One of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, Magdalena Kožená was born in Brno and studied in her hometown and in Bratislava.
Her recital appearances have taken her to London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Tokyo, San Francisco, to New York’s Alice Tully and Carnegie halls, and the leading European festivals – working with pianists including Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Malcolm Martineau, András Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida.
In concert she has collaborated with many of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Berlin, Vienna, Rotterdam and Czech Philharmonic orchestras, the Philadelphia and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She works with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Mariss Jansons, Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, Jiří Bĕlohlávek,
Sir Roger Norrington and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
In the 2018/19 season, Magdalena begins by joining the baroque ensemble, Collegium 1704 on a tour of the Czech Republic. In December 2018 she will appear as Phèdre in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie at the Deutsche Staatsoper under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. Other engagements this season include Handel’s Messiah with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Robin Ticciati, a recital tour with pianist Mitsuko Uchida, and Das Lied von der Erde with Sir Simon Rattle, and the Czech Philharmonic.
Video & Audio
A behind-the-scenes look at Magdalena Kožená‘s Amor: entre el cielo y el infierno project, on tour […]
20:15 24 Jun 2018 Waldbühne, BERLIN More info
Conductor: Simon Rattle
Mezzo-Soprano: Magdalena Kozena
Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
20:00 31 Jul 2018 Eglise de Verbier, VERBIER More info
GABRIEL FAURÉ La Bonne Chanson, Op. 61
ERNEST CHAUSSON Chanson perpétuelle
20:00 03 Aug 2018 Eglise de Verbier, VERBIER More infoMore Info Coming Soon...
19:30 18 Aug 2018 Royal Albert Hall, LONDON More info
BBC Radio 3 – deferred Relay – will be broadcast on 26 August
All soloists to be off book.
RAVEL Mother Goose Ballet
RAVEL L’enfant et les sortileges
Conductor: Simon Rattle
time TBC 07 Sep 2018 TBA, city TBC More infoMore Info Coming Soon...
19:00 10 Sep 2018 Lucerne Festival, LUCERNE More info
RAVEL Mother Goose Ballet
RAVEL L’enfant et les sortileges
time TBC 13 Sep 2018 Die Glocke, BREMEN More infoMore Info Coming Soon...
time TBC 15 Sep 2018 Kölner Philharmonie, COLOGNE More infoMore Info Coming Soon...
time TBC 17 Sep 2018 venue TBC, city TBC More infoMore Info Coming Soon...
From The Green Room
PELLEAS ET MELISANDE
Label: LSO Live
Release Date: 06 Oct 17
London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Simon Rattle
Christian Gerhaher Gerald Finley
**** ‘[This release] is a credit to the LSO’s own record label… Gerald Finley’s composed yet menacing Golaud is superb, and to have Bernarda Fink and Franz-Josef Selig as Geneviève and Arkel is real luxury casting. Under Rattle’s leadership the orchestra is a true protagonist in the drama.’
Erica Jeal, The Guardian
Prayer: Voice and Organ
The Art of Magdalena Kozena
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 12 Apr 13
Mezzo-soprano: MAGDALENA KOZENA
Le Belle Imagini
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 15 Jun 12
Mezzo soprano: MAGDALENA KOZENA
Conductor: Michel Swierczewski
Love and Longing
14 Feb 18 Héroïnes baroques Le Concert d'Astree National Concert Hall, Dublin
“Kozena is one of those performers who makes singing seem like an entirely natural activity.”
01 Dec 16 Héroïnes baroques Le Concert d'Astrée Opera de Lille
“Magdalena Kozena habite son personnage, auquel elle donne une vie intense, passionnée. Une grande tragédienne servie par des moyens exceptionnels”
“Sous la direction tonique de la chef française, la mezzo tchèque emballe son monde : timbre, inflexions, grâce. Elle est l’une des stars règnant aujourd’hui sur les scènes internationale”
02 Nov 16 VIVALDI 'Juditha Triumphans' Venice Baroque Orchestra The Barbican Centre, London
“The concert was billed as a vehicle for Magdalena Kožená in the title role, and indeed she has done nothing finer, singing with great lustre and remarkable subtlety of characterisation: the way in which she gradually revealed Judith’s innate loathing of Holofernes beneath the femme fatale allure was superbly done…Staggering, all of it, from start to finish.”
