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ANNAMARIA POPESCU

Montreal, Canada

Annamaria Popescu is a Canadian-born mezzo-soprano who has graced the operatic and concert stages of Europe, Asia and North America. A native of Montréal Canada, Ms. Popescu studied at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and the Atelier Lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal. She is best known for her refined technique in singing, the warm and velvety quality of her tone and her ability to communicate with the audience.

She has sung throughout Europe and Asia. The highlight of her career includes over 14 productions at the Teatro alla Scala with over 100 performances, having made her debut in Les Troyens by Berlioz in 1996, she has become the Canadian singer to perform the most at La Scala. Amongst her recordings, the complete songs of Rachmaninoff with pianist Howard Shelley was followed by rave reviews. She has sung under the baton of Riccardo Muti, Sir Colin Davis, Bruno Bartoletti, Charles Dutoit, Andrew Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Myung Whun Chung and many others. As a recitalist she collaborates with Michael McMahon in Montreal and James Vaughan in Milan.

Annamaria Popescu has recently been giving masterclasses in the interpretation of Italian and French repertoire at various Canadian colleges, universities and young artists programs. Her keen interest and experience in the use of language in music and vocal technique have led her to teach voice and Italian diction for singers as Assistant Professor at McGill University in Montréal, Canada since September 2010. She now shares her time between her homes in Italy and Montréal.

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Constantine orbelian

Kuanus City, Lithuania

World-Renowned Grammy nominated Maestro, Constantine Orbelian, hailed by Opera News as “the singer’s dream collaborator,” is currently the General and Artistic Director of the National Opera and Ballet Theater of Armenia, Music Director of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra of Lithuania, as well as founder and Music Director of the Palaces of St. Petersburg International Music Festival.

For the past 20 years, the brilliant American pianist and conductor has been a central figure in Russia’s musical life. Orbelian’s appointment in 1991 as Music Director of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra was a breakthrough event: he is the first American ever to become music director of an ensemble in Russia, while also music director of the Philharmonia of Russia, as well as a frequent guest conductor with other illustrious Russian orchestras, conducting hundreds of performances. Maestro Orbelian also has an immense discography with over 30 recordings on Delos, with some of today’s greatest operatic stars, Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Sondra Radvanovsky, Lawrence Brownlee and many others, resulting in three seperate Grammy Award nominations. The maestro also has been the music director and conductor in major televised events including, ‘A Musical Odyssey from St. Petersburg’ with Renée Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, which was broadcast around the world and on the PBS Great Performances Series, as well as with Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Anna Netrebko for historic live telecasts from Moscow’s Red Square.

Orbelian continues to use his artistic eminence in the cause of international goodwill and ambassadorship. He is a tireless champion of Russian-American cultural exchange and enrichment programs, from his performances at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the United Nations in San Francisco, to his performance at the U.S. State Department commemorating 70 years of diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow. Orbelian also led the opening Ceremonial Concert for the Cultural Olympics in Sochi, Russia — the first event setting the stage for Russia’s hosting of the Olympic Games in 2014.

Born in San Francisco to Russian and Armenian emigré parents, Constantine Orbelian made his debut as a piano prodigy with the San Francisco Symphony at the age of 11. After graduating from Juilliard in New York, he embarked on a career as a piano virtuoso that included appearances with major symphony orchestras throughout the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Russia and his recording of the Khachaturian piano concerto with conductor Neeme Järvi won “Best Concerto Recording of the Year” award in the United Kingdom. Orbelian has also been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award given to immigrants, or children of immigrants, who have made outstanding contributions to the United States, the Order of Friendship Award by the Republic of Armenia, and was awarded, by President Putin, the coveted, “Honored Artist of Russia,” a title never before bestowed on a non-Russian citizen.

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VALENTINA FARCAS

Bucharest, Romania

Internationally-acclaimed Romanian Soprano, Valentina Farcas has worked with some of the foremost conductors and directors of our time including Maestros Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Kirill Petrenko, Jaap van Zweeden, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kurt Masur, Fabio Luisi, Rene Jacobs, Fabio Biondi, Ivor Bolton, Jeffrey Tate, Bruno Bartoletti, Bertrand de Billy, Thomas Hengelbrock, Alessandro de Marchi, Riccardo Frizza, Christopher Hogwood, and directors Stefan Heerheim, Damiano Michieletto, Barrie Kosky, Laurent Pelly, Daniele Abbado, Cristina Muti, Guy Joosten and others. She has performed at the Theater an der Wien, Salzburg Festival, Teatro Regio Torino, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Komische Oper Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Dallas Opera, Teatro San Carlo Napoli, Teatro Regio di Parma, Tokyo Symphony, Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, Opera National de Lyon, Semperoper Dresden, Ravenna Festival, Savonlinna Festival, Spoleto Festival, Opera de Lausanne, Theatre de Champs-Elysees, Theâtre Capitole du Toulouse, Teatro Municipal Santiago Chile, and the Wiener Musikverein.

Recent appearances include Nanetta in Falstaff with the Teatro Regio di Torino directed by Daniele Abbado where critics wrote “Lunare Valentina Farcas nelle vesti di Nanetta. La voce cristallina corre perfettamente nella sala del Regio di Torino, permettendo al pubblico in sala di apprezzare tutte le sfumature della parte. Celestiale nella difficile aria finale, il soprano esalta con filature e smorzature la liricità della fanciulla innamorata. L’uso corretto della respirazione e del legato le hanno consentito di delineare una figura evanescente e onirica”, Bach St. Matthew Passion with Maestro Jaap van Zweeden and the Dallas Symphony, her Japanese debut with Despina in Cosi fan tutte with Maestro Jonathan Nott (opposite Sir Thomas Allen) and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, a return to Hong Kong for the Waldvogel in Siegfried with Maestro Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (as part of a new complete Ring Cycle recording), a concert of Handel arias with NDR Radiophilharmonie and Maestro Paul Goodwin, and Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Maestro Fabio Biondi at the Festival Reate di Rieti, produced on CD by Glossa Musica.

Upcoming concert/operatic engagements include a return to Maggio Musicale Fiorentino for Mendelssohn Paulus with Maestro Fabio Luisi, a concert and CD release of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with Maestro Paavo Järvi, and baritone Mattias Goerne, and her role-debut of Amenaide in Rossini’s Tancredi, among others.