Top Violetta who changed from Uugly duckling to Diva
Angela Gheorghiu / Soprano
Angela Gheorghiu was born in Adjud, Romania, and graduated from the Bucharest Music Academy in 1990. Her magnificent voice and dazzling stage presence have established her as a unique international opera star. Since her 1992 debut at Covent Garden - where she made her first live recording and video in La traviata in 1994 - Ms Gheorghiu has been in constant demand in opera houses around the world.
In 1996 Angela Gheorghiu made her first EMI Classics recording, an album of Duets and Arias with Roberto Alagna and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In March 1997 EMI Classics released Puccini��s rarely recorded opera La Rondine. Since its release, the recording has received widespread critical acclaim; this culminated in two Gramophone Awards for Best Opera Recording and Record of the Year, a French Choc du Monde de la Musique, two Diapason d��Or awards, the Belgian Cecilia Prize, the German Deutsche Schallplattenkritik, the Italian magazine Musica e dischi Foreign Lyric Production award and the USA Critics�� Award. At the Classical Brit Awards in May 2001, she won the title of Female Artist of the Year.
In January 1998, Angela Gheorghiu signed an exclusive recording agreement with EMI Classics for solo recitals, duet albums and complete operas.
Angela Gheorghiu recorded Gounod's Romeo et Juliette for EMI Classics (released in April 1998) and a second album of Verdi duets, Verdi per due, with Roberto Alagna, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (released in October 1998). She returned to Puccini with a recording of Gianni Schicchi (from Il Trittico), which was released in February 1999. In October 1999 she released Massenet��s Werther with the London Symphony Orchestra - in which she sings the role of Charlotte. In August 2000 EMI Classics released Ms Gheorghiu, again with Roberto Alagna in Massenet��s Manon. Her first solo album with EMI Classics, Casta Diva, was released in June 2001 to great acclaim. Prior to EMI Classics Angela Gheorghiu had a recording contract for Decca for whom she made several recordings.
In December 2000 Gheorghiu started filming for Tosca, in a movie in which she stars alongside Roberto Alagna. The Tosca sound track was released in November 2001 and has already had fantastic previews from Opera News (USA): ""She's one of the most sensuous Toscas imaginable....Angela Gheorghiu's passion and beauty are ideal for Tosca, as if the best qualities of Callas's and Tebaldi's portrayals had come together." The film is due for cinema release in the UK in May; the US in July/August and in Italy and Greece in April. The British Press have commented enthusiastically: "This is a work for which EMI has long offered a benchmark recording - Maria Callas with Victor de Sabata - yet this new recording in many ways surpasses it. More clearly than anything I have heard in years, this is a classic of the future... Alagna makes a strong and virile Cavaradossi... [Gheorghiu's] is a great performance, as magnetic as Callas's, rich and beautiful as well as dramatic." The Guardian, November 2001; "Antonio Pappano's conducting alone would make this a Tosca of distinction... Gheorghiu is worthy of the highest comparisons... [Alagna] is in fine voice... The recording is all that could be wished." Gramophone, Recording of the month, December 2001.
Among major appearances 2000/01 season was Romeo et Juliette at Covent Garden in February/March 2000, for which her performance alongside Roberto Alagna in the title roles received rave reviews, and Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in October 2000. Engagements then included Gala concerts and appearances at the Royal Opera House, Hampton Court, and Royal Festival Hall (all in London) and New York��s Met, in the Summer of 2001, as well as La boheme at the Bastille in Paris at the end of October 2001. In January 2001 she performed in Verdi��s Requiem again with Alagna and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The evening was recorded live in Berlin and released in August 2001.
EMI Classics have scheduled for release two exciting new Angela Gheorghiu opera recordings: in July 2002 a complete recording of Verdi's Il trovatore will be released, with Roberto Alagna and Antonio Pappano, and in February 2003 a new recordings of Bizet's ever-popular Carmen will be issued in which Gheorghiu will be accompanied once again by Roberto Alagna and conductd this time by Michel Plasson.
