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Zana Shuteriqi Prela

(b Tirana, Albania, June 27, 1963). Albanian soprano . She graduated in 1986 from the Higher Institute of Arts in Tirana, where she studied with her mother, who was a professor there. In 1987 she won the Singer of Albania competition, and then the George Enescu Competition in Bucharest, the Grand Prix ‘Madam Butterfly’ in Barcelona, and the Placido Domingo International Voice Competition in Paris. During 1993, with Domingo, she toured Europe and the USA, which opened the doors to cooperation with important theatres and conductors. From the early days of her career, she excelled in several Verdi-repertory roles: Oscar in Un Ballo in mascara (Opera of Monte Carlo); Nanetta in Falstaff (La Scala, the Ravenna Festival, etc.); Gilda in Rigoletto (Verona Arena, Music Center of Los Angeles, etc.); Violetta in La traviata (Deutsche Oper Berlin, New National Theatre in Tokyo, Covent Garden in London, etc.). Other roles in her repertory include: ...

Article

Nicola Scaldaferri

[Gjergji, Ludovik Ndoj]

(b Shkodër, Albania, 11 Nov 1923; d Shkodër, 27 Dec 2015). Albanian singer. His name is linked in particular to the musical repertoire of Ahengu and Kânge Jare, songs in which Ottoman musical roots blend with Western influences.

Born into a family from the Mirdita region, from childhood he was interested in the urban song of Shkodër. Between 1945 and 1947, in Tirana, he came to the fore as a performer with the ensemble Grupi Karakteristik Shkodran directed by Paulin Pali. In 1947 he took part in the performance of Dasma shkodrane, by Prenkë Jakova, an important pioneer of Albanian musical theatre.

In the early 1950s Bik Ndoja emerged in the musical milieu of Shkodra by singing on the radio, in the House of Culture, and at the Perlat Rexhepi musical club.

During the years of the dictatorship, he continued to live in Shkodra and worked as a tailor, though his renown as a singer grew steadily, thanks to his activity at Radio Shkodra and Radio Tirana, and at the local ...

Article

Nigun  

(Heb.: ‘melody’; pl. nigunim

In the liturgical music of the Ashkenazi Jews, an early form of centonized chant, also known as nusa . Among the East European Ḥasidic Jews, the term refers to a type of vocal music, often sung to nonsense syllables and accompanied by dancing, of which one of the important forms is the ...

Article

Karel Steinmetz

(b Ostrava, 7 June 1953). Czech folk singer, poet, and composer. After completing his studies at Gymnasium (1971) and at a school of librarianship, he entered the field of popular music as a writer of lyrics (he has written song texts principally for singers from Ostrava). As a guitarist, violinist, flautist, and accordionist he is entirely self-taught. In the 1980s he began to appear at Czech festivals of folk music, singing songs of his own with their distinctive texts. Gradually he has become one of the most popular of Czech singers. He mainly sings his own songs, but also translations of songs by the Russian composers Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzha, and settings of the poems of Aleksandr Blok. He has set, and sung, poems by the Czech poets Petr Bezruč and Jiří Šotola. His songs owe their popularity largely to the fact that he sings of ordinary people living ordinary lives; they are lyrical and epic, and often ironical and extremely funny. Nohavica is fond of using the dialect of the Ostrava and Těšín region. He has also produced successful translations of opera libretti for works performed at the Ostrava Opera (for example, Mozart’s ...

Article

Fatima Hadžić

(b Sarajevo, Bosnia, March 4, 1904; d Belgrade, Serbia, Oct 24, 1993). Bosnian soprano. Born in a rich and highly educated Muslim family, daughter of the renowned writer Osman Nuri-Hadžić, she began her music education in her native Sarajevo, where she attended piano lessons at the private music school Glasbena škola F. Matějovský. After her family moved to Belgrade in 1921, she continued her music education at the music school there, where her outstanding vocal talent was spotted by an experienced singing teacher, Ivanka Milojević. On Milojević’s advice, she went to Vienna to study singing. In 1928, she graduated from the Academy of Music in Vienna in the class of T. Lierhammer. From 1928 to 1931 she performed as soloist of the Stadttheater in Bern, where she sang at 23 premières and reprises, including the role that made her famous, Salome, in the opera by Richard Strauss. At the encouragement of the Serbian composer Stevan Hristić, she returned to Belgrade in ...

