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Juliana Gondek

 

Mezzo-soprano

(Updated August 2012 – please discard any previous versions)

 

Juliana Gondek has performed in the world's most celebrated opera houses, concert halls, and festivals throughout a 35-year international singing career.  She has collaborated with such musical luminaries as Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Rudolf Serkin, James Levine, Carlos Kleiber, Nicholas McGegan, and Yehudi Menuhin.  She's performed leading operatic roles at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, the Netherlands Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, the Göttingen and Halle Handel Festivals, Antibe's Festival de Bel Canto, the Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan), Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, and at Washington's Kennedy Center.

 

The extraordinary beauty, versatility, technical mastery, and range of her voice, coupled with a rare intelligence, artistry, and expressiveness, have enabled her to move freely through an astonishing breadth of operatic repertoire. Ms. Gondek has been hailed as one of her generation's finest singing-actors, and for her impassioned portrayals of such varied roles as Ginevra in Handel's Ariodante, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, all the heroines in The Tales of Hoffmann and the title roles in Rossini's Bianca e Falliero, Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco, and Bizet's Carmen. She has twenty additional Handel roles to her credit, including Alcina, Theodora, Rodelinda, Cleopatra, Zenobia (Radamisto), Gismonda (Ottone), Galatea, Michal (Saul), and Fortuna (Giustino).  Other operatic roles include Mozart heroines Countess Almaviva, Donna Elvira, Fiordiligi, Pamina and 1st Lady, Aspasia in Mitridate, Verdi heroines Gulnara (Il Corsaro) and Marchesa del Poggio (Un Giorno di Regno), Mimi in La Boheme, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Pat Nixon (Nixon in China).

 

Juliana Gondek has been the singer of choice for many of the world's most celebrated contemporary composers.  She has created starring roles in several world-premiere operas, among them: Ela in David Carlson's Dreamkeepers with Utah Opera; the triple role of Dianne Feinstein/ Harvey's Mama/Hooker in Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk with Houston Grand Opera, the New York City Opera, and San Francisco Opera; the title role in Wallace's s Hopper's Wife, with Long Beach Opera; Sabina in David Diamond's The Noblest Game with New York City Opera; and Gertrude Stein in the Jonathan Sheffer's Blood on the Dining Room Floor at New York's Guggenheim Museum.  Ms. Gondek has sung the lead roles in Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Bright Sheng's The Song of Majnun, Hugo Weisgall's Esther, and Ian Krouse's Lorca, Child of the Moon. She will create the central role of Mexican opera star Angela Peralta in Roger Bourland's The Dove and the Nightingale slated for premiere in 2013.  She has premiered the music of John Corigliano, Paul Chihara, Anthony Davis, Morten Lauridson, Ricky Ian Gordon, Richard Hundley, Stephen Albert, Richard Wernick, Donald Crockett, Roger Bourland, Adrienne Albert, Mark Carlson, Bruce Babcock, and Steven Sacco, among many others.

 

Ms. Gondek has sung as soloist with well over 100 symphony orchestras worldwide, in works such as Mahler's Symphony No. 4 (New York Philharmonic under conductor Andre Previn); Mozart's Mass in C Minor and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (San Francisco Symphony - Herbert Blomstedt); Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate (L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande - Armin Jordan); Handel's L'Allegro (Seattle Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra - Nichoas McGegan);  Handel, Haydn, and Mozart solo cantatas (St. Louis Symphony - Sir Raymond Leppard);  Beethoven's "Symphony No 9" (Bruckner Orchestra of Linz, Austria); Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder (Rochester Symphony - Jerzy Semkow); Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14 (New York Chamber Orchestra - Gerard Schwarz); Britten's Les Illuminations (Munich Chamber Orchestra); Mendelssohn's "Lobgesang" (Symphony No. 2) at Carnegie Hall  (St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra - John Nelson). Having spent most of her career performing soprano repertoire, she now performs mezzo-soprano symphonic, operatic, and song literature, including the alto solos in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Verdi's Requiem.


