News

August 2019

Jennifer France debuts at the Salzburg Festival
Congratulations to Jennifer France who made a triumphant debut at the Salzburg Festival last month singing Pascal Dusapin's Medamaterial with Vocalconsort Berlin and the Akademie für Alte Musik conducted by Franck Ollu.
 

For Larissa Schütz at Austria Presse Agentur, Larissa Schütz, 

“The secret weapon in this thrilling evening was Jennifer France. In addition to her aptitude for contemporary music, the soprano is also known for her acting qualities, skilfully deployed during the short of hour of this performance, sometimes in monologue (spoken as well as sung), sometimes in dialogue with the chorus and speakers.”

 

For Gottfried Frank Kasparek at Drehpunktkultur,

“Jennifer France meets the demands of this extremely difficult role with dedication, a seemingly effortless coloratura soprano and also suitably expressive facial expressions. As far as possible, within a concert environment, she presents, rather than a fury, a deeply wounded woman drifting in to madness.”

 

For Walter Weidringer at Die Presse,

“Dusapin pushes his protagonist again and again up to the high E in her painful arabesques, which is far from child’s play, but the famous soprano Jennifer France masters this brilliantly. She stammers, cries and whines, or even, taken aback, speaks, her slight accent appropriate for a character who is a stranger: hurrah for a short but intense evening.”

 

For Karl Harb at Salzburger Nachrichten,

“Whether pushing her brightly projecting voice to stratospheric heights, or engaging in darkly whispered speaking passages, Jennifer France delineates the stages of her journey from thought to action, from indictment to insanity, from anger to despair, depending on her state of mind, even sometimes retreating in to silence. Even in a concert performance, one always felt that one was in a theatre.”

 

(Photographer: Marco Borrelli)

 

May 2019

Happy Birthday Rosalind Plowright!

As she celebrates her 70th Birthday, Rosalind Plowright OBE continues her performances as Contessa di Coigny in the revival of Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and sings Madame Arvidson in Opera Holland Park’s new production of Un ballo in maschera.

 

 

April 2019

Cardiff Singer Of The World 2019

James Black Management is pleased and proud to announce that Julien Van Mellaerts will represent New Zealand at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019. Winner of the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, the 2017 Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition and the Maureen Forrester Award at the 2018 Concours musical international de Montréal, Julien Van Mellaerts graduated from London's Royal College of Music with the Tagore Gold Medal.

December 2018

International Classical Music Awards

Two recordings featuring JBM artists have been nominated for the 2019 International Classical Music Awards:

Ensemble Diderot's German Cantatas with Solo Violin on Audax Records, conducted by Johannes Pramsohler featuring Jorge Navarro Colorado singing 'Ich will in aller Not' by Daniel Eberlin.

Classical Opera’s Grabmusik & Bastien und Bastienne featuring Alessandro Fisher as Bastien, on Signum.

   

November 2018

Critics praise Jorge Navarro Colorado in Jonas at ETO

There has been critical praise for Jorge Navarro Colorado in his debut with English Touring Opera singing the title role in Carissimi’s Jonas.

For The Guardian, Tim Ashley writes “It is deeply touching and Jorge Navarro Colorado sings Jonas’s great prayer with beauty and sincerity.”

For Sam Smith at Music OMH, “Jorge Navarro Colorado stands out, in particular, in the tile role.” 

For George Hall at Opera Now, “Jorge Navarro Colorado proves strikingly eloquent in the eponymous role of the Old Testament prophet...”

For The Spectator, Alexandra Coghlan praises “a strong central performance by Jorge Navarro Colorado.,..”

For The Times, Rebecca Franks writes “Just as Dido sings her great lament, Jonas prays for forgiveness, and the fervent devotion of the tenor Jorge Navarro Colorado feels genuine.”

Jonas plays in a triple bill with I Will Not Speak (staged madrigals by Gesualdo) and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas until 22 November.