Article

Carole Pegg

[throat-singing, chant biphonique, chant diphonique, höömii]

A vocal style in which a single performer produces more than one clearly audible note simultaneously. In melodic overtone-singing styles, a drone is produced on the first harmonic or fundamental and a flute-like melody created from a series of upper harmonics or overtones. In non-melodic styles, overtones may occur because of the pitch of the fundamental drone combined with the vocal sounds being enunciated, for instance when Mongols sing the bass overtone-singing style harhiraa höömii or Tibetan dge lugs pa monks in Gyume and Gyütö monasteries chant using a profound bass in the chest register. Overtone-singing may also comprise a rich tapestry of harmonics without the presence of a drone.

Myths of origin vary. Tuvans believe that overtone-singing originates in lullabies sung by women dating back to the time when humans first inhabited the earth, or that it originates in the environment; Khalkha Mongols cite musical communications between natural phenomena and the effects of such sounds on humans. Both Tuvans and Mongols generally refute connections posited by Europeans of its relationship with Shamanism, Buddhism or the jew's harp. Given their beliefs about the spirits of nature, however, overtone-singing may traditionally have been linked to folk-religious practices....

Article

J.B. Steane

(It.: ‘passage’, ‘transit’)

The singing voice is generally recognized as comprising three ‘registers’, the high, middle and low; the ‘passaggio’ is the point at which two of them meet. It is often at the crucial point in the ‘passaggio’ that a singer may be most conscious of a dilemma concerning method of production. For the tenor, for instance, ...

Article

Milena Bozhikova

[Alex Penda ]

(b Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 24, 1970). Bulgarian opera soprano . She has worked under the pseudonym Alex Penda since May 2012. She was born into a well-known family of musicians; her grandfather is Sasha Popov, one of the most prestigious figures in 20th century Bulgaria, a violinist, conductor, and the founder of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra; her mother, the soprano Valerie Popova, sang regularly at La Scala (1983–6) and was Pendachanska’s first vocal teacher. Pendachanska graduated from the National School of Music, Sofia, with a degree in piano and singing. She made her debut at 17 as Violetta in La traviata. She won the Antonin Dvorak International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary at age 19 (1989), the International Vocal Competition in Bilbao (second prize, 1988), and the UNISA singing competition in Pretoria (1990). Since her international début as Lucia di Lammermoor in Bilbao (...

Article

Zana Shuteriqi Prela

(b Elbasan, Albania, Sept 23, 1981). Albanian tenor . After earning the diploma in violin at 16 in Elbasan, he graduated in 2002 in singing from the Conservatory Claudio Monteverdi in Bolzano (Italy), where he studied with Vito Maria Brunetti. During his studies he met tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who helped him to perfect a number of roles in his repertory. He has been awarded a series of first prizes in lyric festivals, including the Caruso and Tito Schipa, both in 2002, which became determinant factors in the rise of his singing career. That same year he was invited by Claudio Abbado to sing the role of Ferrando in Così fan tutte in Ferrara, which he interpreted again two years later at the Salzburg Festival with Philippe Jordan conducting. In 2008 he was chosen by Woody Allen to sing in Los Angeles the role of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. He has performed at a number of notable opera houses, including the Vienna State Opera (...

Article

Greer Garden

(Fr.: ‘carrying of the voice’)

In Baroque vocal and instrumental music, an appoggiatura, particularly one that resolves upwards by a tone or semitone. Deriving from late 16th-century Italian improvisatory practice – Bovicelli's Regole, passaggi di musica, madrigali et motetti passeggiati (1594/R) contains written-out examples – it became one of the most important graces of French Baroque music. In France it was rarely printed before the late 17th century, but was left to the performer to add extempore. Bacilly explained in his Remarques curieuses sur l'art de bien chanter (1668/R, 4/1681; Eng. trans., 1968) that the accessory note anticipated the beat and took value from the preceding note. Perfection, he continued, lay in its also taking ‘some of the value’ of the note of resolution, as this enabled one to linger on the accessory note.

