Fredrika Brillembourg opened the Inaugural NY Philharmonic Biennial Festival to universal critical acclaim. The New York Times called her performance as the Narrator in the US Premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven with the Gotham Chamber Opera “vocally plush and dramatically courageous” while the Financial Times described her as “tireless and astonishingly lithe while singing the impossible solos with sensuality when needed and abiding beauty.”
The American mezzo-soprano has performed at renowned opera houses and festivals in Washington, Brussels, Geneva, Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dresden, Aix-en-Provence and Bregenz to name a few and has developed a wide repertoire. Along with the major roles of her fach such as Carmen, Charlotte, Octavian, Komponist, Marguerite, Orfeo, Maddalena and Suzuki, Fredrika Brillembourg is highly acclaimed for modern works by Toshio Hosokawa (Hanjo, The Raven), György Ligeti (Le Grand Macabre), Tan Dun (Marco Polo) and Gottfried von Einem (Jesu Hochzeit).
She recently performed at the Komische Oper Berlin (Candide, Le Grand Macabre, Hansel and Gretel), the Bergen International Festival (Tan Dun’s Marco Polo), the Cincinnati Opera (Der Rosenkavalier), the Staatsoper Stuttgart (Madama Butterfly, Faust), the Semperoper Dresden (Rigoletto) and the Zurich Opera House (La Sonnambula). In 2017, she made her debuts at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (Ottorino Respighi’s Il Tramonto), the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Charles Gounod’s Faust) and at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Principessa di Bouillon in Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur). Fredrika Brillembourg has collaborated with prominent stage directors such as Christof Loy, Willy Decker, Robert Carson, Barrie Kosky, Stephen Wadsworth, Martin Kušej, Keith Warner, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Jonathan Miller.
She has performed with prestigious orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra singing under the baton of conductors such as: Antonio Pappano, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Ingo Metzmacher, Daniel Harding, Kazushi Ono, Mark Albrecht, Manfred Honeck, Kent Nagano and Placido Domingo.
Fredrika’s discography includes: Suzuki (Madama Butterfly, Naxos); in solo arias with the Berlin Symphony, Stravinsky Les Noces, (dir. Sylvain Cambreling), and The Verdi Requiem (dir. Placido Domingo) and on DVD: as Enrichetta di Francia in Bellini’s I Puritani, a Francisco Negrin production from De Nederlandse Opera, conducted by Giuliano Carella. She was the first singer in the history of the Bremen Theatre to win both the Kurt Hübner Prize and the Bremen Volksbühne Prize.
In addition, she wrote, produced, arranged and performed a one-woman show, One Touch of Genius, featuring songs from Broadway musicals by Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill originally performed at the Komische Oper Bernstein 100 Festival. She is also the host of KCRW Berlin radio show and podcast, “Leitmotifs”, which features English-language conversations with high-profile individuals in the classical music community. Guests have included conductors Donald Runnicles and Marc Albrecht; Deutsche Oper Berlin General Manager Dietmar Schwarz; cellist Eckart Runge; opera singer Alma Sade; Barenboim Said School Dean Mena Mark Hanna; director Michael Naumann; and Jamie Bernstein, author of Famous Father Girl, a memoir of growing up as the daughter of Leonard Bernstein.
