Born in Kronach (Upper Frankonia), AXEL KOBER completed his conducting studies at the University of Music in Würzburg. First steps of his career were for example the Oper Leipzig (MD between 2007 and 2009 and assistant GMD) and the Nationaltheater Mannheim (principal Kapellmeister since 2003, since 2005/2006 temporary GMD). In Leipzig he also regularly conducted symphony concerts of the Gewandhaus orchestra. Guest performances during this time for example led him to the Staatstheater Nürnberg, the Wiener Volksoper, the Royal Opera Copenhagen, the Philharmonische Orchester Halle as well as to the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg. Since 2009 he has been principal conductor and GMD of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. With Tannhäuser, he guested at the Bayreuther Festspiele for the first time in 2013. In 2014 he was invited once again for Tannhäuser as well as for the Fliegende Holländer (as of 2015). Further guest conductings led him to the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Parsifal, Tannhäuser), the Hamburgische Staatsoper (La traviata, Ariadne auf Naxos, Carmen), the Theater Basel (Parsifal, Lohengrin). In 2014/2015, Axel Kober made his debut at the Opéra National du Rhin (Tristan und Isolde), in 2015/2016 he debuted at the Semperoper Dresden (Elektra) and at the Opernhaus Zürich (Fliegender Holländer).
KS WOLFGANG BANKL comes from Vienna, received training in Violin and studied singing, Lied and Oratorium as well as opera at the Conservatoire of Vienna. He received initial engagements at the Vienna Kammeroper, the Opera House Kiel and the Tiroler Landestheater. Guest performances led him, among others, to Zurich, Hamburg, Cologne, Barcelona, Salzburg, Strasbourg, the Milan Scala, to the Vienna Festwochen, Bregenz, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Rome and Paris. He recently gave his debut as Baron Ochs auf Lerchenau in Dresden under the direction of Christian Thielemann. Together with Norbert Pfafflmeyer, Harald Kollegger and Schmerzhel v. Solchgemut, he established the travelling Kleinfestival Giro d’Arte. Since 1993, he is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper and has since then sung here among others: Papageno, Alberich (Rheingold), Doktor (Wozzeck), Klingsor, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Harašta (Schlaues Füchslein), Frank, Graf Waldner, Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Hauptmann (Boris Godunow), Ochs, Geisterbote (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Tierbändiger/Athlet (Lulu), Ringender (Die Jakobsleiter), Zirkusdirektor (Der Riese vom Steinfeld), La Roche, Leporello, Dreieinigkeitsmoses (Mahagonny), Swallow (Peter Grimes). He has been awarded the title "Österreichischer Kammersänger".
Tomasz Konieczy was born in 1972 in Lodz/Poland. At the Film Academy there, he studied acting as well as singing in Warsaw and Dresden. In 1997, he gave his debut in Poznan as Figaro (Nozze di Figaro), two years later in Leipzig, and in 2000/2001 he changed to the Lubecker Theatre. During this time he was committed to St. Gallen, Halle, Chemnitz and Mannheim. From 2002/2003, he became an ensemble member in Mannheim. In 2005, he gave his debut at the Deutschen Oper in Rhein. Further engagements include performances in the Scala, at the Paris Opera, the Semperoper, the Teatro Real, Warsaw, the Bayerischen Staatsoper, Tokyo, Berlin and the Salzburger Festspiele. His roles include among others: Kezal, Orest, Procida, Ramfis, Wotan Wanderer, Pizarro, Großinquisitor, Jochanaan, Osmin, Golaud, Sarastro, Mandryka, Amfortas, Alberich, Pimen, Marke, Colline, Melitone and Wozzeck. In 2008, he gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper as Alberich and also sang here since then Fra Melitone, Alberich (kompletter Ring), Amfortas, Goldhändler, Jochanaan, Wotan, Wanderer, Mandryka, Jack Rance, Don Pizarro and Dreieinigkeitsmoses.
