Cornelius Meister was born in 1980 in Hannover. He studied piano and conducting in Hannover under Konrad Meister, Martin Brauß and Eiji Oue as well as at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Dennis Russel Davies, Jorge Rotter and Karl Kamper. Since September 2010, he is the Chief Conductor and artistic director of the ORF Radio-Symphony Orchestra in Vienna. He regularly performs at the Vienna Musikverein and the Konzerthaus. Extensive concert tours took him to Japan and Europe, among others to the Salzburger Festivals. In summer 2012, Cornelius Meister completed his 7-year engagement as General Music Director of the Theater and Philharmonic Orchestra in Heidelberg. Already at the age of 21, he gave his debut at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the New National Opera Tokyo, the San Francisco Opera, the Deutschen Oper Berlin, the Theater an der Wien, the Königlichen Oper Kopenhagen and the Semperoper in Dresden. Current opera projects include performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, at the Semperoper in Dresden, in Berlin and at the Lettischen Nationaloper Riga. He gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper with the Magic Flute.
Luca Pisaroni grew up in Busseto and studied at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan, in Buenos Aires and in New York. Pisaroni made his opera debut in 2001 as Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) in Klagenfurt. The same year he was awarded the Eberhard Waechter Medal. Numerous engagements have for example led him to the Salzburger Festspiele, where he sang Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Douglas D’Angus (La donna del lago) and Hercules (Alceste), to the New York Metropolitan Opera as Figaro and Leporello, to Baden-Baden (Leporello), to the Theatre des Champs-Élysees as Figaro and Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), to Houston as Conte d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), to the Paris Opera Bastille as Figaro, Leporello (Don Giovanni) and Melisso (Alcina), to Glyndebourne as Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) and Leporello, to Madrid (as Figaro), to Aix-en-Provence as Publio (La clemenza di Tito) and to Brussels as Achilla (Giulio Cesare), to the Nederlandse Opera (Ercole in Ercole Amante) and to Santiago de Chile (Alidoro in La cenerentola). Recently he sang the title role in Rossini´s Maometto at Santa Fe Opera and Conte d'Almaviva in Paris. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2011 singing the title role in Mozart´s Le nozze di Figaro and sang also Enrico VIII. (Anna Bolena, Japan guest appearance).
Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen is winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 2010. Recent engagements include her debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at Houston Grand Opera, and Gutrune (Götterdämmerung) at the Royal Opera House. This season she sings Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) at the San Francisco Opera, Elsa (Lohengrin) with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Donna Anna at the Wiener Staatsoper and the Countess for both the Wiener Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Valentina Naforniţă was born in Glodeni (Moldova) and studied at the Stefan Neaga Music College in Chisinau and at the University of Music in Bucharest. As a member of the opera studio of this institution she for example performed as Norina in Gaetano Donizetti´s Don Pasquale and as Adina in Donizetti´s L’elisir d’amore, furthermore as Lauretta in Giacomo Puccini´s Gianni Schicchi. She has won several international competitions, among them the Young Opera Singers of Europe competition, the Rumanian Orange Prize for Young Musicians and the Hariclea Darclee competition. In 2011 the young singer won the renowned BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition – she not only won first prize, but also the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Award and was a finalist for the lied prize. Since 2011 she is member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper and performed for example as Lisa (La sonnambula), Papagena, Ein junger Hirt (Tannhäuser), Clorinda (La cenerentola), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Marzelline (Fidelio), Stimme vom Himmel (Don Carlo), Musetta (La Bohème) here.
ALESSIO ARDUINI was born in Desenzano del Garda in Italy. At the age of fifteen, he discovered his passion for singing and studied with Vincenzo Rose for several years. In 2010 he received a grant from the Lina Aimaro Bertasi Foundation and made his debut in the leading role of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´s Don Giovanni in a production of the Como Teatro Sociale. In a further production of this institution he performed as Conte d’Almaviva in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´s Le nozze di Figaro. Alessio Arduini appeared as Don Giovanni at the Teatro Communale in Bologna; at the Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona, he sang Riccardo in Vincenzo Bellini´s I puritani. Current and future engagements include the role of Guglielmo in Mozart´s Cosi fan tutte (Teatro Regio in Turin and Teatro La Fenice in Venice),Don Giovanni at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari and Schaunard in Giacomo Puccini´s La Bohème at the Salzburg Festival and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. He is a company member of the Vienna State Opera.
Mezzo soprano MARIANNE CREBASSA studied vocal arts, piano and musicology in Montpellier. In 2008, aged 21, she made her stage debut at the Opéra de Montpellier in Schumann´s Manfred. After her great success as Isabella in Wuthering Heights in 2010, the singer became a member of the Atelier Lyrique of the Paris Opéra. In the year 2012 Marianne Crebassa made her debut at the Salzburger Festspiele as Irene in Tamerlano and also sang Lucio Silla in Salzburg. In the season 2013/2014 she sang Dorabella (Così fan tutte) in Montpellier and Siébel (Faust) in Amsterdam; in the season 2014 / 2015 she made her debut at La Scala in Milan and sang in Davide penitente at the Salzburg Mozart week. Further performances led her to the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, to the Festival de Saint Denis und the Bremen Festival. Current concertante performances of Marianne Crebassa for example include Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette under Daniele Gatti, Ravel´s Shéhérazade, a gala concert with Les Musiciens du Louvre and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges under Esa-Pekka Salonen.