 

August 2018

Autumn 2018 new season highlights

Autumn is already upon us! This new season sees a wide range of engagements for the artists of James Black Management. Here are a few highlights:

 

SOPRANOS

Marlena Devoe, having won a 2018 Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera at Wormsley, makes her debut with New Zealand Opera as Mimì in La bohème.

Jennifer France sings Her in the UK première of Dusapin’s Passion with Music Theatre Wales.

Anush Hovhannisyan sings Violetta in La traviata for her debut with Welsh National Opera.

Alwyn Mellor sings Gerhilde in Die Walküre for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Anita Watson sings Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for West Australian Opera.

 

MEZZO-SOPRANOS

Catherine Carby sings Siegrune in Die Walküre for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Rosalind Plowright, having made her Glyndebourne Festival Opera debut in Summer 2018, sings Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon for Angers Nantes Opera.

Samantha Price sings Sonia in War and Peace for her debut with Welsh National Opera.

Angela Simkin sings Flosshilde in Das Rheingold / Götterdämmerung for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Sarah Pring sings Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor for English National Opera.

 

COUNTERTENORS

Patrick Terry joins the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

 

TENORS

Alessandro Fisher, having made his Salzburg Festival debut in Summer 2018, joins the BBC New Generation Artist Scheme.

Peter Van Hulle sings Torquemada in L’heure espagnole for Mid Wales Opera.

Richard Pinkstone makes his debut with Scottish Opera on the 2018 Opera Highlights Tour.

 

BARITONES

Alexander Robin Baker sings King Hermann Augustus in Candide for Bergen National Opera.

Adrian Clarke sings Father Palmer in Silent Night for Opera North.

Stephen Gadd sings Monterone in Rigoletto for Scottish Opera.

Felix Kemp records Pierrot in Dame Ethel Smith’s Fête Galante with Odaline de la Martínez and Lontano for Retrospect Opera.

Ross Ramgobin makes his debut at the BBC Proms as Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury.

Julien Van Mellaerts, Winner of the Maureen Forrester Award at the 2018 Concours musical international de Montréal, makes his debut with New Zealand Opera as Schaunard in La bohème.

 

BASS

Lukas Jakobski sings Leuthold in Guillaume Tell at the Theater an der Wien.

 

CONDUCTORS

Nathan Fifield conducts Labyrinth (ballets by Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Joseph Hernandez and Ohad Naharin) for the Semperoper Ballett, Dresden.

Toby Purser conducts Stanford’s The Travelling Companion for New Sussex Opera, to be recorded by SOMM CD.

John Rigby conducts Classical Spectacular for Raymond Gubbay Ltd at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Reviews for Rosalind Plowright in Vanessa at Glyndebourne Festival 2018

Rosalind Plowright made her Glyndebourne Festival debut this Summer in Keith Warner’s new production of Vanessa conducted by Jakub Hrůša, reviewing much critical acclaim for her performance as The Old Baroness. A selection of the reviews:

“Rosalind Plowright makes her presence felt in the vocally unrewarding role of the Old Baroness, Vanessa's mother, who sings only to those who connect to life.” David Nice – The Arts Desk

“The Old Baroness is principally a silent watcher who doesn’t have much to sing, but some of her interventions come at crucial moments and Rosalind Plowright made the most of them: her retort to Erika that “he saw your money before he saw your eyes” was the most telling line of the evening.“
David Karlin - Bachtrack

“As conceived by Menotti, the Old Baroness is prone to mysterious, emblematic silence yet Rosalind Plowright manages to convey the bitter knowingness behind her withdrawal.” David Gutman - Classical Source

“Rosalind Plowright’s Old Baroness is a terrifying portrait of moral rectitude; though physically frail, the Baroness is a commanding presence, her silence both the judge and the punishment.” Claire Seymour - Opera Today

“…Rosalind Plowright magisterial as the taciturn Old Baroness.” Yehuda Shapiro - The Stage