20 Sep 16 Recitals with Malcolm Martineau European concert halls tour
“Magdalena Kozená lebt diese Musik mit Emotionen…Kozená hat einen Feinsinn für die Gestaltung musikalischer Linien.”
Berner Zeitung, Isabelle Bischof, September 2016
15 Aug 16 WOLF, DVORAK and SCHOENBERG Recital with Malcolm Martineau Queen's Hall, Edinburgh
“Magdalena… excels at story-telling… Her mature voice is a rich and powerful instrument and this was an opera star’s song recital, brimful of tales, with Encounter and Forsaken Servant Girl telling choices in her selection from Hugo Wolf’s Morike Songbook…it was a beautifully structured and paced programme.”
The Herald Scotland, Keith Bruce, August 2015
05 Apr 16 Deutsche Grammophon MONTEVERDI (CD) La Cetra Barockorchester
“Especially attractive is the madrigal Lamento della ninfa with Kožená accompanied by a male chorus of Jakob Pilgram (bass), Michael Feyfar (tenor) and Luca Titoto (bass). As the nymph abandoned by her lover, Kožená is in quite ravishing form demonstrating her renowned creamy timbre…With steadfast concentration Kožená excels in this demanding score displaying a range of often complex emotional states. Her tuning, phrasing and projection is splendidly maintained…It is hard to fault this marvellous recording featuring Kožená at the peak of her powers. I can see this album having a broad appeal, speaking to those both familiar and new to Monteverdi.”
Michael Cookson, Music Web International, April 2016
“Her voice (Magdalena Kozena) – proven versatile over many recordings – is a good fit for the sublime music of Monteverdi…Kozena’s steely but vulnerable tone lends itself well to the more sorrowful moments of her latest CD…Although a mezzo-soprano, Kozena possesses strong and brilliant top register, something she shows off to great effect in ‘Quel sguardo sdegnosetto’… I predict that this will be a favourite recording of 2016.”
Australia’s Reading magazine, Alexandra Mathew
“Auf CD führt nun die Mezzosopranistin Magdalena Kozená zusammen mit dem Basler Orchester La Cetra unter der Leitung von Andrea Marcon wunderbar vor, wie selbstverständlich es ist, Monteverdis Musik heute zu singen. Sie vermittelt die Arien körperlich und sinnlich verspielt: Spannend auch zu hören, wie Kozená sich nicht (mehr) scheut, Expressivität über die Ästhetik zu stellen. Die Aufnahme ist eine Rückkehr Kozenás zu ihren Barockwurzeln und zeigt, dass dieses Repertoire nach wie vor ideal für sie ist.”
Christian Berzins, Kultur-Tipp, April 2016
02 Mar 16 MONTEVERDI, IVANOVIC and BERIO La Cetra Barockorchester European Tour
“Kožená expressed a feeling for irony equalled perhaps only by Woody Allen… Magdalena Kožená has continued along her original path. And she is possibly now at the peak of her career. It is difficult to conceive of anywhere left for her to go in this type of art… ”
Petr Fischer, Czech Republic, March 2016
“… As always, Magdalena Kožená was perfect when performing the baroque repertoire and her performance could not be faulted even in the slightest…”
Svatava Barančicová, Czech Republic, March 2016
“…An unprecedented musical-dramatic piece has been created, which bridges genres and functions as a spring water thanks to its humour and the flawless persuasiveness of the performer in both roles, i.e. specialised as a singer and simply stylised as an actress…”
Petr Veber, Czech Republic, March 2016
“… Kožená not only demonstrated her excellent vocal abilities, but also imbued the entire performance with intelligent humour…”
Věra Drápelová, Czech Republic, March 2016
“Monteverdi’s “Combattimento”: an early Baroque three-person drama about life and death and war and love, here shrunk into the form of a one-woman show…It worked because Kozena’s stage personality is so versatile and so charismatic…Monteverdi: Pure expression from another world, without electricity, without damage waiver, without scruples… Kozena sang her part – clearly, directly, highly emotional. And there was magic, as though the ink was not yet dry on the manuscript paper…”
Joachim Mischke, Hamburger Abendblatt, March 2016
“…after the opening stanzas, an extra element butted in: colloquial English speech, set as skittish recitative by Kozená’s fellow Czech Marko Ivanović. It twisted the Monteverdi into a portmanteau creation called Ariana Has a Problem; wicked, funny and very pleasurable…Joy continued as our heroine traversed Sequenza III, Luciano Berio’s solo sprint through syllable babbling, squeaks, coughing and the occasional sustained note lingering from music’s rubble…The concert’s chief glory: Kozená’s unadorned voice, offering all the drama that any music needs.”
