Magdalena Kožená & La Cetra
A gem of the Bærum Kulturhus Anniversary Season 23-24: Magdalena Kožená & La Cetra
The final of the 20th anniversary season for Bærum Kulturhus and its Sandvika Master Series is a true baroque feast: the Czech star mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and noted Swiss baroque ensemble La Cetra.
The soprano and ensemble have composed a highly varied concert programme, featuring their favourite works by Uccellini, Monteverdi, Merula, Castello, Händel and Vivaldi.
A defining voice
Born in the Czech city of Brno, Magdalena Kožená studied voice and piano at the Brno Conservatory and with Eva Blahová at Bratislava’s Academy of Performing Arts. The recipient of several major prizes in the Czech Republic and around the world, Magdalena came to prominence at the Sixth International Mozart Competition in Salzburg which she won in 1995.
Magdalena was signed as an exclusive artist by Deutsche Grammophon in 1999 and immediately released her first album of Bach arias on its Archiv label. Her recital debut recording followed, which was an album of songs by Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů, which appeared on Deutsche Grammophon’s yellow label in 2001 – the same year she was honoured with Gramophone’s Solo Vocal Award. She was named Artist of the Year by Gramophone in 2004 and has since received numerous other prestigious awards, including the Echo Klassik, Record Academy Prize Tokyo, and Diapason d’or. In 2017, Magdalena forged a long-term relationship with Dutch classical music label Pentatone and in May 2019 released her debut album for the label; Il Giardino dei sospiri, which features a collection of scenes from secular cantatas on tragic love by Handel, Leo and Marcello, accompanied by harpsichordist Václav Luks and the Czech baroque orchestra Collegium 1704. Her second album Soirée is an intimate chamber music recording, encapsulating the essence of informal, domestic music making and her most recent recording Nostalgia was created in collaboration with Yefim Bronfman.
Magdalena has worked with the world’s leading conductors during her illustrious career, including Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Roger Norrington.
Her list of distinguished recital partners includes the pianists Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Malcolm Martineau, András Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida, with whom she has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and at the Aldeburgh, Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals. Magdalena’s understanding of historical performance practices has been cultivated in collaboration with outstanding period instrument ensembles, including the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Il Giardino Armonico, Les Musiciens du Louvre, La Cetra Barockorchester Basel, and Le Concert d’Astrée. She is also in demand as soloist with the Berlin, Vienna and Czech Philharmonics and the Cleveland, Philadelphia and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras.
A season of highlights
Magdalena bookends her 2022/23 season with two European piano recital tours: Firstly with Yefim Bronfman at Edinburgh, Merano and Helsinki Festivals, Philharmonie Essen, Musikfest Berlin and Schloss Elmau and later with Mitsuko Uchida in Antwerp, Dortmund, Budapest and Prague Spring Festival. She re-joins her friends at Venice Baroque Orchestra for a concert tour of South America, performing a programme inspired by Handel’s Alcina and looks forward to reviving the role of Varvara Katja Kabanova in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra and returning to Mozartwoche Salzburg in a semi-staged performance of Don Giovanni.
On the opera stage, Magdalena returns to the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin for Idamante (Idomeneo) and makes her operatic debut at the Gran Teatro del Liceu as Ottavia (Poppea). She also makes her much anticipated role debut in the title role of Alcina with Les Musiciens du Louvre in a tour to Paris, Hamburg, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.
Claude Monets allé 27