In his Méthode claire, certaine et facile pour apprendre à chanter la musique (...

Article

John Rosselli

(It.: ‘first musician’)

In the 17th century, Musico meant a professional singer or musician of either sex; it later came to mean a castrato. With the decline and then the disappearance of the operatic castrato after 1800, the practice of assigning a leading male part (primo uomo) to a high voice continued from about 1800 to 1850 with a woman singing in breeches, described as primo musico (or simply musico). As with the older primo uomo part for castrato, the primo musico role was usually that of a lover or aristocratic friend (such as Tancredi in Rossini’s opera or Maffio Orsini in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia). A musico was often but not invariably a contralto or mezzo-soprano; Giulia Grisi had a contract as both prima donna and primo musico and demanded that it be rewritten to specify primo musico soprano (to Alessandro Lanari, 9 July 1830, I-Ms Coll. Casati 659)....

Article

Peter Holman and Robert Thompson

Member of Purcell family

(d Westminster, London, England, Aug 11, 1664). Singer. He is named as a performer in the 1656 edition of William Davenant's Siege of Rhodes, The. After the Restoration he became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and on 16 February 1661 he was appointed a singing-man and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey. At this time he and his wife Elizabeth (d 1699) probably had three or four young sons, including (3) Henry (ii): the eldest, Edward, was aged five or six. Their daughter Katherine was baptized in Westminster Abbey in March 1662; (4) Daniel, if he was a son of (1) Henry (i) and not (2) Thomas, may have been born after his father's death, as he was still a Chapel Royal chorister in 1682. Administration of Henry's estate, worth £32 3s, was granted to Elizabeth in the court of the dean and chapter of Westminster on ...

Article

Peter Holman and Robert Thompson

Member of Purcell family

(d Westminster, London, England, July 31, 1682). Singer and court official, probable brother of (1) Henry Purcell (i). One of four Grooms of the Robes named shortly before the Restoration ( GB-Lbl Egerton MS 2542, f. 354), he soon afterwards became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and subsequently held further musical and other appointments at court; these included the post of composer for the violins, though there is no evidence that he actually wrote music for the royal violin band. On 24 June 1672 he succeeded Henry Cooke as marshal of the Corporation of Music. He was evidently a trusted and influential court official as well as a versatile musician, well placed to advance the career of his presumed nephew (3) Henry (ii). Unless (4) Daniel Purcell was their son, none of the several children born to Thomas Purcell and his wife Katherine became musicians, though one, Francis, followed him into court service. There is a catch, ...

Article

John Caldwell

(Middle Eng.: ‘quadruple’; from Lat. quadruplus or quadruplex, modified by analogy with ‘treble’ from Fr. triple)

A voice or part pitched somewhat higher than the treble, occasionally designated quatriplex in polyphonic sources such as the Eton Choirbook ( GB-WRec 178). Here the usage is clearly related to the Latin quadruplum in its sense of a fourth voice, above the triplum, in a motet (Franco of Cologne: ‘Qui autem quadruplum vel quintuplum facere voluit’). In the ‘quatrebil syghte’ of improvised discant, as taught in Leonel Power’s ...

Article

John Caldwell

(Middle Eng.: ‘fivefold’; from Lat. quin[que] and ‘ible’)

A voice or part apparently pitched even higher than Quatreble. But the 15th-century English treatises which refer to the quatreble do not mention the quinible; and although quintuplum can mean the fifth voice of a motet, or the five-part motet itself (Franco of Cologne: ‘Qui autem quadruplum vel quintuplum facere voluit’), the English word seems to be used only in the general sense of a high-pitched song or voice (Chaucer, ...

Article

Michael Meckna

(b Albion, NY, Oct 23, 1928; d Ashland, OR, Aug 12, 2000). American composer and tenor. Born into a musical family, he toured as a youth, appearing both as a pianist and a boy soprano. After attending the Eastman Preparatory School (1941–4), he was a pupil of Vivian Major and William Willett at SUNY, Fredonia (BM 1950), then of Wolfgang Niederste-Schee while on a tour of military duty in Frankfurt (1950–2). During this period he gave organ and piano recitals, and was a clarinetist in the 4th Division Infantry Band. At the Eastman School (MM 1954, DMus 1958) he studied with wayne Barlow , bernard Rogers , and howard Hanson . After holding several teaching positions he was a member of the music faculty of San Francisco State University (1959–80) and a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii (1970–1). He was active for many years as a concert tenor....

