Zazzo, Lawrence

The American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is one of the most outstanding singers of his generation. A native of Philadelphia, and a graduate in both Music and English from Yale and King’s College Cambridge, Lawrence made his operatic debut as Oberon A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM to great acclaim while completing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music, London.
Lawrence has appeared in many of the world’s finest opera houses and concert halls and is also closely associated with 20th century and contemporary music, having worked with Thomas Ades, Peter Eotvös and Jonathan Dove.
Lawrence works with many distinguished conductors in the fields of Baroque and contemporary music, including Renè Jacobs, James Conlon, Ivor Bolton, Peter Eotvos, William Christie, Harry Bickett, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Joshua Rifkin, Trevor Pinnock , John Nelson, Jordi Savall, Harry Christophers, and Paul Goodwin.  His international concert career highlights include: MESSIAH in Notre Dame Cathedral with L’ensemble orchestrale de Paris and in a European tour with Renè Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester, Bach Lutheran Masses under Joshua Rifkin in Leipzig, St. Matthew Passion in Ambronay and Kothen with the Akademie fuer Alte Musik , the title role in Mozart’s ASCANIO IN ALBA with the Berliner Symphoniker, Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus and Gloria with the Israel Camerata, Bach B Minor Mass with the Salzburg Mozarteum, and SAUL in Berlin and Lisbon with Renè Jacobs and Concerto Köln. His Canadian debut was as Didymus in THEODORA in Ottawa under Trevor Pinnock and he sang the title roles of Handel’s LOTARIO and RICCARDO PRIMO with the Kammerorchester Basel in a European tour with Paul Goodwin. He most recently worked with Christopher Hogwood singing the title role of Handel’s AMADIGI in London and Birmingham, and made his debut at the Salle Pleyel with Jordi Savall in a concert version of Vivaldi’s FARNACE. An accomplished recitalist, he has given many around Europe, most recently at the Festival de Beaune and the Vienna Konzerthaus.

Clapton, Nicholas

Nicholas Clapton made his professional debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1984, singing Purcell’s famous Music for a While in the “right” key, a very low experience not easily forgotten. In the following year he went on to win two prizes at the Concurso Francisco Viñas, discovering while there that “there are no harpsichords in Barcelona”, a situation which has thankfully improved since. Thus marked out as something of a pioneer, he was one of the first modern counter-tenors to go beyond “accepted” repertoire. With a sound light-years from Anglican norms, he branched out into Romantic song (in partnership with renowned pianist Jennifer Partridge), the heroic castrato repertoire of the baroque period (turning himself into Farinelli on numerous occasions in the process), and twenty-first century opera (most recently on the South Bank as a lace-bedecked Sir Isaac Newton in Will Gregory’s Piccard in Space, and in Cologne in Gloria Coates' Stolen identity).

Watts, Andrew


Andrew Watts was born in Middlesex and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He has established a reputation for being one of the foremost operatic countertenors of his generation and has appeared on opera and concert platforms throughout the world.

His operatic engagements include appearances with the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Welsh National Opera, the Aldeburgh and Almeida Festivals and BBC Proms. Foreign engagements include La Scala Milan, Staatsoper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Theater an der Wien, Teatro La Fenice, Opéra National du Rhin, Teatro Real Madrid, Paris Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, De Vlaamse Opera, Graz Opera, Stadttheater Klagenfurt, RIAS Kammerchor Berlin, Bielefeld, Los Angeles, Australia, Canada and Mexico and the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Vienna, Dresden, Bregenz, Batignano and Montepulciano Festivals. His repertoire includes Arsamenes (Xerxes), title role Orlando, Ottone (Agrippina), Nero and Nutrice (L’incoronazione Di Poppea), Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Orestes (La Belle Hélène), Baba the Turk (The Rake’s Progress), Edgar (Lear), Prince Go-Go (Le Grand Macabre) and many world premieres including Cherubino in Elena Langer’s Figaro Gets a Divorce, James in Birtwistle’s The Last Supper and Snake Priestess (The Minotaur), Olga Neuwirth’s Bahlamms Fest, Lost Highway and The Outcast, Liza Lim’s The Navigator, Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune and White Rabbit and March Hare in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland.

