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... Menna Cazel, Annika Schlicht, Bernhard Berchtold & Brian Mulligan

Menna Cazel

Welsh soprano Menna Cazel graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she was taught by John Llewelyn Evans. She subsequently completed her master’s degree in Operatic Studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig, taught by Dr. Jeanette Favaro-Reuter. Engagements this season include Maddalena in Il viaggio a Reims and Marie in Spoliansky ‘s Wie Werd Ich Reich und Glücklich at the Semperoper in Dresden. She will also perform Beethoven 9 Symphony with the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Stéphane Denève and Mozart Requiem with the Orchestre de Bretagne. In 2018, she made her house and role début as Pousette in Massenet’s Manon with Oper Köln. Other notable engagements include her role debuts as both Pamina and Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte and Frasquita in a new production of Carmen at the Dresden Semperoper. Recent concert performances include Fauré Requiem with the Cardiff Philharmonic Choir and a song recital with Eugene Asti at the Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor, North Wales. Other highlights include a St David’s Day Gala with Sir Bryn Terfel and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Gareth Jones at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, the ’Spirit of Unity’ concert Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (both televised for S4C), a St David’s day Concert with the Sydney Welsh Choir in Sydney Australia and a performance as a guest soloist again with Sir Bryn Terfel at the Bristol Proms. Menna won 2nd prize in the “Ton und Erklärung” des Kulturkreises der Deutschen Wirtschaft competition in 2014 and was invited to represent the Dresden Semperoper in the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition. In 2013, Menna won the inaugural ‘Voice of the Future’ competition at the 2013 Llangollen International Eisteddfod. She was also the joint recipient of the W. Towyn Roberts Scholarship at the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2012. Other prizes include the Art Song Prize at the 2013 Thelma King Award, first prize at the 2009 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and the Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize at the 2008 National Eisteddfod. Menna is a recipient of awards from the Bryn Terfel Foundation and the Elizabeth Evans Trust.

Annika Schlicht

German mezzo-soprano Annike Schlicht studied at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin with Renate Faltin. She followed masterclasses with amongst others Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Brigitte Fassbaender, who is still a mentor of the singer. She is the recipient of the Richard Wagner Association scholarship and has won prizes at numerous competitions. While still a student, Annika was engaged on a scholarship from the Liz Mohn Foundation for Culture and Music at the International Opera Studio of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin and debuted in the seasons 2013/14 and 2014/15 in various roles. this season, Annika will make her role debuts as Fenena (Nabucco), Mary (Flying Dutchman) and Fricka (Rheingold) in the new Ring cycle directed by Stefan Herheim at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. After her successful appearance as Auntie in Peter Grims at the Bergen International Festival in 2017, Annika will return to the Bergen National Opera for her debut as Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito. Future concerts include Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in Klagenfurt, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s 1. Walpurgisnacht in the Elbphilharmonie with Kent Nagano, the Glagolitic Requiem by Kuljerić with the Munich Radio Orchestra under the baton of Ivan Repušić in Munich and Zagreb, a Verdi Requiem in Essen, as well as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in Berlin, Brussels and Antwerp with Donald Runnicles and Stéphane Denève. Annika’s most recent guest engagements have taken her to the Hamburg State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, the Opèra de Paris, the Semperoper Dresden and the Berlin State Opera. She has worked with such celebrated conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Edward Gardner, Ingo Metzmacher, alongside directors including Harry Kupfer, Hans Neuenfels, Luc Bondy, Claus Guth, Dmitri Tcherniakov and Johannes Erath, and with orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Berlin, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, with the Wiener Symphoniker, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Ensemble Modern. To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, Annika Schlicht has been engaged by the UNESCO World Orchestra for Peace as a soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Bernhard Berchtold

Austrian tenor Bernhard Berchtold studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Horiana Branisteanu and Hartmut Höll. He won many prizes at international competitions and made his debut in the framework of the HändelFestspiele Karlsruhe. Between 2003 and 2011 he was part of the Badisches Staatstheater where he sang a wide scala of repertoire. Bernhard worked with many renowned conductors, including Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Ton Koopman, Simon Rattle, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Helmuth Rilling and Masaaki Suzuki. Recent highlights include his appearances at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Opera di Firenze and Staatsoper Hamburg. In 2009 he made his debut at the Teatre de la Maestranza Sevilla and the Dresdner Staatsoper. These performances were soon followed by invitations from amongst others the Teatro Comunale Bologna, Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, Staatsoper Hannover, Staatsoper München, Opéra Lyon, Teatro Verdi Trieste and Theater an der Wien, as well as the Salzburger Festspielen. In 2013, he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival, and soon after at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where he has been a regular guest ever since.

Brian Mulligan

American baritone Brian Mulligan is equally renowned as an interpreter of classic works by Verdi, Wagner and Strauss as well as of the most challenging twentieth and twenty-first century operas. His striking stage portrayals have taken him to leading opera houses throughout Europe and North America. He makes regular appearances with the leading US orchestras and in recital. He begins the 2019/20 season with a role debut at Houston Grand Opera as the title role in Rigoletto. Later this season, he also returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago for its presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, singing Gunther and Donner in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, respectively. Recent highlights include his role debut as Mandryka in Arabella in a return to San Francisco Opera conducted by Marc Albrecht. He recorded Guglielmo in Puccini’s Le Villi for Opera Rara and performed the work in concert in London under the baton of Sir Mark Elder. He returned to Zurich Opera as Zurga in Les Pecheurs de Perles. He also made a double debut with Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, first as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and then as Golaud in a new production of Pelleas et Melisande. Further highlights include the release on Bridge Records of his second solo CD Old Fashioned which features beloved songs of the early twentieth century made popular by great American baritones of the past. In recent seasons, Brian Mulligan returned to Oper Frankfurt for his role debut as Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. He has also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with Plácido Domingo in the title role and James Levine conducting. He returned to Opernhaus Zürich for his signature role of Valentin in Faust, and Yeletsky in Robert Carsen’s production of Pique Dame. At the Minnesota Opera, Mr. Mulligan created the role of Jack Torrance in the world premiere of The Shining, written by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell.