Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Janowitz, Gundula

(b Berlin, 2 Aug 1937). German soprano. She studied in Graz and made her début in 1960 as Barbarina at the Vienna Staatsoper, where she was engaged for 30 years. Early roles there included Pamina (which she recorded with Klemperer), Purcell’s Dido, Mimì, Marzelline and, in 1964, the Empress (Die Frau ohne Schatten). At Bayreuth (1960–62) she sang a flowermaiden and Woglinde; at Aix-en-Provence (1963) Pamina; and at Glyndebourne (1964) Ilia. She made her Metropolitan début in 1967 as Sieglinde, which she also sang at the Salzburg Easter Festival (1967–8) and recorded for Karajan. At Salzburg she sang Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva, Fiordiligi (1968–72), the Marschallin and Ariadne (1978–81). In 1972 she sang a memorable Agathe with Böhm in a new production of Der Freischütz in Vienna, and in 1973 was Mozart’s Countess at the reopening of the Paris Opéra. She appeared at Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin and La Scala, and made her Covent Garden début in 1976 as Donna Anna, returning as Ariadne (1987). Her other roles included Leonore (which she recorded under Bernstein), Elisabeth, Eva, Freia, Arabella, the Countess (Capriccio), Aida, Odabella and Amelia (Boccanegra).

Janowitz was also an accomplished lieder singer, outstanding in Schubert and Strauss, and a noted oratorio soloist. Her acting, once merely dignified, later became more committed. Her singing was sometimes criticized for being a little cool; but her voice, a full-toned lyric soprano of uncommon purity, was one of the most beautiful to be heard in the 1960s and 1970s. Among her most admired recordings are Countess Almaviva, Ariadne and the Countess in Capriccio, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with Karajan and various choral works.

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