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.
KS CARLOS ÁLVAREZ was born in Málaga and studied at the conservatoire in his hometown. He made his debut as a singer in 1990. Since then, his international career has brought him to La Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris, Amsterdam, San Francisco, the Hamburg State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Arena di Verona, the Zurich Opera House, the Opera House Bonn, Brussels, Valencia, the Salzburg Festival and the New Yorker Met. He made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1995 as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia).
Further roles at the Vienna State Opera include Germont (La traviata), Riccardo (I puritani), Posa (Don Carlo), Sulpice (La Fille du régiment), Carlo Gérard (Andrea Chénier), Don Carlo (Ernani), Don Carlos (La forza del destino), Stankar (Stiffelio), duke of Nottingham (Roberto Devereux), Alphonse XI. (La Favorite), Escamillo (Carmen), Ford (Falstaff) as well as leading roles in Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro. In 2007 Carlos Álvarez was awarded the honorary title for singers in Austria “Kammersänger”.
Simon Keenlyside was born in London and studied Zoologie in Cambridge as well as singing in Manchester. He received regular invitations to Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid, the Bayerische State Opera, Tokyo, the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburger Festivals, the Scala, Ferrara, the London Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Paris Opera. His repertoire includes such roles as Conte d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Don Giovanni, Billy Budd, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Jeletzki (Pique Dame), Marcello (La Bohème), Hamlet, Macbeth, Eugen Onegin, Posa (Don Carlo), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande), Wozzeck and Prospero in Thomas Adès‘ The Tempest. Simon Keenlyside is also a much sought after concert singer. he gave his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1999 as Marcello (La Bohème) and has since sung roles – of which several were premieres – like Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Posa (Don Carlo), Conte d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Giorgio Germont, the leading role in Wozzeck, Billy Budd, Eugen Onegin, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto as well as Papageno.
JINXU XIAHOU was born in Zibo in the Eastern Chinese province Shandong in December 1990. He began studying with Prof. Wang Xianlin in 2008 at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing (China) and completed his studies as bachelor. He made his Europe debut in 2010, when he sang at the annual Classic Night in Zurich. In the year 2011 he was finalist of the renowned international singing competition Neue Stimmen of the Bertelsmann Foundation in Gütersloh and won the third prize. He appeared as Ferrando in a concert performance of Cosí fan tutte with Macao Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2017 he gave his recital debut at the Wiener Musikverein. In 2012 he debuted at the Wiener Staatsoper where he has sung among others Nemorino, Don Ramiro, Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Gaston (La traviata), Sänger (Der Rosenkavalier), Stimme des Seemanns (Tristan und Isolde), Cassio (Otello), Abdallo (Nabucco), Fetodik (Drei Schwestern), Macduff (Macbeth). He is a member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper.
OLGA BEZSMERTNA completed her studies at the Kiev Academy of Music in Ukraine in 2010. She was among the finalists of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna in 2010 and 2011. During her debut singing competition in Germany in 2008, she was awarded the first prize as well as the Public prize and the Puccini Prize. In 2007 she had an engagement at the Oper Oder-Spree Festival. In 2006, she received an award at the International Rimsky-Korsakow Singing Competition in St. Petersburg. Furthermore, the soprano received the first prize at the international singing competition of the Bertelsmann Trust. In 2011, she took part in the Young Singers Projects at the Salzburger Festspiele. Her repertoire includes, among others, Contessa d’Almaviva, Pamina, Donna Elvira, Fiordiligi, Micaëla, Marguerite, Nedda, Marfa (Die Zarenbraut) and Tatjana. She is an emsemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper, where she gave her debut in 2012 and sang among others: Dame (Cardillac), Pamina, 3. Norn, Contessa d’Almaviva and Rosalinde. Current performances include her debut at the Deutschen Oper Berlin and at the Salzburger Festpiele.