The year 2002/2003 will be a busy one for Angela Gheorghiu. In May there will be performances of La Rondine at Covent Garden, after which both Alagna and Gheorghiu will appear at Buckingham Palace on June 1 for a concert to mark the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Then follows opera performances in Orange in France, Salzburg and Vienna (all Romeo et Juliette) as well as a recital with Roberto Alagna in Seoul, South Korea in June. The year 2003 will begin in the USA with performances of Pagliacci in Palm Beach, in January, and at the Met in New York, in March, with Gounod's Faust. July 2003 will see Angela Gheorghiu at Covent Garden once again in Pagliacci.
Ms Gheorghiu��s repertoire includes roles Mimi in La boheme, Violetta in La traviata, Adina in L��Elisir d��amore, Liu in Turandot, Micaela in Carmen, Juliette in Romeo et Juliette, Magda in La Rondine, Suzel in L��Amico Fritz, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Manon in Manon and Charlotte in Werther. In the future she will appear in Luisa Miller, Pagliacci, Faust, Adriana Lecouvreur, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula, Tosca, Lucrezia Borgia and Simon Boccanegra.
Ion Marin / Conductor
Ion Marin is one of the most interesting composers on today��s music scene, and currently lives as an Austrian citizen in Switzerland after having left his homeland of Rumania in 1986. He received his musical training as a composer, conductor and pianist at the George Enescu Academy in Bucharest, the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. During his first engagement as a resident conductor at the Vienna State Opera (during Claudio Abbado��s administration as director) he conducted a large repertoire of works ranging from Mozart to Berg in the years between 1987 and 1991. He developed his outstanding reputation in the symphonic field - especially in late romantic and 20th century works - by conducting such sterling ensembles as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Orchestre National de France and the Staatskapelle in Dresden. He has worked with such prominent soloists as Yo-Yo Ma, Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich, Sarah Chang, Yuri Bashmet and Frank Peter Zimmermann. Marin, equally at home in the symphonic and operatic field, has already conducted new productions at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the San Francisco Opera and the Opera Bastille in Paris to mention but a few. He has conducted such well-known vocal artists as Jessye Norman, Placido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu, Cecilia Bartoli and Dmitry Hvorostovsky and collaborated with stage directors like Giorgio Strehler, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Roman Polansky, Germon and Harry Kupfer. Ion Marin��s discography has already earned three Grammy nominations, the German Recording Prize and the Diapason Palme d��Or. He received the 2004 Alfred Schnittke Award for his extraordinary services to contemporary music.
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, first founded in 1945 and cherished by all music lovers in Korea, is the oldest orchestra in the nation and has pioneered the development of orchestra music in Korea. After 55 years of hardship and effort, the orchestra has matured to its present form and while making numerous contributions to the music world, provides enjoyment to both Korean and international audiences through its fine performances that have now reached truly international standards.
The Seoul Philharmonic was originally established in January, 1948 by 40 music-loving members of the Seoul Symphony Association and the first subscription concert was held in the following month directed by John Sang-Ryo Kim.
In 1965 Seoul Philharmonic completed a successful concert tour in Japan. It was the first overseas concert tour which marked the beginning of a international career. After Japan tour concerts Seoul Philharmonic has visited southeast Asia in 1977, United States in 1982 & 1986 and in 1988 went to Europe on a publicity tour for the 24th Summer Olympic Games which was held in Seoul. Also in 1996 visited United States to give commemoration concert for the Atlanta Olympic Games. Finally in 1997 SPO visited Beijing.
Apart from its regular concerts, Seoul Philharmonic has cultivated musical talent among the youth by offering young performers the chance to perform with the orchestra at special concerts throughout the years. Since its founding of Seoul Philharmonic more than 200 young artists have performed with the orchestra. Among the many distinguished composers, conductors, and soloists who have performed with Seoul Philharmonic are Dong-Il Han(Pf.), Hanna Chang(Vc.), Dong-Suk Kang(Vn.), Kun-Woo Baik(Pf.), Kyung-Wha Chung(Vn.) and Maestro Myung-Whun Chung.
In 2000 Maestro Mark Ermler was selected as Principal Conductor and in 2002 Maestro Sung Kwak became SPO's Music Advisor & Conductor.
The Seoul Philharmonic has performed over 600 subscription concerts and has staged some 4,000 special concerts and performances. The orchestra looks forward to an increasing number of international tours while continuing to satisfy the musical appetites of its home audiences.