Andrew Watts’ concert engagements have included appearances with BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Los Angeles and Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestras, Niew Ensemble, Klangforum, at the Salzburg, Lucerne, Lausanne, Cernier and Edinburgh Festivals, Vienna, New York, Budapest, Seville, Paris, Cologne, Brussels, France, Australia and Italy.

Andrew Watts is Professor of Singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and vocal coach on the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and is visiting voice teacher to the Opera Studio at the Hamburgische Staatsoper. He gives regular masterclasses at the Dartington International Summer School and has appeared in masterclass in Australia, Germany and France.


Chance, Michael


The British countertenor Michael Chance studied English at King's College, Cambridge where he was also a choral scholar. He is in equal demand as an opera, concert, recital and recording artist. Concerts and recitals have taken him to the Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna and the Berlin Philharmonie, as well as tours in Japan, Europe and United States. His operatic roles include Orfeo (Gluck), Oberon, Giasone, Giustino, Ottone, Athamas, Andronico, and Apollo (Britten's Death in Venice). He has had roles written specially for him by Sir Harrison Birtwistle (The Second Mrs Kong) and Judith Weir (A night at the Chinese Opera). Operatic engagements have taken him to Sydney, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Glyndebourne, La Scala Milan and Covent Garden. His repertoire ranges from the baroque to contemporary, including many world premieres (Bennett, Goehr, Tavener, Costello) and he has recorded extensively, receiving a Grammy award for his participation in Handel's Semele.

Composers like Richard Rodney Bennett, Alexander Goehr, Tan Dun, Anthony Powers, John Tavener, and Elvis Costello have all written specifically for him, while Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Judith Weir have both created tailor-made operatic roles. He sings regularly with the viol consort Fretwork and also performs in oratorio. Michael Chance is a visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, and was awarded a CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list.

Bowman, James


For four decades James Bowman has been one of the world’s foremost, most influential and characterful countertenors. After his début with Benjamin Britten in 1967, he soon found himself in demand on both opera stage and concert platform, and first appeared at Glyndebourne in 1970, at English National Opera in 1971 and at Covent Garden in 1972. Since then his opera engagements abroad have included the Paris Opera, La Scala, La Fenice, and the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. He is particularly highly admired in France, and is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His appearance on the NMC Songbook discs is the latest in a vast and wide-ranging discography which includes the results of collaborations with directors like Harnoncourt, Leonhardt, Hogwood, Pinnock and Brüggen and compositions ranging from the medieval to the new. He’s premiered pieces by Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett, Peter Maxwell Davies, and many others.

For 28 years James Bowman has been one of the world's foremost and most influential coutertenors. His career spans opera, oratorio, contemporary music and recitals. After education at Oxford, he made his début with Benjamin Britten in 1967 and was soon in demand on the opera stage and on the concert platform. He appeared at Glyndebourne in 1970, at the English National Opera in 1971 and at Covent Garden in 1972. Among his many opera engagements abroad, mention should be made of the Paris Opera, La Scala, Milan, La Fenice, Venice, and the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. His concert career is equally wide-ranging; in Europe he is particularly well-known as a recitalist. He was recently awarded 'La Medaille de la Ville de Paris' in recognition of his long-standing contribution to the musical life of Paris.

James Bowman has given the world premières of many important contemporary compositions, including works by Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett, Peter Maxwell Davies, Richard Rodney Bennett, Robin Holloway and Michael Nyman. In 1992 James Bowman celebrated the 25th anniversary of his career with a sold-out concert at the Palais Garnier in Paris and a similarly successful concert at St John's, Smith Square, in London.

In July 1992 the French Government honoured him with the nomination of 'Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres'.

Image Credit: 
Alvaro Yanez
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