HILA FAHIMA graduated from the Jerusalem Rubin Academy for Music, where she learned under Agnes Massini. During her studies, she appeared in several productions, among them as Adele in der Fledermaus, als Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, als Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro und als Frasquita in Carmen. In 2010, she gave her debut at the New Israeli Opera in the leading role of the opera Alice in Wonderland by David Sebba. In 2010, she won the first prize in the European singing competition, Debut and in 2013 the first prize in the Stella-Maris competition. In 2010, she joined the ensemble of the Deutschen Oper Berlin, where she sang among others Königin der Nacht in der Zauberflöte, Nannetta in Falstaff, Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos, Ninetta in Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen, Demele inDie Liebe der Danae and Ruggiero in Tancredi. Since the 2013/2014 season, she is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper, where she made her debut as Frasquita and also sang among others Papagena and Oscar. Finally, she sang Amore in Orfeo et Euridice as well as Oscar in Un ballo in maschera at the New Israeli Opera as well as the Queen of the Night at the Oper Graz. She is also successful as a concert singer.
The mezzo-soprano Monika Bohinec studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. As a student, she was a finalist and award winner of different competitions and a scholarship holder of the Richard Wagner Foundation and the Hilde Zadek Foundation.
In 2006, she made her debut as Clarissa in Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen at the Slovenian State Opera, where she appeared as Jezibaba in Rusalka, Konchakowna (Fürst Igor), Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and in the title role of Carmen.
In 2009 Monika Bohinec became ensemble member of the Mannheim National Theatre, where she sang Carmen, Sara di Nottingham (Roberto Devereux), Laura and Cieca (La Gioconda), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Giulietta (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera).
In the season 2011/2012 Monika Bohinec became ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera where she sang e.g. Larina, Grimgerde, Marthe, Farzana, Schenkenwirtin, Lola, Mary, Marcellina, Fenena, Ulrica, Suzuki, Margret, Madelon and Erste Norn.
The Australian Mezzosoprano MARGARET PLUMMER completed her singing studies at the Sydney Conservatoire of Music. Furthermore, she is trained as a Jazz singer. She is a multiple prize-winner at opera competitions and visited the School of Music and Theater in Hannover in 2005. For a while, she was a member of the choir of the Opera Australia, before wtarting her career as a soloist. In this way, performances followed among others, at the Opera Australia and the Pinchgut Opera. In the 2015/2016 season, she will be the youngest scholar of the Opera Foundation Australia. Margaret Plummer has sang among others, Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Pacific Opera and Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel at the Ozopera School‘s Company. At the Opera Australia, Margaret Plummer sang in Dido und Aeneas, in the Rosenkavalier and in Le Nozze di Figaro. She sang Knusperhexe in Hänsel und Gretel with the Sydney Symphony, Charlotte in Werther at the Lyric Opera of Melbourne, Phoebe in Rameaus Castor and Pollux at the Pinchgut Opera. At the Wiener Staatsoper she gave her debut as Tebaldo in Don Carlo.
KS Herwig Pecoraro was born in Bludenz and studied in Feldkirch, Mantua and Modena and took part in master classes with KS Schwarzkopf. Guest appearances have led him to the Bregenzer and Salzburger Festspiele, the opera houses in Bern, St. Gallen, Hamburg, Munich, Paris, Nice, Toulouse, Milan, New York and San Francisco. He was engaged at the Opernhaus Graz and at the Volksoper Wien, since 1991 he is member of the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper, where he made his debut as Steuermann (Der fliegende Holländer) and has since then sung (selection) Jaquino (Fidelio), Monostatos and 1. Geharnischter (Die Zauberflöte), Alfred (Die Fledermaus), Pedrillo (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Mime (Das Rheingold, Siegfried), Hirt (Tristan und Isolde), Beppe (Pagliacci), Andres/Cochenille/Frantz/Pitichinaccio (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Bob Boles (Peter Grimes), David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Incroyable (Andrea Chenier), Bardolfo (Falstaff), Goro (Madama Butterfly), Guillot (Manon) as well as Klammerschneider (Riese vom Steinfeld) and Fatty here.
Roles at the Wiener Staatsoper 2013/2014: e.g. Bob Boles (Peter Grimes), Herodes (Salome), Hauptmann (Wozzeck), Mime (Das Rheingold).
Ryan Speedo Green comes from Suffolk (Virginia) in the USA, and studied at the Florida State University and the Hartt School of Music. He has won several prizes from singing competitions and recently completed the coveted Lindemann Young Artists Development Program of the New York Metropolitan Opera. In the 2013/2014 season, he sang the roles of Onkel Bonzo in Madama Butterfly and the Schließer in Tosca at the New York Met. In the years leading to that in the Met, he also sang in Mandarin in Turandot as well as in Parsifal. Further works in his repertoire include Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Don Profondo (Il viaggio a Reims), Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Colline (La Bohème), and Don Magnifico (La cenerentola). On the concert stage, Ryan Speedo Green has sung in Händels Messias, in Mozarts Requiem, in Beethovens 9. Symphonie, in Verdis Requiem, and in Mozarts Coronationmass. In the 2014/2015 season, he will be Rambo in Death of Klinghoffer in the New York Met. From September 2014, he will be an ensemblemember of the Wiener Staatsoper and sang here, among others, Fouquier Tinville (Andrea Chénier), Mönch (Don Carlo), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Pope (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Titurel, Angelotti (Tosca), König (Aida).
MICHAEL LAURENZ comes from Halle an der Saale in Germany and started his career in music as a trumpeter, playing e.g. with Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and later on as first trumpet with Berliner Symphoniker. In 2006 he turned his focus towards singing. After some time as a member of Opernstudio Zurich, he became an ensemble member in the same city in 2010. The same year, he made his debut at Bregenz Festival, where he returned in 2014. Since 2010 he has been performing regularly at Opéra national de Paris, and in 2012 he debuted at Salzburg Festival. He has also sung at Bayerische Staatsoper, Musikfest Stuttgart, Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Vlaamse Opera. In 2015 he performed in Amsterdam, Milan and at Theater an der Wien, among others. His concert repertoire reaches from Bach all the way to the 20th century. He is scheduled to sing at Brecht festival Augsburg/Kurt Weill-Fest Dessau, in Glyndebourne, Lyon, Zurich, Antwerp and at Teatro alla Scala. He joined the Vienna State Opera ensemble at the beginning of the 2018 season.
The corpulent Sir John Falstaff has no money left to pay his bills at the Garter Inn where he resides. Convinced that he absolutely irresistible to the female sex, he resolves to make a virtue of necessity. He writes two identical love letters to Alice Ford and Meg Page, two prosperous citizens of Windsor, asking them to keep a tryst with him. The ladies are merely amused by the advances of the fat drunkard, and together they hatch a plan to make a fool of Falstaff. They send Mrs. Quickly as a go-between to invite Falstaff to come to Alice Ford´s house between two and three o´clock, when her jealous husband will not be at home. Falstaff immediately accepts the invitation. Soon afterwards, Ford pays him a visit, pretending to be Signor Fontana, who has fallen in love with Alice but been rejected by her. He has heard about Falstaff´s reputation as a lover, and offers to pay him to prepare the ground for his own amorous advances. Falstaff boats to him that he will embrace Alice in his arms that very day. Believing that Alice is deceiving him, Ford rushes home between two and three o´clock, when Falstaff has already arrived at the house for his rendezvous with Alice. Just in time, the women manage to hide Falstaff in a laundry basket, which is emptied into the River Thames amidst peals of laughter. Falstaff is nevertheless persuaded to keep to yet another tryst. He is instructed to come to Windsor Park that night in the guise of the black Hunstman, wearing antlers on his head. Once in the park, he is attacked by people of the town dresses as elves and goblins, who torment him terribly. But Ford´s Plan also backfires: he intends to marry his daughter Nannetta, wo loves the poor Fenton, to Dr. Caius. In the general confusion, however, the couple find one another again. Who is now the cuckold, Falstaff muses complacently. However, everyone agrees: the whole world is a jest.