Soprano Chen Reiss was trained in New York and was ensemble member of the Bayerische Staatsoper, where she sang roles such as Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) and Gilda (Rigolett). Soon debuts at the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Oper Frankfurt and the Philadelphia Opera followed.
In 2010 she interpreted Nannetta (Falstaff) at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees under the direction of Daniele Gatti. At the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, under the direction of Zubin Mehta, she sang Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and debuted in the Philharmonie Köln as Adele (Die Fledermaus). In 2011 she sang Gilda at the Wiener Festwochen. She sang concerts at the Festivals in Salzburg, Ludwigsburg, Luzern or Rheingau. In her new solo album Liaisons, which was recently awarded the Diapason d’Or, Chen Reiss for example sings arias of Mozart and Haydn. A DVD live recording of Faure´s Requiem under the direction of Paavo Järvi has just been released. She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2009 as Sophie and has since sung roles such as Pamina, Elvira, Waldvogel, Adina, Servilia, Xenia here.
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.
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.
RAFAEL FINGERLOS was born in Tamsweg (Salzburg) and completed his solo vocal training in 2013 at the Konservatorium Wien with honours. The baritone is a prizewinner of national and international competitions. In summer 2010, he sang at the Teatro Barocco festival in Altenburg the leading role in Michael Haydn’s Der Bassgeiger zu Wörgl. In 2015, he took part in the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival, and in summer 2016 he will work at the Salzburg Festival in the premiere of Thomas Adès’ The exterminating angel. In february 2016, he gave his debut as Papageno at the Dresden Semperoper, in autumn 2016 he will tour as Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos) with the Nationale Reisopera through the netherlands. In 2017 he will give his debut at the Bregenz Festival as Moralès (Carmen), and in 2018 in Zimmerman's Soldaten at the Teatro real in Madrid. Lied and concerts play a central role in his artistic ability. From the 2016/2017 season, he is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper.
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).
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.
Arabella, Count Waldner´s beautiful daughter, is desired by many men: three countes are vying for her hand, and the young officer Matteo is also in love with her. Matteo´s hopes are nourished by Zdenka, who is very taken by him. Although she is Arabella´s sister, she is dressed as a boy, since the Waldner family is to impoverished to give both their daughters an appropriate social debut in Vienna. Arabella, however, wants to wait fort he right husband, and points out a stranger to Zdenka from the window. She has encountered him previously in the street, and he made a deep impresison on her. The stranger´s name is Mandryka, who has come to Vienna in response to Waldner´s letter to his deceased uncle oft he same name. Under pressure from his creditors, Waldner has written to his wealthy friend and former regimental comrade in Slavonia, enclosing a picture of his daughter Arabella. The young Mandryka, sole heir to his father´s fortune, flls in love with the picture at first sight, and now asks Waldner for Arabella´s hand in marriage. Since he ist he right ma for her,m she gives him her word. However, she wishes to take leave of her unmarried life with a last dance at the Fiacre Ball. Zdenka slips the despairing Matteo an envelope which, she says, contains the key to Arabella´s room, where the latter will await him this very evening. Mandryka happens to overhear this conversations, and assumes that Arabella is being un-faithful to him. In the mean time, Arabella has returned from theball and meets Matteo in the foyer oft he hotel. Matteo, believing he has just held her in his arms in her room, cannot understand why she is now so unresposive. Mandryka now appears, accompanied by Arabella´s parents, and is convinced he has caught her red-handed. Suddenly Zdenka rushes in, now dressed in women´s clothing. It was she who received Matteo in the darkness oft he hotel room: now she intends to drown herself in the River Danube. Ashamed of his behaviour, Mandryka now pleads with Zdenka on Matteo´s behalf. And his own happiness is also now certain: in keeping with the custom of her homeland, Arabella gives him a glass of pure, fresh water as a sign of her forgiveness.