Lucy Crowe, born in Staffordshire (England), studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, to which she was appointed a “Fellow” in 2014. One of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation, the singer has appeared as Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and as Eurydice (Orphée et Eurydice), Adina (L’elisir d’ amore ), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Gilda (Rigoletto) and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. Further engagements have taken her to Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, English National Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival, where she has enjoyed great success in roles such as Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Dona Isabel (The Indian Queen), Poppea (Agrippina), Micaëla (Carmen) and Vixen Sharp-Ears. As a much sought-after concert singer, Lucy Crowe has worked with leading orchestras and conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Emmanuelle Haïm, Daniel Harding, Antonio Pappano, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Guest appearances include at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and the Salzburg Festival; she has also given recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. With the Berliner Philharmoniker, Lucy Crowe is now to be heard for the first time.
Angela Denoke studied at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Hamburg. After early engagements in Ulm and Stuttgart she appeared to great acclaim as the Marschallin in productions of Der Rosenkavalier at the Berlin and Vienna State Operas in 1997. Since then she has been closely associated with both these houses. In addition, Angela Denoke regularly appears at the opera houses in London, New York, Paris, Munich, Madrid and Barcelona. In concert, she has sung with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. She first sang with the Berliner Philharmoniker in June 1997. Her most recent appearance as a soloist with the orchestra was in September 2009 with Paul Dessau’s Cantata Les Voix; the conductor was Sir Simon Rattle. Her Kurt Weill programme Two Lives to Live was premiered at the 2011 Salzburger Festspiele and subsequently performed at the Vienna State Opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona and, in December 2014, in the Berlin Chamber Music Hall at the invitation of the Foundation. Her jazz and chanson programme From Babelsberg to Beverly Hills was equally successful. Angela Denoke was awarded the German Theatre Prize 2007 for her performances of Strauss’s Salome. In 2009 she was appointed a Kammersängerin by the Vienna State Opera.
Gerald Finley, born in Montreal, was educated at the University of Ottawa, at King’s College Cambridge and at the Royal College of Music in London. His worldwide career has taken him to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Opéra National in Paris, the Wiener and Bayerische Staatsoper and the festivals in Glyndebourne and Salzburg. After Gerald Finley first appeared all over the world in Mozart roles (such as Don Giovanni and the Conte di Almaviva), he devoted himself to the work of Richard Wagner for several years, including the roles of Hans Sachs at Glyndebourne and the Opéra de Paris, Amfortas at Covent Garden, and Wolfram at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The bass baritone’s multifaceted repertoire also includes roles in operas by Handel, Rossini, Bizet, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Korngold, Britten, Adams, Saariaho and Turnage. The artist has also gained international recognition in the concert hall and as a lieder singer. He regularly works together with conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Gerald Finley made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the end of September 1994 under the direction of Pierre Boulez in works by Anton Webern and Igor Stravinsky. His most recent appearance as a guest of the Foundation was in a recital at the beginning of December 2016, accompanied at the piano by Antonio Pappano.
Paulina Malefane was born in South Africa in 1976 and grew up in a township near Cape Town. She completed her music studies at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town. The soprano is a co-founder and artistic co-director of the Isango Ensemble, an opera company specialising in South African adaptations of classic subjects and which has performed all over the world. Paulina Malefane had her first international success in the title role of Bizet’s Carmen in a new translation by Rory Bremner. Guest appearances by the ensemble have taken her to places including London, Dublin and New York. For the film U-Carmen which set Bizet’s opera in South Africa and was awarded the Golden Bear at the 2005 Berlinale, she contributed to the translation of the libretto into the language of the Xhosa and also played the title role. In 2006, she was involved as a screenwriter and actress in the film Son of Man which was shown at, among others, the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. In the same year, she made her debut at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London with songs by Kurt Weill; she also took on the role of Bess (Porgy and Bess) in Umeå and Malmö. Paulina Malefane made her first guest appearances in Berliner Philharmoniker concerts at the end of 2008. In addition to her musical work, she also works for a local music therapy centre and for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa.
Peter Sellars is one of the most unconventional and innovative theatre and opera directors of our times. Central to his work on literary subjects is his desire to highlight their relevance to the political and social questions of today. On graduating from the Phillips Academy in Massachusetts in 1975, he studied literature and music at Harvard University, making his debut as a stage director in New York in 1980. After a further period of study in Asia, he became director of the Boston Shakespeare Company in 1983 and the following year was appointed director of the American National Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Sellars has staged operas in major houses all over the world, including the Dutch National Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the San Francisco Opera and the Salzburg and Glyndebourne Festivals. He has championed the creation of many new works, with long-time collaborator John Adams, such as Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic, and works by Tan Dun, Osvaldo Golijov and Kaija Saariaho. Peter Sellars has received numerous honours (MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize and the Polar Music Prize among others) and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is professor at the University of California in Los Angeles. The collaboration between Sellars and the Berliner Philharmoniker began in April 2010 with the St Matthew Passion, followed by the St John Passion in 2014; in the 2015/16 season he was their artist in residence. His most recent project was a concert staging of György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre in February 2017, the conductor was Sir Simon Rattle.