On September 25, 2012, ATMA Classique announces the release of Prima Donna, the latest recording by Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin. The CD, which is a tribute to Handel’s muse, the baroque diva Anna Maria Strada del Pò, features the Arion Baroque Orchestra led by guest conductor Alexander Weimann. Prima Donna includes rarities by Vinci, Vivaldi and some of the greatest Handel bravura arias.
Born in Bergamo, Italy, Anna Maria Strada del Pò was active as a singer from 1719 to 1741, and made her London debut on December 2, 1729 in Handel’s Lotario. During her career, the composer created no fewer than thirteen roles for her, including Elmira in Sosarme, Angelica in Orlando and the title role in Alcina. She also sang in eleven revivals-- often with arias reworked especially for her (such as in Flavio), as well as oratorios. Strada del Pò was one of only three singers for whom Handel wrote a high C. The soprano’s talent and style may have influenced the composer’s work as much as he contributed to the vocal and dramatic development of the prima donna in the first decades of the 18th century.
Karina Gauvin has impressed audiences and critics the world over with her luscious timbre, profound musicality and wide vocal range. The Globe and Mail calls her “one of the dream sopranos of our time.” The Sunday Times in London wrote, “Her glinting soprano, bright-edged yet deliciously rounded and sensual, is used with rare understanding for character.” Ms. Gauvin’s repertoire ranges from the music of J.S. Bach to Luciano Berio, and her discography for ATMA Classique has included more than 10 recordings featuring music by Bach, Britten, Fauré, Handel, Mahler, Mozart, Popora, Poulenc, and Purcell. Upcoming recording projects for Ms. Gauvin include a live concert recording of Handel’s Messiah with Tafelmusik scheduled for October release; a new disc of Mozart arias for ATMA Classique; and a recording of Giulio Cesare also featuring contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux on the Naïve label.
Ms. Gauvin’s upcoming performances in 2012 include the Tanglewood Music Festival on August 22; a European tour of Vivaldi’s Gloria with the B'Rock Belgian Baroque Orchestra Ghent in September; Rodelinda with Il Complesso Barocco at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris and Madrid in October; the Green Music Center Sonoma, CA, October 13; Vancouver Symphony, November 10-12; and Charlotte Symphony, November 16-17. From November 30 through December 2, Ms. Gauvin will sing in the Handel and Haydn Orchestra Society’s performances of Handel’s Messiah in Boston. Ms. Gauvin appears with the ABC Melbourne Symphony, Australia from December 14-16, 2012. Performances in 2013 include the Luminato Festival Toronto, June 18; Societe d'Art Vocal, June 27; the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on July 29; an evening of Mozart arias with Orchestra National de Bordeaux 2013, plus appearances at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Munich Staatsoper, Netherlands Opera and Théâtre des Champs Elysées in 2013-2014.
Karina Gauvin has sung with major orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Accademia Bizantina, Il Complesso Barocco, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Musica Antiqua Köln, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Les Violons du Roy. On the operatic and concert stage, she has performed with conductors as diverse as Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano, Semyon Bychkov, Roger Norrington, Alan Curtis, Christopher Hogwood, Helmuth Rilling, Andrea Marcon, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bernard Labadie, and Christophe Rousset. Also active as a recitalist, she has collaborated with several chamber music ensembles and with pianists Marc-André Hamelin, Michael McMahon and Roger Vignoles. In addition to Karina Gauvin’s solo discs produced by the ATMA Classique label, many of her recordings have been nominated for a Grammy and have won prizes at the JUNO and Opus awards. More recently, her characterization of Manlio in Vivaldi’s opera Tito Manlio on the Naïve label with the Accademia Bizantina under Ottavio Dantone was called “riveting” by Opera News. Other notable recordings of Handel operas include Ariodante with Joyce DiDonato for Virgin Classics, and Ezio, Tolomeo, and Alcina on Deutsche Grammophon with Il Complesso Barocco, conducted by Alan Curtis.