The Times, Geoff Brown, March 2016
“Man gerät ins Staunen, mit wie vielen Farbnuancen Magdalena Kožená ihren Mezzosopran gestaltet. Dazu kommen das dynamische Spektrum und die Variation des Tons je nach Intensität und Ausdruck. Ganz gerade, vibratolose Töne, laute Töne mit Vibrato, leise, gehauchte Töne, in der Höhe, in der Tiefe. So wird eine fast nur deklamatorisch-rezitativische Arie zu einem Ereignis…Während bei Ivanovic unterhaltsamer Klamauk im Vordergrund stand, war das zweite zeitgenössische Stück, Luciano Berios berühmte “Sequenza III für Frauenstimme” solo, zwar auch unterhaltsam, aber dazu noch tiefgründig und intelligent…Magdalena Kožená faszinierte mit der Vielseitigkeit ihrer Stimme, mit farblichen und dynamischen Nuancen, mit variablem Vibrato und ungeheurer Virtuosität…Höhepunkt des Konzerts war nach der Pause Monteverdis opernhaftes Madrigal “Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda”, eine Geschichte aus der Zeit der Kreuzzüge.Eigentlich singen hier drei Personen, doch Magdalena Kožená übernahm alle Rollen allein. Noch einmal demonstrierte sie ihre fantastische Gesangs- und Schauspielkunst…Ein Konzert der Extra-Klasse.”
Elisabeth Richte, NDR Kultur, March 2016
“Es braucht beherzte Interpreten der Gegenwart, die uns zeigen, wie unerhört diese Musik einmal war. Magdalena Kožená und das La Cetra Barockorchester Basel unter Andrea Marcon wissen genau, wie das geht…Die Kožená deutet den Text der Ottavia-Arien aus Monteverdis “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” mit jeder Faser ihres Sängerkörpers hoch sensibel und klug aus. Herrlich rollt sie das italienische R in “martiri” und “tormento” – von welchen Schmerzen die verschmähte Gattin des Kaiser Nero singt, versteht einfach jeder…Die mit Spielwitz gesegnete Magdalena Kožená schafft es dennoch locker, vokal und darstellerisch zwischen Erzähler, Kreuzritter und schöner Sarazenin hin- und herzuspringen. Monteverdis Modernität beweisen seine Spätfolgen.”
Die Welt Hamburg, March 2016
29 Jan 16 DVORAK, CHUASSON, STRAVINSKY, RAVEL, STRAUSS Chamber Music Residency Wigmore Hall, London
“Kozená was on the top of her best form, wielding her ochre-tinted mezzo… gliding effortlessly between French, German, English and Czech in piquant songs by Dvorák, Chausson, Stravinsky, Strauss, Ravel, Janácek: definitely a connoisseur’s choice…Whatever her repertoire or vocal register, Kozená hit the spot: hugging the desolate gloom of Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle; spiking each angular phrase in Stravinsky’s Three Songs from William Shakespeare; languid, then fierce, in Ravel’s Chanson madécasses; or following the Shakespeare line in very contrasting Ophelia songs by Strauss (dramatic) and Brahms (touchingly euphonious).”
★★★★★ Geoff Brown, The Times, January 2016
“Several of the pieces were about love and loss, with two settings of Ophelia’s sad, deranged little ditties, from Strauss and Brahms. Kožená seemed to vibrate in sympathy with these songs, and…she made the songs very moving. The most extreme moment was her despairing outcry in Ravel’s Chansons madécasses where the singer warns: “Do not trust the whites.” This she captured wonderfully; the little throwaway line at the end felt ponderous…Much the best things in the evening were those songs where Kožená could spin a beautiful creamy line in her lower range, cushioned affectionately by the assembled players. The most sheerly beautiful moments came in two songs by Brahms, where violist Amihai Grosz, Rattle at the piano, and Kožená all intertwined their phrases with lovely, unforced grace.”