Opera / Music theatre:
John Adams The Death of Klinghoffer (Marilyn Klinghoffer*)
Béla Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle (Judith*)
Alban Berg Lulu (Countess Martha Geschwitz)
Hector Berlioz La Damnation de Faust (Marguerite)
Leonard Bernstein Candide (Old Lady), Trouble in Tahiti/ A Quiet Place (Dinah)
Francesco Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur (La Contessa di Bouillon)
George Enescu Oedipe (Jocaste*)
Umberto Giordano Andrea Chénier (La Contessa di Coigny)
Charles Gounod Faust (Marthe Schwertlein)
Toshio Hosokawa Hanjo (Jitsuko Honda), Matsukaze (Murasame), The Raven (Narrator)
György Ligeti Le Grand Macabre (Mescalina)
Jacques Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann (Giulietta)
Francis Poulenc Dialogue of the Carmélites (Mere Marie*)
Giacomo Puccini Madama Butterfly (Suzuki), Suor Angelica (La zia principessa*)
Othmar Schoeck Penthesilea (Penthesilea*)
Franz Schreker Die Gezeichneten (Martuccia)
Richard Strauss Capriccio (Clairon*), Elektra (Klytaemnestra*)
Igor Strawinsky Oedipus Rex (Iokaste), The Rake’s Progress (Baba the Turk*)
Tan Dun Marco Polo (Marco)
Giuseppe Verdi Aida (Amneris), Il Trovatore (Azucena*), Otello (Emilia), Rigoletto (Maddalena)
Gottfried von Einem Jesu Hochzeit (Maria)
Richard Wagner Parsifal (Kundry*), Tannhäuser (Venus – Paris Version), Tristan und Isolde (Brangäne)
Bernd A. Zimmermann Die Soldaten (Charlotte/Gräfin de la Roche*)
Hector Berlioz La Mort de Cleopatra *, Les Nuits d’été
Leonard Bernstein Songfest, Symphony no. 1 (Jeremiah)
Benjamin Britten Phaedra
Manuel de Falla El Amor Brujo *, Siete Canciones Populares Españolas
Antonín Dvořák Requiem, Stabat Mater
Edward Elgar The Dream of Gerontius *, Sea Pictures
Franz Liszt Christus
Gustav Mahler Kindertotenlieder, Das Lied von der Erde *, Symphonies no. 2, no. 3 *, no. 8 (alto 2)
Alma Mahler-Werfel Orchestral lieder *
Maurice Ravel Chanson Madécasses, Shéhérazade *
Ottorino Respighi Il Tramonto
Arnold Schönberg Gurre-Lieder (Lied der Waldtaube), Pierrot Lunaire
Igor Stravinsky Berceuse du Chat, Les Noces
Richard Wagner Wesendonck Lieder (Mottl und Henze) *
Kurt Weill Die sieben Totsünden
Alexander v. Zemlinsky Maeterlinck Lieder *
“One Touch of Genius”
Songs by Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill
Fredrika Brillembourg, mezzo-soprano
Frank Schulte, piano
Between 1930 and 1970, Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill, both successful classical composers, turned their gifts to the Broadway stage. Their unforgettable songs, with lyrics by such luminaries as Ogden Nash, Maxwell Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, Betty Comden, and Adolf Green, expressed the tenor of the times, and became popular hits and part of our American musical vernacular.
One Touch of Genius is both an exploration of the lives of Bernstein and Weill and a tribute to the exuberance, wit, and dark beauty of their Broadway songs. The program will include music from On the Town, One Touch of Venus, Lost in the Stars, Wonderful Town, Lady in the Dark, Candide, Street Scene, West Side Story, Trouble in Tahiti, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Peter Pan, and Knickerbocker Holiday.
Fredrika Brillemborg is an award-winning and internationally-renowned mezzo soprano. Her repertoire includes works by Wagner, Bizet, and Verdi, as well as collaborations with contemporary classical composers. Born in New York City, she grew up attending Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts and later became friends with the composer’s children. She is excited to explore the timeless and emotionally resonant songs of Weill and Bernstein.
Fredrika Brillembourg empowered the haughty figure of Princess de Bouillon with vocal authority, while imbuing her with human frailty when she finds out she has been betrayed.
Bachtrack.com, 8 May 2017
For this presentation, the director and choreographer Luca Veggetti turns the monologue into a staged work for the compelling mezzo-soprano Fredrika Brillembourg and the renowned, and riveting, dancer Alessandra Ferri. (…) While singing this daunting work, Ms. Brillembourg entwines her limbs in stylized positions with Ms. Ferri’s, whose balletic gestures express the inner grief and fears of the narrator. At times, Ms. Brillembourg even balances Ms. Ferri across her knees or on her back. (…) The staging offers a showcase for two impressive artists, especially the vocally plush, dramatically courageous Ms. Brillembourg.
Nytimes.com, 29 May 2014
There is nothing ordinary, however, about the virtuosos at work here. Tireless and astonishingly lithe, Fredrika Brillembourg sings the impossible Sprechgesang solos with sensuality where needed and with abiding beauty, even when required to scream, gurgle or grunt.
Financial Times, 29 May 2014
The mezzo Fredrika Brillembourg, in a tour-de-force performance, moved from rhythmical speech to sinuous sung lines and, later, to a more florid, ornamented delivery, as if reenacting opera’s birth.
The New Yorker, 23 June 2014
Ottorino Respighi: Il Tramonto (Concertgebouw Amsterdam):
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