Some of the world's most celebrated venues and summer festivals have presented Ms. Gondek in art song and chamber music recital: the Grand Theatre Geneve and Geneva Conservatory; Teatro La Fenice; Lucerne's Festival Hall; Berlin's National Library; Toronto's Glenn Gould Hall; New York's Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall; Jordan Hall in Boston and Shalin Liu Performing Arts Center; the Yaddo Artist Colony; in Sapporo (Japan), the Kitara Concert Hall;  Los Angeles's Royce Hall, Ambassador Auditorium, Getty Museum, Zipper Hall, and Schoenberg Concert Hall;  the Shanghai Conservatory of Music; the Hong Kong Philharmonic; Chicago's Smart Museum of Art; Santa Fe's St. Francis Chapel; and at the Caramoor Festival, the Newport Chamber Music Festival (seven summers), the Bard Festival, and the Bowdoin International Festival. Additional important festival engagements have included the Salzburg Osterfestspiel, the New York Lincoln Center Summer Festival, the Göttingen Handel Festival and the Halle Handel Festival in Germany, Vermont's famed Marlboro Festival, England's Aldeburgh Festival, the Avignon Festival in France, Vail's Bravo! Colorado Festival, the St. Louis Symphony's Summerfest, the Astoria Festival (Oregon), the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and the 25th Anniversary Gala celebration of the Spanish National Radio and Television Orchestra (Soprano I in Mahler's 8th Symphony).

 

Juliana Gondek's discography includes Mozart's The Magic Flute on DGG, Harvey Milk on Teldec, Handel's operas Ottone, Radamisto (Recording of the Year: International Handel Society),  Giustino, and Ariodante (1996 "Gramophone" Recording of the Year Award) on harmonia mundi, Mozart's Exsultate, jubiliate on Sonoris, "The Yoav Chamber Ensemble" on Orion (Yehudi Menuhin Foundation Prize), as well as more recent recordings of Bright Sheng's Songs from the Sung Dynasty with the Hong Kong Philharmonic on Naxos, and The Complete Songs of Karol Szymanowski with Dutch pianist Reinild Mees on the Dutch label Channel Classics, which won the "Fryderyk" Prize for Best Recording of Polish Music from the Polish Gramophonic Society.  Ms. Gondek's most recent recording, songs by composer Roger Bourland, will be released on the Parma Records label in early 2013.  Television and film appearances include a "Live from the Met" telecast and DGG videodisc recording of Mozart's The Magic Flute with the Metropolitan Opera, the BBC documentary The Making of West Side Story on the legendary DGG recording with Leonard Bernstein, a Vancouver Symphony trans-Canadian telecast featuring Ms. Gondek and Sir Yehudi Menuhin, and European telecasts of several of Ms. Gondek's international performances.  She made her on-screen feature film debut as The Opera Diva in a PBS Masterpiece Theatre film adaptation of Willa Cather's novel The Song of the Lark.  Other unusual engagements have included her portrayal of Vera Stravinsky for the Los Angeles Philharmonic alongside stars from the "Star Trek: Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" television series, a national tour with the Mark Morris Dance Group as soloist for Morris's ballet masterpiece set to Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato, soloist with the American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House, and the ingénue lead in the Broadway smash Kismet with Baltimore Opera opposite Broadway veterans John Reardon, Eddie Bracken, and Patrice Munsel.


Recognized as a distinguished pedagogue, Ms. Gondek has maintained an active voice studio for more than 35 years and, since 1997, has served as Professor and Chair of Voice and Opera Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She travels frequently to adjudicate prominent national and international singing competitions, and to lecture and teach master classes at institutions such as the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Shanghai Conservatory, the Geneva Conservatory, Florence's "Cherubini" Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Chicago, Rice University in Houston and at the Idyllwild Arts Academy's Summer Session. She serves as ongoing consultant to American filmmakers, journalists, and news organizations. In recent years Ms. Gondek has been closely associated with OperaAMERICA as panelist/mentor for their Professional Singer Training Workshops, and as Master Teacher with the Classical Singer National Convention and National Opera Association, Japan's Pacific Music Festival's Baroque Vocal Academy, and the Astoria Festival Young Artist Program. Since 2006 she has served as Co-Artistic Director and Voice faculty of the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and is Founder-Director of the Baroque Opera Boot Camp.