★★★★ Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, January 2016
“The first half was intriguingly programmed, mostly songs on a Shakespearian theme. Kožená wove gleaming, elastic threads around the muted strings and piano in Chausson’s Chanson Perpétuelle… Rikadla, Janáček’s succinct, strident nursery-rhyme settings, were vividly done, with Marriner and Rattle cheeky and incisive; and Kožená’s voice glowed in seven Dvorak songs, given in new arrangements involving the whole ensemble.”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, January 2016
“…this was really Kožená’s night, a gourmet menu of hidden jewels of the song repertoire.After a tautly sprung Music to hear Kožená mined the dark mystery of Full fathom five before whirling into the chattering birdsong of When Daisies Pied. A finale of Dvorák songs, beautifully arranged by Rattle protégé Duncan Ward, found Kožená at ease, singing from the soul.”
★★★★ Helen Wallace, The Evening Standard, February 2016
“‘Celebrating Magdalena Kozena’ was the title, and I’ve never seen this Czech mezzo so relaxed in recital, so in control of her material, so triumphantly happy…from start to finish this was a flawless performance…Each group of songs brought its own particular sound-world, with Kozena colouring her voice accordingly, moving from burnished fullness to sighing resignation in the Chausson, singing with exhausted languor in the Ravel, with pert comedy in the Janacek (where each song was a joke cut off in mid-phrase), and with ravishing smoothness in Brahms’s glorious Ophelia-Lieder, each of which was one single musical thought. Stravinsky’s Three Songs from William Shakespeare were diamond-hard, exquisitely-delivered miniatures, and Strauss’s Drei Lieder der Ophelia came over with dazzling brilliance. A fascinating evening, which absolutely requires a repeat.”
★★★★ Michael Church, The Independent
“In French music… her lambent mezzo, lit with radiance from within, sounds especially well suited, making Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle and Ravel’s coruscating Chansons madécasses among the recital’s highlights…To end, the contrasting Czech styles of Janáček’s pithy Ríkadla (“Nursery Rhymes”) and a selection of Dvořák’s romantic songs…offered first wit and then middle-European sentimentality. It was a delightful evening.”
★★★★ Richard Fairman, The Financial Times
09 Jan 16 DEBUSSY 'Pelleas et Melisande' London Symphony Orchestra and Berliner Philharmoniker London and Berlin
“As Mélisande, Magdalena Kožená was a compelling physical and vocal presence…she was wonderful in the final scene of the
fourth act, admitting her feelings to Pelléas with a cautious tenderness, and her extended delirium in the fifth act was close to perfect.”
Jesse Simon, Mundo Classico, January 2016
“Magdalena Kozená, was Mélisande, and a very knowing one — her eyes forever telling a more calculating story than the words coming couched in velvet tones from her lips. She certainly seemed more manipulator than victim in a castle full of damaged humanity.”
★★★★ The Times, Richard Morrison, January 2016
“There’s no denying that Mélisande is a role that suits Kožená, making sense of the singer’s series of performing ticks and sitting in a comfortable place vocally for this mezzo-soprano.”
The Arts Desk, Alexandra Coghlan, February 2016
“Magdalena Kozena (Mélisande) managed to make even “ouvrez la fenêtre” sound magical and brought a suitably wide-eyed innocence to the role…”
The Evening Standard, Barry Millington, January 2016
“As Mélisande, Magdalena Kožená’s mezzo-soprano achieved an excellent balance between directness and fullness…”
Music OMH, Sam Smith, February 2016
“Magdalena Kožená as Mélisande and Christian Gerhaher as Pelléas both offered high-class singing…”
“…the singers are as fine as one could wish for, led by Magdalena Kozena as a Mélisande by turns dreamy and distraught.”
New York Times, David Allen, January 2016
“Magdalena Kozena made such a feisty Mélisande that the usual balance of the love-triangle was completely reset. She exuded hungry sexuality in her initial encounters with Golaud and his brother Pelléas, and as her pregnancy swelled she brought to mind a lovesatiated figure in a Pre-Raphaelite painting; she fought tigerishly with Golaud before his mortal blow.”
