German-born mezzo-soprano Eva Vogel won her BA from Mannes College of Music in New York, and her Masters in Music from Yale University. She became a member of the opera studio at Cologne Opera, before being engaged as a permanent soloist at Düsseldorf Opera as well as Innsbruck Opera, where she was able to extend her wide repertoire with roles such as Orfeo in Gluck, Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Flora in La Traviata and Carmen.
A sought after guest soloist throughout Europe, she has made appearances with houses such as Staatstheater Nürnberg, Philharmonie Berlin, Auditorium Milano and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, has sung various Wagner parts at Aix-en-Provence festival and the Salzburg Easter festival, and has worked with renowned conductors such as Sir
Simon Rattle, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Pietari Inkinen and Ingo Metzmacher. Equally at home on the concert stage, the mezzo soprano has appeared in numerous symphony concerts and given recitals throughout the world.
In advance of her much anticipated appearance with the Ulster Orchestra and the Belfast Philharmonic Choir this Friday, she chatted to us about the beauty of the concert repertoire, her feelings on visiting Northern Ireland for the first time and her love of golf.
For me this will be the first time to visit Northern Ireland and I am really looking forward to it. I’ve always wanted to travel throughout the country when I was younger, and explore, play golf, watch the ships and of course get to know the people. As of now, I haven’t found the time to take a cross country trip, but it is still on my to-do list. During my high school years, I had a friend whose family came from Dublin and we would often discuss the political upheavals of the Troubles. It intrigued me to learn from a person my age who actually lived in a place we were taught about in school. Obviously times have changed and things are much calmer now but it will be interesting to talk to people and just get to know Belfast and its inhabitants a bit.
Apart from that, I have a huge affinity for nature and very much so for playing golf. Unfortunately my stay will be too short to take advantage of playing this time around, but at least I might be able to check it out and research for my next visit. Hopefully I will be able to hop on a bus and do some sight seeing as well. I heard that the beer is not so bad over there either, so I might have to try a few as well (after the concert only, of course!).
On her favourite pieces of music:
It’s very hard to decide on a favourite piece of music. Last week I sang Verdi Requiem and I must say last week that was definitely my favourite piece of music. It is usually the pieces I work on at that moment that become my favorites, since I completely focus on them and surround myself; I almost bathe in that music. This week it will be completely different repertoire, Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, which I absolutely adore. When I perform Recitals, so-called Liederabende, I often include a group of Mahler in the program. Just in September I sang Mahler’s Rückert Lieder in my recital. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen were first written for piano and then later orchestrated, and I’ve done them both ways. The last time I did them with orchestra was in Seoul, Korea, when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter. That was a challenge in itself, but I remember how much I love doing these wonderful songs with a beautiful carpet of instrumentation. Also, the psychological journey Mahler takes you through in this group is quite the trip and opens up so many interesting and dark as well as light places. So I can’t wait to do them again.
And the Elgar: well, I honestly wasn’t familiar with The Music Makers at all. I love Elgar, especially his Cello Concerto, so after having taken an initial look at the music, I wasn’t surprised how breathtaking this piece is. The chorus, the soloist, everyone gets to sing the most exciting and powerful music, together as well as apart. There are many places that will remind you of other music that Elgar wrote so in the end it is actually all quite familiar and yet so unique. I am surprised I haven’t come across it earlier in my career, especially since I studied music in an English-speaking country. I certainly hope that this won’t be the last time I will get the chance to perform it.
On the Ulster Orchestra:
This is my first time performing with the Ulster Orchestra and I am very excited about it. It looks like a great group of musicians and I am sure we will have fun together! I’ve worked with Duncan Ward in Berlin at the Philharmonie before and I know that he is such a talented and wonderful young conductor who will undoubtedly inspire all of us to find each other, to perform beautiful music together and give the audience an evening to remember.
Eva Vogel is appearing as guest soloist in ‘Homage to Music’, conducted by Duncan Ward, with the Ulster Orchestra and the Belfast Philharmonic Choir at the Ulster Hall this Friday 8th November at 7.45pm.
Tickets are priced from £8-22 and are available from www.ulsterorchestra.com or from the Ulster Orchestra Box Office at the Belfast Welcome Centre – tel: (028) 9024 6609
Find out more about Eva here.
Photo credit: Hoeberman New York