World-renowned American opera singer Jessye Norman is coming to Bratislava on April 15, Easter Sunday, for a one night - invitation only - performance.
US Ambassador to Slovakia Carl Spielvogel made the announcement at a press conference February 21, saying that the 55-year old soprano would perform at the Slovak National Theatre (SND) and be accompanied by the Slovak National Theatre Orchestra.
"It will be the most significant concert in Slovakia since [Spanish opera tenor] Jose Carreras came in 1991," said Peter Feranec, chosen as guest conductor for the performance. Feranec, who conducted the Bolshoy Ballet in Moscow from 1995-1999, added that "Jessye Norman is one of the greatest opera talents of the last century."
The concert will be co-hosted by Spielvogel, Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, President Rudolf Schuster and Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Kukan. The ambassador said that, as Norman had asked, 100 seats of the 600-seat theatre would be set aside for Slovak music students.
Music for the concert has not been selected, but Spielvogel said that Norman would perform with both the SND Orchestra and pianist Mark Marham, and that the orchestra would begin the show with selections of American music. In addition to opera, Norman may sing lieder (a type of German music) and American spiritual music.
When asked whether the concert would be televised, Spielvogel said that the possibility had not been explored, and that Norman's contractual obligations might be a barrier to such a broadcast.
At the end of the press conference, Spielvogel was asked if he would still be in Slovakia for the April 15 concert. The reporter cited expectations that the long-time supporter of the US's Democrats party would be recalled by the newly elected George W. Bush Jr. (a Republican) before Easter.
"We'll be here," he responded.
Spielvogel said that Norman would perform free. The Slovak National Theatre agreed to house the event free of charge, and the Slovak National Orchestra will also be playing without a fee.
26. Feb 2001 at 0:00 | Matthew J. Reynolds