The Independent, Michael Church, February 2016
05 Oct 15 SCHUMANN, DVORAK, SCHOENBERG Residency with Mitsuko Uchida Wigmore Hall, London
“there was nothing to be faulted in the delivery of her words; everything was forward and direct. In her delivery of the poems attributed to Mary Queen of Scots, as set to dark, static music by Schumann, there was a solemn resolve that gave way to a stab of emotion when the imprisoned bade a hopeless farewell to her friends…That voice, with its distinctive silvery tone somewhere between a bright soprano and a rich yet natural-sounding mezzo, sounded fresh and glowing…The best for both artists came with seven numbers from Schoenberg’s Brettl-Lieder, in which the arch-modernist-to-be tries on cabaret for size. Kožená was in her element, animated and entertaining, and the bravura piano episodes found Uchida finally letting fly.”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, October 2015
“Magdalena Kožená and Hendrik Heilmann convince with an idiosyncratic program in Hamburg… Which singer can, alone, vocally fill the great Laeiszhalle and pin the audience to their seats? Kozená can. She had not fallen ill to the Autumn ‘bug’ that had hit her piano partner Mitsuko Uchida, so the singer performed with pianist Hendrik Heilmann – with an unchanged program…From the opening bars of Schumann’s late, archaic Liedern auf Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, the audience is pulled into their spell with the intensity of their music making. Kozená shows the pain of parting, concern for a child or and premonitions of death, making our skin and hair stand on end…The German love songs op. 83 by Dvorák are a discovery in Kozena’s interpretation. It is touching to hear how musically at home she is in her native language.”
Hamburger Abendblatt, October 2015
11 Sep 15 ELGAR 'The Dream of Gerontius' Wiener Philharmoniker Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms)
Magdalena Kožená sang the part of the Angel with intensity…her over-dramatic performance fitted in well with the middle-European feel of the evening, and her low notes were magnificently sonorous.
★★★★ Music OMH, Barry Creasy, September 2015
“Magdalena Kozena, when she settled into her role as Angel, her singing radiated a majestic earth-mother stillness.£
★★★★★ Michael Church, The Independent, September 2015
“Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená was an Angel with a voice of autumnal richness and heartfelt expression.”
ClassicalMusic.com, Rebecca Franks, September 2015
30 Jul 15 DEBUSSY 'Ariettes oubliees' Australian World Orchestra Sydney Opera House
“Kozena’s performance (of Debussy’s Ariettes Oubliees) was intimate in phrase but demonstrative in gesture, with understated expressiveness in the lower voice and a sense of colour as the upper voice opened out.”
Sydney Morning Herald, Peter McCallum, August 2015
“One of the evening’s many delights was a “rediscovery” of Debussy’s Ariettes oubliees (Forgotten Songs) — six poems by Paul Verlaine which the French composer set for mezzo soprano and piano…And what a revelation this was, the exquisite set with Dean’s adventurous but respectful settings highlighting Kozena’s radiant top register and fine expressive range.”
The Daily Telegraph Australia, Steve Moffatt, July 2015
02 Apr 15 R STRAUSS 'Der Rosenkavalier' Festspielhaus Baden Baden
“…Magdalena Kožená was a very satisfying Octavian. The voice has a youthful ardour that is fully appropriate to the role. It stretches her to her limits and she sang with wonderfully rounded and youthful tone. She was a highly energetic stage presence and gave us some wonderful Viennese dipthongs as Mariandel. She sang with real generosity and feeling and blended wonderfully with her colleagues.”
Opera Traveller, April 2015
14 Feb 15 MAHLER Symphony no.2 Berliner Philharmoniker Royal Festival Hall, London
“Mezzo Magdalena Kožená was strikingly assertive, almost operatic in her confrontation with the angel in Urlicht…”
The Guardian, Tim Ashley, February 2015
“Kozena’s burnished tones in the 4th movement Primeval Light, combined in the fifth movement’s with Royal’s ethereal soprano, led to the choral finale and the orchestra pulling out all stops. Rattle looked as if he and his baton were about to take off altogether, but he seemed as energetic as ever during the applause, turning attention to the orchestral players. A magnificent evening.”
