Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
McGegan and his forces underscored the resourceful extravagance of Handel’s 1744 masterpiece. But just as in the score itself, this was an occasion on which David walked off with the crown.
That would be Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, the extravagantly gifted young countertenor whose every appearance only serves to add luster to an already remarkable level of accomplishment. At 25, an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, he seemed poised to redefine what’s possible for singers of this distinctive voice type.
For one thing, Cohen’s singing boasts a combination of ethereal beauty and robust physicality that few countertenors can quite achieve. David, who appears in “Saul” in the double guise of angelic musician and mighty warrior, draws on both sides of this artistry.
San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman
There were several good singers…But there was only one complete artist. At just 23, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen…already possesses a remarkable gift for intimate communication in a vast hall, combined with a voice of velvety gentleness — surprisingly penetrating given the tenderness of its texture. While most young performers in the National Council Auditions concentrate simply on nailing their high notes, Mr. Cohen — his diction superb, his acting alert without overplaying — provided an eloquent reflection on a current international crisis… Expressive yet dignified, his phrasing confident and his ornamentation stylishly discreet, he brought tears to my eyes. Mr. Cohen was deservedly named one of the competition’s six winners, but he stood clearly apart from the pack… There was only one singer who could plausibly stand with the voluptuous-voiced Jamie Barton, the commanding Amber Wagner and the impassioned Michael Fabiano — the distinguished previous winners who performed while the judges deliberated. Mr. Cohen is ready.
The New York Times, Zachary Woolfe
After hearing Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s Nirenus in HGO’s fall production of Handel’s “Julius Caesar,” more than one operagoer could be heard wishing the young countertenor had been cast in the title role. Sunday, they got their wish, as Cohen and soprano Mané Galoyan teamed up for Caesar’s final duet with Cleopatra. Cohen’s commanding stage presence, gorgeous tone and musical sensitivity – at one point decrescendoing down to a limpid pianissimo that Montserrat Caballé would envy – were all on display here, as earlier in his supernaturally exotic Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In performances with HGO, the Studio, Ars Lyrica and elsewhere about town, Cohen is having an extraordinary year.
Houston Chronicle, Erik Skelly
Recently recognized in the 2019 GRAMMY® Awards, 25-year-old American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is one of opera’s most promising rising stars. First Prize Winner and Audience Choice Award recipient at the 2018 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, in his breakout 2016-2017 season, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen was awarded the Grand Prize of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was the recipient of a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. He was First Prize winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, and winner of the Irvin Scherzer Award from the George London Foundation. His first commercial recording project – the world premiere recording of Kenneth Fuchs’ Poems of Life with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta – was recently honored with a 2019 GRAMMY® Award in the Best Classical Compendium category, which honors albums with multiple soloists and multiple works.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen joined San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program in autumn 2018 and he makes a main stage debut with the Company as Medoro in Orlando in a bold new production by English director Harry Fehr in summer 2019 under the baton of Christopher Moulds. Performances of the season also include the role of David in Handel’s Saul with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, including for his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ottone in Handel’s Agrippina in staged performances with Ars Lyrica Houston conducted by Matthew Dirst and directed by Tara Faircloth, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Matthew Dirst and the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the world premiere of a ballet by Yuri Possokhov with the San Francisco Ballet, and a gala concert with American Bach Soloists, with whom he then records his debut solo album. He covers the role of Polinesso in Handel’s Ariodante conducted by Harry Bicket at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.Read More
The New York City native became the first countertenor in the history of the Houston Grand Opera Studio where he was a member during the 2017-18 season. His performances for the company included the roles of Nireno in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Second Maid in Strauss’ Elektra, both under the baton of Music Director Patrick Summers. He made his Cincinnati Opera debut in a new production by Zack Winokur of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea conducted by Gary Thor Wedow and appeared in concert programs of Bach and Handel with the American Bach Soloists and with Ars Lyrica Houston.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen made his European debut at the Theater an der Wien singing Timante in Gluck’s Demofonte with Baroque ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, under the baton of Alan Curtis. His opera roles also include Nerone and Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Raphael (The Angel) in Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel, The Son in Philip Glass’ The Juniper Tree, and Cefalo in Cavalli’s Gli Amori di Apollo e Dafne. The artist’s experience in the world of sacred music is no less impressive and highlights include serving as the alto soloist in Bach’s Magnificat with the Leipzig Barockorchester in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from Princeton University (with a concentration in Intellectual and Cultural History) and was awarded academic certificates in Vocal Performance and Judaic Studies. During his senior year, he became the first singer in a decade to win the Princeton University Concerto Competition and he was awarded the Isidore and Helen Sacks Memorial Prize for extraordinary achievement in the arts, granted each year by Princeton University to the student of greatest promise in the performance of classical music.
Poems of Life, London Symphony Orchestra
Ottone: Ars Lyrica HoustonVideo
Flight: George London Foundation
Bill Palant, Étude Arts
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