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The American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is one of the most outstanding singers of his generation. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate in both English and Music from Yale and King’s College, Cambridge, Lawrence made his operatic debut as Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream to great acclaim while completing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music, London.
He has since appeared in many of the world’s finest opera houses and concert halls. His opera roles include the title role in Giulio Cesare (Metropolitan Opera New York, Brussels, Seville, Bilbao), the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo (Netherlands), Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lyon, Toronto), Gualtiero in Scarlatti’s Griselda (Berlin Staatsoper, Innsbruck Festival); Goffredo Rinaldo (Berlin Staatsoper, Opéra de Montpellier); Ottone Agrippina (Brussels, Frankfurt, Theatre de Champs-Elysees), Giuliano in Cavalli’s Eliogabalo (Brussels, Paris), Ottone L’incoronazione di Poppea (Berlin, Brussels, Munich, Vienna); Endimione La Calisto (Munich, Brussels, Paris), Arsamene Serse (Theatre des Champs-Elysees, English National Opera), and the title role in Handel’s Sosarme (Sao Carlos, Lisbon).
Lawrence is also a keen advocate of 20th century and contemporary music. His Paris Opera debut was as Kreon in Liebermann’s Medea. He created the role of Trinculo in Thomas Ades’ The Tempest at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and has sung Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici in Brussels, New York, and Rouen. He is closely associated with the role of Mascha in Peter Eötvos’ Three Sisters which he has performed in several productions in Lyon, Brussels, Edinburgh, Vienna, and the Netherlands. He made his BBC Symphony Orchestra debut in their commission of Jonathan Dove’s Hojoki, and also sang the Refugee in Dove’s Flight for the Glyndebourne Festival.
Lawrence has a working relationship with many distinguished conductors in the fields of Baroque and contemporary music, including René Jacobs, William Christie, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christophe Rousset, Harry Bicket, John Nelson, Ivor Bolton, James Conlon, Joshua Rifkin, Christopher Hogwood, Peter Eötvos, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Trevor Pinnock, Jordi Savall, Harry Christophers, and Paul Goodwin. He was the first western countertenor invited to China to sing Messiah at the Shanghai Opera. His international concert career highlights include: Jephtha in Graz with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Theodora in Halle with Trevor Pinnock, the title roles of Handel’s Lotario and Riccardo Primo with the Kammerorchester Basel in a European tour and recording with Paul Goodwin, Messiah with Rene Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester and in Notre Dame Cathedral with John Nelson and L’ensemble orchestrale de Paris, Bach Lutheran Masses under Joshua Rifkin in Leipzig, the St. Matthew Passion in Ambronay and Köthen with the Akademie fuer Alte Musik, the title role in Handel’s Amadigi with Christopher Hogwood and the AAM in London and Birmingham, the title role in Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba with the Berliner Symphoniker, Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus and Gloria with the Israel Camerata, the B Minor Mass in Gdansk, and Saul in Berlin and Lisbon with René Jacobs and Concerto Köln. An accomplished recitalist, he has given many around Europe, most recently at the Rheinvokal Festival, the MA Festival Bruges, the Festival d’Opera Baroque de Beaune and the Wiener Konzerthaus.
Future plans include the title role in Radamisto at the English National Opera, the title role in Giulio Cesare with Nathalie Dessay as Cleopatra in a new production for the Paris Opera, Gluck’s Orfeo in Toronto, and his first Farnace in Mitridate in Munich with Ivor Bolton. In March 2011 he will make his Wigmore Hall debut with a piano recital of American songs.
His recordings include Rinaldo, Messiah, Griselda and Saul for Harmonia Mundi; Serse and Fernando for Virgin Classics, Partenope for Chandos, Deborah for Naxos, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater for Columns Classics, Riccardo Primo and Duetti Amorosi for Sony BMG, as well as Byrdland, the music of William Byrd and Dowland with the Paragon Saxophone Quartet, for Landor Records. A world premiere recording of Handel’s 1735 version of Athalia, as well as a lute recital of early and contemporary mad songs, Lunarcy, will be released next year on the Sony BMG and EPR labels.