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.
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.
Mezzo-soprano Ulrike Helzel was born in Magdeburg and completed her vocal arts studies at the University of Music in Leipzig. She was member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin for many years, where she sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Fuchs in Das schlaue Füchslein, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Siébel in Gounod´s Faust, Orpheus in Orpheus und Euridice and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier.
Since autumn 2012 she is member of the ensemble at the Wiener Staatsoper. Since 2006 she appears as a guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele, first as Wellgunde in the Ring and since 2008 as Blumenmädchen and Knappe in Parsifal. Ulrike Helzel has appeared as a guest for example at the Theater Basel, the Komische Oper, the Semperoper (title role Carmen), the Nationaltheater Weimar, the Opernhaus Halle, the Opéra de Lyon, the Opéra La Monnaie Brüssel, the Bayerische Staatsoper München, the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, at the Festival de Canarias, at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele.
She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2011 and sang Wellgunde (Rheingold, Götterdämmerung), Zweite Norn (Götterdämmerung), Siegrune (Walküre) here.
The soprano ANNIKA GERHARDS completed her vocal studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main and completed her studies in masterclasses among others under KS Brigitte Fassbaender, Klesie Kelly-Moog, Helen Donath and Eva Marton. She is a prizewinner of several different competitions, like for example the Bruno Fry-Musikpreises and the Bundeswettbewerbs Gesang. Furthermore, she was awarded the Händel-prize from the city of Karlsruhe several times, and in 2013 won the first prize in the competiton . “Das Lied”. Until now, Annika Gerhards has sung roles such as Zaide, Valencienne and Frasquita, and was a guest at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, at the Händel-Festspielen Karlsruhe and at the Rheingau Musik Festival. In December 2014, she will sing under Jonathan Nott in Mahler‘s 8th Symphony in Japan. Since the 2013/2014 season, Annika Gerhards is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper where she gave her debut as Giannetta in Gaetano Donizettis L‘elisir d’amore.
SORIN COLIBAN was born in Bucharest and studied there at the Academy of Music. He sang at the ROH Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, in Athens, San Francisco, Santiago de Chile, Tel Aviv, at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, the Bayerische Staatsoper, at the Vienna Festival, the Bregenz Festival and the Wiener Volksoper, to only name a few. His repertoire includes parts such as Philipp II. (Don Carlo), Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Procida (Vêpres siciliennes), Ramfis (Aida), Ferrando (Il trovatore), Banquo (Macbeth), Don Giovanni, Leporello and Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Lord Sidney (Il viaggio a Reims), Holländer (Der fliegende Holländer). He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2004 as Monterone (Rigoletto) and also sang the Grand Inquisiteur (Don Carlos), Landgraf (Tannhäuser), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Capulet (Romeo et Juliette), Fra Melitone (La forza del destino), Fasolt (Das Rheingold), Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro), Colline (La Bohème).
KS Peter Jelosits was born in Vienna. He was a member of the Wiener Sängerknaben and studied vocal arts at the University of Music and at the Conservatory in Vienna. Between 1983 and 1985 he was member of the Opernstudio of the Wiener Staatsoper. In 1984 he debuted as 1. Priester (Die Zauberflöte). Since 1985 he has been member of the ensemble at the house on the Ring. He has performed at festivals such as the Carinthische Sommer, the Wiener Festwochen, at the Schubertiade Hohenems and the Salzburger Festspielen. At the Wiener Staatsoper he has for example appeared as Jaquino (Fidelio), Normanno (Lucia di Lammermoor), Rodrigo (Otello), Wirt (Rosenkavalier), Gaston (La traviata), Yamadori (Madama Butterfly), Arbace (Idomeneo), Missail (Boris Godunow), Scaramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos), Hirt (Tristan und Isolde), Dr. Blind (Die Fledermaus), Heinrich (Tannhäuser), Narr (Wozzeck), Monsieur Taupe (Capriccio), Titelrolle Traumfresserchen, Sir Hervey (Anna Bolena), Rustighello (Lucrezia Borgia), Tschekalinski (Pique Dame), Don Curzio (Le nozze di Figaro).
Roles for the Wiener Staatsoper 2014/2015: Yamadori, 2. Jude, 4. Knappe, Harry (Fanciulla del west), Dr. Blind.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro - one of the most popular and most frequently performed works at the Vienna State Opera - tells of a "great day": An exceptional work in terms of music, based on the congenial libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.