“Rosalind Plowright captured the inflexible, unbending character of the Old Baroness.“ Robert Beattie - Seen and Heard International

“…as the Old Baroness Rosalind Plowright effects an imposing, often forbidding presence even when silent, garnishing the singing part of her role with her wonderful fruity mezzo.” Hugh Canning - The Sunday Times

“Rosalind Plowright and Donnie Ray Albert etch strong cameos as Vanessa’s mother and the family doctor.” Rupert Christiansen - The Telegraph

“…as the Old Baroness Rosalind Plowright effects an imposing, often forbidding presence even when silent, garnishing the singing part of her role with her wonderful fruity mezzo.” Stephen Pettitt - The Times

“…Rosalind Plowright, on fabulous dowager form…” Mark Valencia - WhatsOnStage

July 2018

Critical acclaim for Jennifer France at Opera Holland Park

Jennifer France received outstanding critical acclaim for her performance as Zerbinetta in Opera Holland Park’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos this summer.

“This living jewel in opera’s crown” WhatsOnStage

“There hasn’t mean a more meaningful Zerbinetta than young Jennifer France’s...” David Nice - The Arts Desk

“…surely the Zerbinetta of our dreams: nimble in her acting as she is agile in her singing; she exudes charisma and guile in equal measure.” Matthew Rye - Bachtrack

“Jennifer France’s Zerbinetta brings the Composer down to earth with a lovely blend of pragmatism and tenderness, then in the Opera opens out into a sensational account of the long coloratura aria ‘Großmächtige Prinzessin...” Peter Reed - Classical Source

“Jennifer France’s sparky Zerbinetta rises to the virtuoso challenge of her showpiece aria with aplomb.” George Hall - The Financial Times

“Jennifer France, whose sparkly, girlish Zerbinetta wins the evening.” Erica Jeal - The Guardian

“Jennifer France is a revelation as Zerbinetta, carrying off ‘So war es mit Pagliazzo’ with a glistening sound, excellent coloratura and real panache.” Sam Smith - Music OMH

“Jennifer France was the true Sirius in a stellar show, delivering her vocal acrobatics with astonishing athleticism, precision and expressive nuance, all the while performing a teasing strip-show. Languor and assertiveness were wonderfully melded in sensual sublimity. It was hard to tell who enjoyed it most; France or the mesmerised audience.” Claire Seymour - Opera Today

“Jennifer France’s fickle, sexy Zerbinetta…on terrific form…” Fiona Maddocks - The Observer

“Her command of the music means that she can negotiate the felicitates of the staging with ease; but it was the vocal fireworks that were most memorable. She commands the stage with her mesmerising presence; her sound enchants the ear.” Colin Clarke - Seen and Heard International

“…a show stopping coloratura striptease, performed by (Jennifer) France with spectacular vocal panache.” Richard Bratby - The Spectator

“Jennifer France embodies the role of the life-loving Zerbinetta, sparkling in the coloratura showpiece ‘Großmächtige Prinzessin’.” Inge Kjemtrup - The Stage

“…a dazzling display of coloratura singing…” Claire Colvin – The Sunday Express

“…Jennifer France’s star-turn as Zerbinetta.” Hugh Canning - The Sunday Times

“(Jennifer) France delivers coloratura thrills whilst swinging across the stage in the skimpiest of costumes.” Neil Fisher - The Times

“When it comes to Zerbinetta, a role of a gold for a coloratura soprano, we’re in star-turn territory. Jennifer France has been championed by OHP for several years now and she returns the company’s faith in her by delivering one of the performances of the year. Decked out like Marlene Dietrich, France performs an elaborate striptease during her 12-minute showstopping aria and, I swear, makes eye contact with every hot-blooded male and female in the audience. More importantly, this living jewel in opera’s crown sings the heck out of her music - helium notes and all.” Mark Valencia - WhatsOnStage