The Express, Clare Colvin, February 2015
17 Jan 15 CHARPENTIER 'Médée' Theater Basel
“The mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená sings the role of Médée in Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s 1693 opera at the Theater Basel with an earth shattering intensity. Her clear and distinctive voice develops throughout, bringing maximum expression and incredible depth to the music. She impressively tells the story of the human tragedy of these great lovers. Through every word, every gesture she demonstrates the strong emotions of the text. Kozena unfolds the whole palette of tone colours of anger and this effect is increased throughout the opera whereupon she is transformed into a demon. Kozena is the master of the art of recitative which is so important in the French Baroque opera. Her singing-speaking is thrilling and full of vitality.”
Christian Fluri, BZ Basel, January 2015
07 Oct 14 BACH St. Matthew Passion Berliner Philharmoniker The Armory, New York
“The mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena was moving from her first aria, “Buss und Reu” the expression of a believer hoping that her repentant tears will heal her beloved Jesus. Ms. Kozena’s plush singing was touched with sensuality, a quality made more explicit by the way she massaged the burdened, sore shoulders of Mr. Padmore’s Evangelist as she sang Bach’s yearning phrases.”
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, October 2014
“Magdalena Kozena nonetheless inhabits her stipulated character fully. Her heartfelt “Have mercy, God!” with sweet-toned violin accompaniment was one of the highlights of the evening. So was her duet with the radiant soprano Camilla Tilling, who sings Bach’s soprano arias with impressive nuance.”
Barbara Jepson, Wall Street Journal, October 2014
06 Sep 14 BACH St. Matthew Passion Berliner Philharmoniker Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms)
“…Sellars’ staging allowed every performer – including instrumentalists, choir and conductor Simon Rattle – to move with agility. This was especially important for the soloists, who were given the freedom to use the stage’s space. Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená took advantage of this. In her aria ‘Buss und Reu’ (‘Repentance and remorse’) her movements were a natural extension of her words, and her quirky gestures in ‘Sehet! Sehet, Jesu hat die Hand’ (Behold! See, Jesus has his hand’) were utterly engaging. Her singing meanwhile was characterful, capturing both misery and sweetness.”
Hazel Rowland, Bachtrack, September 2014
“The burnished mezzo of Magdalena Kožená was perfectly apt for this staging, and it was good to hear Kožená at the very top of her game. Her “Du lieber Heiland du … Buss’ und Reu’”, with obbligato flutes, was a highlight in a performance wherein it seems churlish to select highlights. As she sang, she massaged Padmore’s back, her phrasing deliciously shaded. Later, post-interval, her aria “Erbarme dich, mein Gott” was magnificently poignant. And later, the staggeringly original scoring of the recitative “Erbarm es Gott!” seemed to inspire her to deliver a stunningly anguished vocal line.”
Colin Clarke, Seen + Heard International, September 2014
“From her first aria, Buss’ und Reu’ she [Magdalena Kozena] displayed a fabulous technique, singing the passagework smoothly and evenly… Here, and elsewhere, the music was always very light on its feet. Erbarme dich was thankfully a quiet pause, with Kozena stationary on stage…and joined by the fiddle player for a sublime duet.”
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, September 2014
Interviews & Articles
Magdalena Kožená speaks to Hugh Canning from The Sunday Times about her year of residencies in the 2015-16 season.
The full interview can be read here.
“The Wigmore events (the last actually at Wilton’s Music Hall, in the East End) are certainly ambitious. The first of her four programmes, with Mitsuko Uchida at the piano, and performed twice (October 2 and 5), covers a remarkable range of repertoire. The opening recital combines Schumann and Wolf with Dvorak and Schoenberg, whose cabaret songs point to the final concert in the series, at Wilton’s, The Melody Makers, for which she will be joined by a big band in songs by Cole Porter. Rattle is scheduled to make his hall debut in works combining piano and other instruments by Chausson, Ravel, Brahms — the beautiful late songs — and Dvorak (January 29).