Article

Kelley Rourke

(b Madison, WI, June 3, 1960). American soprano. She has done her most important work at the extremes of the opera timeline, winning acclaim for interpretations of both early and contemporary repertory. In 1988 she played the roles of Poppea, Fortune, and Minerva in Stephen Wadsworth’s Monteverdi cycle at Skylight Comic Opera. She went on to appear in works by Monteverdi, Cavalli, and Handel in venues around the world, including Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera (Cooperstown, NY), Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona, Spain), and the International Handel Festival (Göttingen, Germany). Saffer has collaborated frequently with the composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, beginning with performances of Hans Werner Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers in 1988 at Tanglewood. She has been celebrated for her interpretation of Marie in Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, a role she has performed at Opéra Bastille, New York City Opera, and the English National Opera. As the title character in Alban Berg’s ...

Article

Sofia Kontossi

(b Athens, Greece Sept 8, 1936). Greek baritone. He began his vocal studies at the Athens Conservatory with Kimon Triantafyllou (1954–8) and graduated from Marika Kalfopoulou’s class (1963). He pursued his studies at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1963–7) with Max Lorenz (voice) and Paul von Schilhawsky (Lied, oratorio), where he also took classes in composition and conducting.

His career was launched in the Staatstheater Braunschweig (1967) as a performer of leading operatic roles of the Italian repertory, and expanded thereafter into all of Europe, America, and Australia. Acclaimed for his Lieder and song performances, he distinguished himself also in contemporary opera. Equally oriented towards concert repertory and experimental music, he gave an impressive number of world premières of works including those by Cage, Crumb, Xenakis, Ligeti, Bialas, Christou, Antoniou, Apergis, Kounadis, Kouroupos, Hadjidakis, Theodorakis, and Tavener. Numerous compositions have been created especially for his voice, while his fruitful collaboration with Xenakis yielded ...

Article

Eva Badura-Skoda and Roberto Pagano

Member of Scarlatti family

(b ?Palermo, 1669–72; d Naples, Aug 1, 1760). Tenor, brother of (1) Alessandro Scarlatti. He went to Naples at such an early age that he later knew nothing of his infancy in Sicily. He was apparently trained at the Conservatorio S Onofrio. On his marriage certificate (30 May 1701) he declared that he had never left Naples, but this detail conflicts with his presence in Crema at the beginning of the same year, when he was described as ‘virtuoso del duca di S Pietro’ and sang the principal role in Il Furio Camillo (the dedication on the libretto is dated 22 January 1701) and in L’innocenza giustificata. In 1703 he sang in his nephew Domenico’s Giustino in Naples. At the beginning of his career he played serious roles, but later specialized as a buffo tenor, contributing to the establishment of a Neapolitan version of an old ingredient of Venetian opera. Sartori (...

Article

John Rosselli

In 18th-century opera seria the seconda donna sang (as a rule) one of two female parts, less prominent than the Prima donna but still substantial; examples are Celia in Mozart’s Lucio Silla and Servilia in his La clemenza di Tito. With the late 18th-century inflation of titles denoting status she came to be known by the euphemism altra [‘other’] prima donna; perhaps because the Rome courts in 1835 chose to interpret this term literally, at the impresario’s expense, a secondary but substantial woman’s part (such as Fenena in Verdi’s Nabucco, 1842) was later known as comprimaria. The term seconda donna was now applied to small parts, typically those of confidantes or nurses. A Genoa court confirmed in 1866 that seconda parts were inferior in status to comprimarie.

G. Valle: Cenni teorico-pratici sulle aziende teatrali (Milan, 1823), 35–45 P. Ascoli: Della giurisprudenza teatrale (Florence, 1871), 101–2 E. Rosmini: La legislazione e la giurisprudenza dei teatri...