Maddalena di Coigny (soprano)
Adina Nitescu studied in Bucharest under Georgeta Stoleriu and was a member of the opera studio of Bavarian State Opera, Munich, where she was tutored by Josef Loibl. In the early 1990s she won several singing competitions, among them the Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Philadelphia, and picked up other prizes like the International Media Prize. She was engaged at Leipzig Opera in 1993/94. In 1995 she made her debut at La Scala Milan, and this was followed by her debuts at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust) in 1996 and at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1997 in the title role of Puccini's Manon Lescaut under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. In 1999 she sang her first Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen in Amsterdam.
For many years Adina Nitescu has been in demand as an interpreter of the title roles in Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Manon Lescaut. She has enjoyed great success in the role of Tosca at the Paris Opéra National de la Bastille, as well as in Florence under Zubin Mehta, in Tokyo, Philadelphia and Düsseldorf. In 2010 she made her debut in Adriana Lecouvreur in Florence. She opened the 2011/12 season in André Chénier in Geneva, followed by Madame Butterfly (under Seiji Ozawa) in Tokyo. Other engagements of the season have been Tosca in Seoul and André Chénier at the Bregenz Festival.
Her repertoire also includes the roles Nedda in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Mimi in La Bohème and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni – a role she sang most recently at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Incredibile, a spy (tenor)
Peter Marsh joined Frankfurt Opera in 1998, and has since appeared in many important roles there as a permanent member of the ensemble. He has sung the lead roles in Wagner's Siegfried, Sallinen's Kullervo, Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg, Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and in the German premiere of Thomas Adès' The Tempest. Last season at Frankfurt Opera he sang Mateo in Richard Strauss's Arabella and the Abbé de Chazeuil in Adriana Lecouvreur. In June 2012 he performed in Der Ring des Nibelungen again, this time as Mime in Siegfried. He has enjoyed particular successes at Frankfurt as Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, as Monostatos in The Magic Flute, Elemer in Arabella and Walther in Tannhäuser. Peter Marsh has sung at many major German opera houses, for instance the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Semperoper in Dresden, Hamburg State Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Bonn Opera and Hanover State Opera. International guest engagements have taken him to the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville. He has also sung with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. As a singer he is active not only in opera but also in the concert and oratorio repertoire, especially in works by Handel, Puccini, Mozart, Verdi, Bach and Schubert.
The Abbé, a poet (tenor)
As a boy Christian Drescher sang on the stage of Vienna State Opera and Vienna Volksoper as principal solo soprano with the Vienna Boys' Choir. After graduating with a distinction from the University of Music in Vienna (opera, song & oratorio), he made his first appearances in Bad Reichenhall and Baden. In 2000 he made his Volksoper debut as an adult in the role of Schneck in Der Vogelhändler. Since the 2002/2003 season he has been a member of the ensemble of the Vienna Volksoper and has taken part in a great many productions, e.g. Sascha (Fiddler on the Roof), First Priest (Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero), Simias (Zemlinsky's Der König Kandaules), Count Negresco (Kalman's Die Herzogin von Chicago), Vasek (The Bartered Bride), Duboslav & Vojta (The Excursions of Mr. Broucek), Balthasar Zorn (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Ottokar (The Gypsy Baron), Basilio & Don Curzio (The Marriage of Figaro), Hans (Kienzl's Der Evangelimann), First Vagabond (Orff's Die Kluge), Nando (Tiefland), Guestone (La Traviata), Monostatos and Second Priest (The Magic Flute), Alfred (Der Fledermaus), Pang (Turandot), Ferdinand (Kehraus um St. Stephan), Scarramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos), Truffaldino (The Love for Three Oranges), Second Jew (Salome), Tinca (Il tabarro), Gherardo (Gianni Schicchi).
In 2005 he performed in a Volksoper guest performance in Turin (The Merry Widow) and last year he sang the role of Second Jew in a concert performance of Salome at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. He made his debut at the Bregenz Festival in 2008 in the production Kehraus um St. Stephan in the role of Ferdinand.
At just 17 years of age Aaron Pilsan, from Dornbirn in Vorarlberg, has already made a name for himself in the music world. The specialist magazine Fono Forum named him Young Artist of the Year in 2011. Pilsan studied under the internationally renowned piano teacher Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Musikhochschule in Hanover. He has already performed at the lunchtime concerts in the Berlin Philharmonie, at the Schwetzinger Festival, the Kissinger Summer festival and the chamber music festival Spannungen in Heimbach headed by the pianist Lars Vogt. He has won prizes at several competitions and attended masterclasses with Alfred Brendel and András Schiff. His interpretation of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto at the opening of the 2011/12 season with the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra received an ecstatic review in the magazine Kultur, which praised the "admirable expressiveness" and "sparkling clarity" of his piano playing.