Perhaps the most imaginative part of the series is her collaboration with Andrea Marcon’s Italian group, La Cetra, with whom she will perform works by the baroque master Monteverdi and the modernist Luciano Berio (March 8). She relishes the prospect of such diversity. “Absolutely. These days, it’s quite rare in classical music to have an opportunity to do a project like this. I said, we don’t want to do conventional concerts, we want to do something special and crazy, so that’s why I ended up with Cole Porter and a semi-staged Monteverdi-Berio programme.”
Magdalena Kožená speaks to Dorothee Fleege from Concerti Magazine about her early life, her career so far and family life.
Read about it here
Facing the Music in The Guardian – the singer tells us about her musical tastes on and off the concert platform February 2015:
How do you listen to music?
These days I mostly listen on Spotify and sometimes CDs in the car. I listened to vinyl when I was very young, but now we don’t even have a record player.
What was the last piece of music you bought?
Charpentier’s opera Médée – I was studying it (for the Swiss premiere at Theater Basel) – it was the version with Bill Christie and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson singing the main part.
What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
Probably listening to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald recordings – I like anything she did! Maybe the Cole Porter songs too, which I love.
Read more here
Article in Der Tagesspiegel ahead of Magdalena Kozena’s appearance in L’Etoile at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin, December 2011:
O die Fröhliche Magdalena Kozena ist in Weihnachtsstimmung: An der Staatsoper Berlin singt sie in der Oper „L’Etoile“ Und sie freut sich schon jetzt auf Festtage mit den Bräuchen aus ihrer tschechischen Heimat Brünn.
Heidestraße 14, ein unscheinbares Lagerhaus, die Probebühne der Staatsoper. Es herrscht das gewollte Chaos: gestreifte Sessel, ein Laminat-Büfett, Hochzeitstorten aus Papier, auf der Anrichte eine leere Whiskyflasche, ein Staubwedel, ein Kugelschreiber-Clip hält Autogrammkarten mit Wowereits Porträt. Eben beginnt hier wieder ein Stern zu leuchten.
Denn alles ist Teil einer Inszenierung, die im Dezember noch einmal ins Schillertheater kommt. „L’Etoile“ von Emmanuel Chabrier hat schon 2010 das Publikum begeistert. Jetzt kehrt diese Oper voller Witz und Seitenhiebe auf aktuelle Politik zurück in ein vorweihnachtlich geprägtes Dezemberprogramm.
Vom 4. Dezember an ist sieben Mal Sternenzeit. In der Titelrolle ein Weltstar:
Mezzosopranistin Magdalena Kozena. Am Pult ihr Ehemann, einer der weltweit prominentesten Dirigenten: Simon Rattle.
Der Weltstar posiert eben auf dem rot-goldenen Thron vor der provisorischen Bühne:
groß, schlank, langer, blonder Mozartzopf, spitze schwarze Stiefel, hohe Hacken. Der Thron steht ihr gut, ist aber fremdes Terrain. Er gehört nicht zur Rolle von Magdalena Kozena, sondern zu der eines zu kurz geratenen Regenten, dessen Name für seinen Charakter steht: Ouf, gesprochen: uff! Sie selbst spielt Lazuli und ist in „L’Etoile“ kaum wiederzuerkennen: ein junger Typ von der Straße, Kurzhaarperücke, graue Klamotten, Hut auf, freche Pose. „Hosenrollen bin ich als Mezzo gewöhnt“, sagt sie. „Am Anfang meiner Karriere war ich noch neidisch auf Sopranistinnen. Die hatten immer die tollen Roben und durften ihre langen Beine zeigen. Als Mann auf der Bühne hat man so viel übereinander an, immer ist einem warm. Aber mittlerweile reizen mich die Rollen. Anders gehen, anders dastehen. Jeder Satz muss kraftvoll kommen.“ In „Der Stern“ darf sie ein junger Herzensbrecher sein, ein Leichtfuß mit viel Chuzpe. „Ich weiß, so kennt man mich gar nicht. Aber ich finde, humorvolle Rollen liegen mir. Obwohl ich Bühnentode ja sehr liebe. So viel Drama – und danach darfst du trotzdem weiterleben. Toll, oder?“ sagt sie auf Englisch. Dass die Staatsoper es mit einer komischen Oper weihnachten lässt, findet sie wunderbar. „We need more comedy in our life.“ Und ein Weihnachtsmensch ist sie sowieso.
Der Tagesspiegel November 2011