Figaro and Susanna, the countess’s maid, want to get married. Susanna explains to her unsuspecting fiancé why their new bedroom is situated directly between the count’s room and that of the countess: so that the count will have easier access to her, for Almaviva is looking for a little extramarital adventure. As a progressive lord of the manor, he abolished the old right of the first night, but would like to reinstate it in Susanna’s case.
Figaro has another problem: some time ago, he borrowed money from Marcellina and promised her in writing that he would marry her if he was unable to repay the debt. Aided by Doctor Bartolo, Marcellina now wants to compel him live up to his agreement.
The count has surprised the page Cherubino alone with Barbarina, the palace gardener’s daughter, to whom the count himself pays occasional visits. Cherubino, whom the count dismissed from his service on the spot, relates his woes to Susanna. He wants the countess, whom he admires ardently, to intercede with the count on his behalf. Count Almaviva enters unexpectedly, Cherubino hides quickly, and the Count to starts fervently in protest his affections. They are interrupted by Basilio. The count himself is forced to hide. Basilio tries to interest Susanna in a liaison with the count. He also mentions the rumours about Cherubino’s passionate love for the countess. Incensed, Almaviva bursts from his hiding place and relates, with wild gesticulations, how he surprised Cherubino recently with the gardener’s daughter. To his astonishment, he discovers Cherubino here too, but must stifle his wrath since the page must have overheard everything from his hiding place.
Figaro arrives with all the servants to persuade the count finally in give his consent to the wedding. Almaviva promises to give it – later. Cherubino is pardoned only the extent that he is to leave at once and joint the count’s regiment as an officer.
Countess Rosina feels neglected by her husband and turns to Susanna and Figaro for help. Figaro has come up with two plans: he intends to provoke the count’s jealousy with an anonymous letter, thereby making him forget about Susanna. In addition, Cherubino, disguised as Susanna, is to make an assignation with the count in the palace garden, where Figaro will surprise him in a compromising situation and expose him.
Cherubino is trying on girl’s clothes in the countess’s room. The count appears unexpectedly; the countess and Susanna hide the page in the dressing-room. The suspicious count demands the key to the locked room, and the two of them finally go off to fetch tools to break open the door. Meanwhile, Susanna lets Cherubino out of the dressing-room, who in his fright leaps out of the window. On their return the countess confesses to her husband that Cherubino is in the dressing-room. To the amazement of both count and countess, Susanna steps out of the dressing-room, and the count must apologize to his wife.
To exonerate themselves, the countess and Susanne admit to the count that the anonymous letter was written by Figaro and was a trick. Figaro unwillingly confirms this to be the case. Now the irate gardener enters and tells his master that someone jumped out of the countess’s bedroom window and broke a flower pot – and lost an officer’s commission. All that was missing was the count’s seal.
Marcellina and Doctor Bartolo appear and demand that Figaro comply with his contract. The count once again puts off giving his consent to the wedding.
Susanna wants no find the money Figaro owes and accordingly agrees to a clandestine meeting with the count. However, he chances to notice that Susanna intends to deceive him and so confirms the judge’s decision: Figaro must pay – or marry Marcellina. In the ensuring argument, it turns out that Figaro, who did not know his parents, is the son of Doctor Bartolo and Marcellina, the product of an earlier affair between the two. The happy reunion of parents and son is initially misunderstood by Susanna, who has in the meantime been given the necessary money by the countess. However, the matter is soon cleared up.
Countess Rosina and Susanna have come up with their own plan: without Figaro’s knowledge, they write a letter to the count, asking him to meet Susanna that night in the palace park; however, in reality the countess, disguised as Susanna, will be waiting for him.
Cherubino did not go to join his regiment, but sought refuge with Barbarina. When he takes part in the festivities dressed as a girl, Barbarina’s father exposes him. The count see a final opportunity to delay the wedding, but Barbarina threatens to reveal the nature of the count’s relationship with her.
Now the wedding can finally take place. But the folly has not yet ended: as they dance, Susanna gives the count the fake love letter.
The letter to the count was sealed with a pin that he was to give to Susanna as a sign of his agreement. Barbarina has lost the pin and now searches for it desperately. Figaro finds out about the planned rendezvous; since he was not party to this plan, he is outraged at his fiancée Susanna’s unfaithfulness.
Confusion reigns that night in the palace park. The count waits for Susanna, who has switched clothes with the countess. Figaro, his parents and Basilio intend to catch the count in flagrante delicto and expose him. To this end they have alerted the entire staff of servants. In the midst of all this, Cherubino seeks his Barbarina. One case of mistaken identity follows another. Finally Figaro realizes what is happening. He makes love to the apparent countess (in reality Susanna in disguise) so that the count cannot but overhear the conversation. The count surprises the two of them, summons everyone and publicly accuses the “countess” of being unfaithful. The others gradually come out of hiding. Finally the real countess appears, still in Susanna’s dress, and reveals her identity. Count Almaviva begs his wife’s forgiveness. The countess has achieved the purpose of her intrigue, forgives her husband, and all those present celebrate the happy ending to this “day of folly”.