II Prince Galitsin, another contender for power and in favour of moderate westernization, is plagued by doubts and anxiety about the future. He asks Marfa to predict the future for him. Marfa prophesies disgrace and exile for him. On hearing this, the superstitious prince flies into a rage. He orders that Marfa be drowned. The representatives of all the political powers meet at Galitsin's residence. A quarrel flares up between Khovansky, Galitsin and Dosifei – the ideological rivals cannot be reconciled. Marfa returns unexpectedly, having managed to escape her murderers. She brings shocking news: while the experienced politicians fight for power with each other, a new political force has emerged in the land – the young tsar Peter and his guard. Prince Shaklovity enters. He announces news that is terrible for Khovansky: through the denunciation the young tsar Peter has learned that the Khovanskys are "planning a coup d'état". Peter has classified Khovansky's actions as treason and given the crime the name of the perpetrator: "Khovanshchina" ("Khovansky intrigue"). The tsar has ordered that Khovansky be eliminated. ACT III Unrest is festering in the people. Marfa is finding it hard to bear Prince Andrei's unfaithfulness – when she seduced the son of Prince Khovansky on the instructions of the party, she fell seriously in love with him. Marfa's love sickness incites Susanna, who has been spying on her. Susanna is a no less fanatic disciple of Dosifei. Susanna cannot forgive Marfa for the emotions that she has aroused in her. Dosifei rebukes Susanna and comforts Marfa. Shaklovity prays – he believes he will be Russia's saviour and worthy of power. He sees Khovansky's drunken soldiers. Their wives are trying to calm them down, but their wild activities take their course. The scribe announces that Peter's guard has attacked. The soldiers expect Khovansky to lead them against the enemy, but their commander is deeply depressed. His power is declining, his life is in danger. ACT IV After refusing to march against Peter, Khovansky has taken refuge in his house, where he believes he is safe. He orders his "harem ladies" to entertain him by way of distraction. A confidant of Galitsin warns Khovansky of imminent danger. Prince Shaklovity appears and asks Khovansky to appear before the state council – he has been invited to attend. Khovansky trusts Shaklovity – and dies by the hand of an assassin sent by Shaklovity. Marfa's prophecy has been fulfilled: Galitsin has also been eliminated. Dosifei seems to have no more adversaries when Marfa tells him of Peter's decision to kill him and his disciples. With malicious glee, Marfa reports the death of his father to Andrei. Peter's soldiers lead Khovansky's soldiers to be executed. Andrei begs Marfa to save him. With the news of a pardon from the tsar, Peter's representative Prince Streshnev gives Khovansky's soldiers new hope. ACT V Dosifei, his adherents and all those who fear possible changes in the land prepare to commit self-immolation. The salvation that Marfa promised Andrei is the fire in which she is united with him. A mass ritual suicide takes place in which the past, present and future of the country are transformed to ashes.