Perhaps the afternoon’s most delightful surprise was the professional conducting debut of Christine Brandes, best known until now as a soprano of agility and intelligence. Those qualities have apparently carried over into her new career; she led the performance alertly and with a keen sense of dramatic nuance.
San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman
Brandes supported and reinforced her musical command with a supple, compelling demeanor. Her face bloomed open with hope and touching self-deception, hardened in fury and even captured the ticking processes of thought and self-scrutiny. It was a marvelous thing to behold. The string accompaniment wasn’t always as tightly controlled, but Brandes seemed to raise the Esterházy’s game to a higher, keener level than they had brought to the opening quartet.
San Francisco Classical Voice, Steven Winn
Noted for her radiant, crystalline voice and superb musicianship, soprano Christine Brandes brings her committed artistry to repertoire ranging from the 17th century to newly composed works and enjoys an active career in North America and abroad, performing at many of the world’s most distinguished festivals and concert series in programs spanning from recitals and chamber music to oratorio and opera.
Christine Brandes recently appeared with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in György Kurtág’s Scenes from a Novel and with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carlo Rizzi in Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue and has sung Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Handel’s Israel in Egypt at Carnegie Hall with the New York Choral Society. During the past season performances included a new production of Martín y Soler’s The Chastity Tree with West Edge Opera, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Oakland Civic Orchestra, a program of solo Bach Cantatas with the newly-established Cantata Collective in Berkeley, and recitals with frequent collaborator Eric Moe in California and Pennsylvania. Ms. Brandes also stepped onto the podium as conductor for a new production of Rameau’s La Sympathie with Victory Hall Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia.Read More
Ms. Brandes has given a series of important premieres including an Eric Moe commission entitled Of Color Braided All Desire with the Brentano String Quartet as part of the South Mountain Concert Series with further performances in New York City at the 92ndStreet Y, and Jennifer Higdon’s In the Shadow of Sirius, based on poetry of former American Poet Laureate, W.S. Merwin with the Cypress String Quartet at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.
Highlights of Ms. Brandes’ diverse and distinguished opera career include William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge at Washington National Opera, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Händel’s Giulio Cesare at Seattle Opera, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Händel’s Ariodante at Houston Grand Opera and San Diego Opera, and Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Los Angeles Opera. Additional performances include appearances at Glimmerglass Opera in Händel’s Orlando and Acis and Galatea, San Francisco Opera in Handel’s Semele, and at the Opera Company of Philadelphia in Die Zauberflöte, L’elisir d’amore, and Don Giovanni. Ms. Brandes has performed Le nozze di Figaro with New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Pacific, and with the opera companies of Minnesota, Montréal, Philadelphia, and Québec.
Symphonic appearances of the past include concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the batons of both Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen, performances of John Adams’s El Niño with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, St. John Passion with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Sir Simon Rattle and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with the Cleveland Orchestra and John Nelson, Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il moderato with the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Kennedy Center, conducted by Jane Glover, Mahler’s Second Symphony with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Beethoven’s Egmont with Wolfgang Sawallisch and Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with Sir Simon Rattle, both with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mozart opera arias and Strauss orchestral songs with the National Symphony Orchestra and Heinz Fricke, Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War with Bernard Labadie and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Andreas Delfs and the Milwaukee Symphony, the Canton Symphony, and paired with Berg’s Lulu Suite with the Santa Rosa Symphony. She also has bowed at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and at the Ravinia Festival as well as with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Freiburger Barockorchester, and the Handel & Haydn Society.
Christine Brandes has recorded for EMI, BMG/Conifer Classics, Dorian, Harmonia Mundi USA, Virgin Classics, and Koch International.
Bill Palant, Étude Arts
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