Four musicians from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra founded the EOS Quartet, one of the leading chamber music formations in Austria, in 1992. The members Willy Büchel (first violin), Christian Blasl (second violin), Roman Bernhart (viola) and Andreas Pokorny (cello) wanted to allow time for meticulous preparation and for the development of a wide repertoire ranging from Joseph Haydn to the 20th century. This approach bore fruit, as the quartet is constantly praised today for its "high art of chamber music making" (Radio Steiermark). Since 1994 the Konzerthaus in Vienna has served as the base and venue for the quartet's ambitiously programmed concerts. They have performed the complete string quartets of Paul Hindemith and extensively explored the music of the first half of last century, for instance Igor Stravinsky, Bohuslav Martinů and Erwin Schulhoff. In addition the quartet works with contemporary composers like György Kurtag. The Vienna music critic Wilhelm Sinkovicz has praised the "balanced tone" of the EOS Quartet, whose members ensure an "acutely sensitive differentiation within the texture of voices, and bring technique and feeling into perfect equilibrium".
The Salzburg-born writer Kathrin Röggla is one of the most important writers in Austria and Germany today. "Such lively, furiously reflective monologues which avail themselves of the language of the present day with such relish and uninhibitedness –we haven't had anything like this to read in a long time," the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote about her book die alarmbereiten (2010). As a moral and political author she has written texts for radio and theatre. Her most recent plays have been premiered at Kassel State Theatre, the National Theatre in Mannheim and the Vienna Schauspielhaus. In 1992, the former student of German and journalism moved to Berlin, where she wrote her first books. Röggla has won numerous awards and prizes. Her diary really ground zero recounts and reflects on her real-life experiences in New York on 11 September 2001 and exposes unsettling truths about the way the attacks and the aftermath were reported in the media. In 2012, she was named writer-in-residence in the town of Mainz.
He is particularly dismayed by the fact that hardly anybody these days reads the classics, Michael Krüger told the Berlin Tagesspiegel newspaper. As the director of Hanser Verlag, he knows what he is talking about. In addition to contemporary literature his publishing house constantly brings out new editions and translations of old masterpieces. He completed an apprenticeship as a bookseller in Berlin, attending lectures at the Free University at the same time. First he worked as a bookseller in London and then became a reader for Hanser Verlag in Munich in 1968. Along the way he discovered his talent for literary criticism and since 1972 he has gradually built up a reputation as a poet and short story writer. Among his awards and distinctions are the Literature Award of the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts and an honorary doctorate from Bielefeld University. His works include the novel Die Cellospielerin (2000) and, most recently, a volume of poetry, Ins Reine (2010). When he shortly becomes 70 years old, he will retire from publishing and complete his novel Das Testament.
"The mighty voice of Bonita Hyman" – as the regional paper Giessener Anzeiger commented in a review of a concert in 2011 by the New York born mezzo. Hyman has made a name for herself internationally in recent years. Currently she can be heard at La Scala Milan and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. She studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Yale University and at the opera studio of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago. Among her preferred roles are Azucena in Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore, Erda in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and Maria in George Gershwin's opera-musical Porgy and Bess. Hyman has sung at many US opera houses as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York. In Europe she has made guest appearances at the Opéra Comique in Paris and a number of German opera houses including Leipzig Opera, Nuremberg Opera and Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and Duisburg.
Christophe Forey was "once again impressive in realising an exhilarating production that gets lastingly under the skin" – thus wrote the newspaper Der Neue Merker in 2011 about Forey's contribution to Viesturs Kairiss' staging of Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung at Riga National Opera. He has designed the lighting for a great number of dance, opera and spoken theatre productions. He prefers collaborations with the directors Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier, as for instance on Georges Bizet's Carmen at Welsh National Opera, Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, and on Gioacchino Rossini's Mosè in Egitto at Zurich Opera. Forey has also worked with the German director Günter Krämer and the American choreographer Lucinda Childs.
Born in Neu-Ulm, Bavaria, Tommi Brem studied scenography at the respected Institute for Performing Arts in Liverpool. He then worked for eight years as a creative planner and art director in advertising agencies, where he was responsible for a large number of book and film projects. But his love of art and the theatre stage never left him. In 2003 he produced an adaptation of the Frank Zappa musical Thing-Fish in London. He has since been involved in noted productions at Bruchsal Theatre in Baden, where he has recently made a name for himself as an author and designer, too. Among his most successful productions are the youth theatre project Nachtblind (2009), which travelled to Berlin and Tallinn, and Michael Kohlhaas (2011/2012), a stage adaptation of a Kleist novella for which he shared the writing credits.