 

A native of Pasadena, California, Juliana Gondek began her musical training on the piano and violin, and starting singing Broadway musicals in middle school. Her first musical career was as a professional violinist while earning BM and MM degrees in Voice Performance "magna cum laude" from the University of Southern California. She embarked on her international singing career after winning back-to-back Gold Medals in the Geneva International Competition (unanimous Gold Medal) and the Barcelona Francisco Viñas International Competition.  This same year she won the Prix Patek Philippe and "Musical America's Young Artist of the Year."  She was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Prize for her innovative concert series, "The Art of Polish  Song" and she has performed at the invitation of Polish Consuls General and the Polish Minister of Culture in the U.S. and in Europe.

  

Press comments:

Purcell's The Fairy Queen at the Astoria Music Festival:

"Part of the pleasure came from the unexpected mix of elements: veteran singers such as Juliana Gondek strutting about with young singers just starting their careers. Titania's lament, ‘O let me weep,’ stopped the show when Gondek brought forth a voice of mahogany tone and aching musical depth in her halting phrases. Her voice was a reflection of full-bodied grief. Now there's a singing actress."

                                                                        Oregonian - June 28, 2009

 

“Juliana Gondek renders the Joyce lyrics idiomatically in a superb, indispensable four-CD set of Szymanowski’s songs, complete.”
                                                            Fanfare, July/August 2008

 

“Juliana Gondek and Lisa Saffer help fill out a splendid cast.”

                                                                        San Francisco Chronicle - May 25, 2008

 

“Juliana Gondek delivers the best singing on this disc.” 

                                                            www.musicweb-international.com - March 2007

 

Recital at the University of Southern California:

“The performance featured outstanding artists: Ms. Gondek’s masterful delivery contributed to a highly successful interpretation of this fascinating song cycle.”

                                                            Polish Music News – November 2005

 

 

Vitellia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Scottish Opera, Nicholas McGegan, conductor:

“Scotland's Vitellia, the American Juliana Gondek, is the vocal star of the show:  a superb musician who could move to tears in her great moment of self-revelation and a singer with the range - clear resonant low notes and true at the top - and temperament to do full justice to the role.”                                     Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, London

 

Beatrice in Beatrice di Tenda, Antibes Bel Canto Festival:

“BRAVISSIMO TUTTI!  The audience was impressed with Juliana Gondek, with the soul of a tragedienne.  Hers was an authoritative Beatrice. The magnificent vocal flights of last words unleashed an outburst of prolonged ovation from the connoisseurs of Bel Canto.”                                                            Nice-Matin

 

Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen with the London Symphony Orchestra, London, Ontario:

“Gondek's lusty voice is tailored to the role of Carmen, and her interpretation was suitably provocative, defiant, and sexy.   A few old-timers were no doubt reminded of Risë Stevens. Her Habanera was effectively insolent, her Seguidilla was so saucily

seductive it is little wonder that Don Jose, the object of her smoky suggestiveness, was so totally smitten.”                                               The London Free Press

 

Ela in David Carlson’s Dreamkeepers, Utah Opera:

“Mr. Carlson has written powerful, soaring music for his fighter heroine, and Ms. Gondek brought her stirringly to life with her big, handsome, penetrating soprano and impassioned acting.”                                      Opera Now / Wall Street Journal

 

“Whether wrapping hear easeful soprano around the soaring lines of Act 1 or summoning a Salome-like force for the Jurisdiction Aria at the end of Act 2, she was always sympathetic and always compelling.”                       Deseret News

 

“Soprano Juliana Gondek was a strong, defiant and spirited Ela, with equally believable moments of vulnerability.”                                    Salt Lake City Tribune

 

New Year’s Gala, Santa Barbara Symphony, Giselle Ben-Dor, conductor:
“Adding a sparkling note was soprano Juliana Gondek singing the beautiful Song to the Moon from Dvorak’s opera Rusalka.”         Valley Voice

 

Handel’s L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra:

“Juliana Gondek, whose operatically colored instrument incarnated the soul of introspection in ‘May at last my weary age.’”                                      

San Francisco Examiner