Stuart Skelton, a native Australian, was first trained in Sydney and graduated at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1995. Since then, an international career has led the tenor, who was named Male Singer of the Year at the 2014 International Opera Awards, to the major opera houses and concert halls throughout Asia, Europe and North America. Stuart Skelton has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, English National Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, Zurich Opera, the Semperoper in Dresden, Deutsche Oper Berlin and at the state opera houses in Vienna, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin. His repertoire encompasses Wagner roles such as Parsifal, Lohengrin, Erik and Siegmund, as well as Beethoven’s Florestan, Strauss’s Kaiser, Max ( Der Freischütz), Dvořák’s Dimitrij and Britten’s Peter Grimes. Moreover, the tenor is invited to appear as a soloist with the most prestigious symphony orchestras. Stuart Skelton works together with conductors such as Edward Gardner, Philippe Jordan, Donald Runnicles, Michael Tilson Thomas and Franz Welser-Möst. He gave his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in December 2011 as soloist in Mahler’s Lied von der Erde, and last appeared with the orchestra in March 2016 in the role of Tristan, in concert performances of Wagner’s opera conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
The Swedish soprano Nina Stemme is one of the most sought after Wagner singers in the world today. While initially studying economics in her home town of Stockholm, Stemme also took singing lessons. Following her opera debut as Cherubino in Cortona (Italy) in 1989, she decided on a singing career and went on to study singing. In 1993 she won the Operalia Competition, which also made her known internationally. This was followed by invitations to opera houses such as the Wiener Staatsoper, the Semperoper in Dresden and Zurich Opera. Her repertoire includes roles such as Mimi ( La Bohème), Marie ( Wozzeck), Leonora ( La forza del destino), the title roles in Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Ariadne auf Naxos, Arabella and Salome plus all the major soprano Wagner roles. Since her acclaimed debut as Isolde ( Tristan und Isolde) at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2003 the part has become one of her signature roles which she has sung in Bayreuth, London, Munich, Vienna and New York. More recently, she also appeared as Turandot at La Scala, the Met and Zurich. In September 2015 she sang in the world premiere of Hans Gefors’ Notorious in Gothenburg. In 2017, she made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper as Kundry in its new production of Parsifal. A winner of multiple awards (the Laurence Olivier Award, Premio Abbiati), she is a member of the Royal Academy of Music Sweden and a Swedish Court Singer; in 2012 she was appointed Austrian Kammersängerin. These concerts mark Nina Stemme’s first guest appearance in Berliner Philharmoniker concerts.
Franz-Josef Selig graduated in church music from the Cologne University of Music before changing to the vocal classes there by Claudio Nicolai. Early in his career, he was a member of the ensemble at the Essen Aalto Theatre for six years. Today, the freelance singer appears regularly in opera houses all over the world – such as the Vienna State Opera, La Scala in Milan, Opéra National de Paris and the Metropolitan Opera New York – and at the Aix-en-Provence, Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals in the great bass roles of Gurnemanz, King Marke, Sarastro, Rocco, Osmin, Daland and Fasolt. Franz-Josef Selig has worked with conductors such as Semyon Bychkov, Marek Janowski, Philippe Jordan, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Antonio Pappano and Simon Rattle. Despite his numerous concert and opera engagements, Franz-Joseph Selig finds time for recitals, where he is also to be heard as a member of the ensemble “Liedertafel” together with Markus Schaefer, Christian Elsner and Michael Volle with Gerold Huber at the piano. Numerous CD and DVD productions document the artistic versatility of the singer. The bass made his debut in Berliner Philharmoniker concerts in December 2013 in Robert Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, conducted by Daniel Harding. He last appeared with the orchestra in December 2017 in performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, conducted by Christian Thielemann.
1381 Zeichen, Übers. Innes Wilson
Evgeny Nikitin was born in Murmansk and played drums in a rock band as a teenager. While still studying at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, he was offered his first engagements at the Mariinsky Theatre, where his roles included the title role in Boris Godunov,Prince Igor and The Flying Dutchman, and worked with Valery Gergiev. This was followed by invitations to prestigious festivals in Europe and the USA. He has also appeared at the opera houses in London, Paris, Vienna, Zurich, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Chicago and Tokyo. Nikitin’s repertoire includes the roles of Tomsky (The Queen of Spades), Don Pizarro (Fidelio), Fasolt, Wotan, Gunther (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Klingsor and Amfortas (Parsifal), Philip II. ( Don Carlo), Orest (Elektra), Jochanan (Salome) and the title role in Don Giovanni. In concert, he has sung, among others, Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra and Oedipus Rex with the Munich Philharmonic. He first appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker in June 2006 in the concert performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingold in the role of Fasolt, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. He last appeared with the orchestra in April 2017 as Baron Scarpia in a concert performance of Puccini’s Tosca.
Buchstaben mit Leerzeichen: 1208 – Übers. Innes Wilson
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 Rossini, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Korngold, Britten, Adams, Saariaho and Turnage. The artist has also gained international recognition in the concert hall and as a lieder singer. Composers like Peter Lieberson ( Songs of Love and Sorrow), Mark Anthony Turnage ( When I woke) and Kaija Saariaho ( True Fire) have written for him. He regularly works together with conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Gerald Finley has been a regular guest in Berliner Philharmoniker concerts since his debut in September 1994 under the direction of Pierre Boulez. In his most recent appearances in early March 2018 he presented songs by Franz Schubert in orchestral arrangements conducted by Daniel Harding.
Reinhard Hagen studied at the University of Music Karlsruhe. An award winner of many international competitions, his stage career began at the theatre in Dortmund. He was brought to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin by Götz Friedrich in the 1994/1995 season, where he has performed the great roles of the basso profundo repertoire. Since autumn 2011, he has worked freelance as a guest at leading opera houses all over the world (e.g. in Munich, Hamburg, Brussels, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles) and at festivals (Bayreuth, Salzburg, Glyndebourne and Tanglewood) as well as with the world’s major orchestras. He made his Berliner Philharmoniker debut in a series of concerts of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis in February 1998 (conductor: James Levine). He subsequently performed with the orchestra on many occasions, most recently in concert performances of Strauss’s Salome under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle in March 2011.