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Ivan Kusnjer, baritone

Ivan Kusnjer, baritone, >>the King of Czech singers<<      Dubbed “the King of Czech Singers” by Czech music critics, Ivan Kusnjer (born 1951) is justly acknowledged as the leading baritone in the Czech Republic today. His appearances in the role of Forester in Janáček's opera The Cunning Little Vixen include performances at the Teatro Real in Madrid, La Fenice in Venice and at the Sao Carlos Theatre in Lisbon. Last he has performed Verdi's Macbeth and Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila with the Prague National Theatre Opera and Janacek's Excursions of Mr. Broucek on concert with BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek at London Barbican Hall. He is reknown as one of the greatest interpreters of Orff's Carmina Burana which, in addition to his 5 recordings for 5 different labels, he has performed in concert all over the world and he gave his 208th performance in 2007.

Ivan Kusnjer as Macbeth, Prague National Theatre, 2002      Ivan Kusnjer's international career has natu-rally ushered into his repertoire a gallery of roles in such major works as The Barber of Seville, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Bohème, Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, I Pagliacci, as well as the less frequently performed The Duenna by Prokofiev or The Tacit Woman by Richard Strauss. Moreover, his astounding musicality enables him to demonstrate his affinity for contemporary music in interpretations of works by Zemlinsky, Brod, Martinů, Krása, Eben, Maxwell Davies, Ferrero and Mihalovici.

      From his extensive repertoire embracing over 40 operatic parts, 30 cantatas and oratorios and 20 song cycles, his personal preferences are quite clear: Verdi (Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Don Carlos, Falstaff, Simon Boccanegra, Otello, A Masked Ball, The Force of Destiny, Rigoletto, Macbeth); Czech composers Martinů, Janáček, Smetana and Dvořák; and he holds a particular reverence for the works of Gustav Mahler. Many of his renditions have been released on 34 recordings of the Decca, Chandos, Orfeo, Naxos, Ivan Kusnjer as Macbeth, Prague National Theatre, 2002Supraphon and Panton labels, most of them conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, Gerd Albrecht and Jiří Bělohlávek. Kusnjer has recorded a significant portion of Dvořák's and Smetana's operas and all of Janáček's and Dvořák's Lieder.

      Ivan Kusnjer has been awarded many prestigious awards from inter-national singing competitions (Geneva, Sofia, Vercelli) to the important domestic Thalia Prize which he was first awarded in 1994 for his performance in Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, second time in 1998 for his Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Ivan Kusnjer in company of the Queen Elizabeth 
and the President Havel, Prague Castle, 2000Maxwell Davies, and most recently in 2001 for his performance in Smetana's The Devil's Wall. Ivan Kusnjer was awarded the European Gustav Mahler Prize in 2001, too.

     Ivan Kusnjer's artistry has been witnessed by audiences in a vast number of opera houses and concert halls throughout America, Europe, the Middle and Far East, including such venues as New York Carnegie Hall, Milan La Scala, Venice La Fenice, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opéra Comique and Châtelet, Brussel Opéra de la Monnaie, Berlin State Opera, Frankfurt Opera, London Royal Albert Hall, Madrid Teatro Real, Lisbon Sao Carlos, Hong-Kong Opera and Tokyo Santory Hall. In addition to his activities all over the world, Ivan Kusnjer regularly appears as one of the leading soloists with both Prague National Theatre (Czech Opera Ensemble Number One) and Prague State Opera, with both Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Prague Symphony Orchestra.


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