Featured Artists in Massenet's 'Werther' Neil Shicoff and Vesselina Kasarova star in the Vienna State Opera's production of Werther, by Massenet.
NPR logo Featured Artists in Massenet's 'Werther'

Featured Artists in Massenet's 'Werther'

Tenor Neil Shicoff, who stars in Massenet's Werther from Vienna, is also renowned for his performances of another great, French opera, Halevy's La Juive. hide caption

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Mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova has been acclaimed for her interpretations of both French and bel canto operas. (c) Suzanne Schwiertz hide caption

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(c) Suzanne Schwiertz


Neil Shicoff (Werther); Vesselina Kasarova (Charlotte); Laura Tatulescu (Sophie); Adrian Eröd (Albert); Alfred Sramek (Bailiff); Benedikt Kobel (Schmidt); Clemens Unterreiner (Johann)

Neil Shicoff

Tenor (Werther)

Neil Shicoff was born in Brooklyn and studied at the Juilliard School of Music, and with his father, the celebrated cantor Sidney Shicoff. He made his professional debut in the title role of Verdi's Ernani, conducted by James Levine in Cincinnati in 1975. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976, singing the role of Rinuccio in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.

Acclaimed by many as the outstanding American tenor of his generation, Neil Shicoff has appeared at major opera houses around the world, including the Metropolitan, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera and London's Royal Opera.

In concert, he has sung with orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic, with conductor Leonard Bernstein; the Berlin Philharmonic, led by Claudio Abbado, the Boston Symphony, with conductor Seiji Ozawa; and the San Francisco Symphony, with Edo de Waart. He has also collaborated with conductors Riccardo Muti, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Charles Mackerras and Giuseppe Sinopoli.

Shicoff has gained particular acclaim for his portrayal of Eleazar in Halevy's opera La Juive. His other notable roles include Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca, Edgardo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Lensky in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Don Jose in Bizet's Carmen, and the title roles in Britten's Peter Grimes and Verdi's Don Carlo.

Vesselina Kasarova

Mezzo-Soprano (Charlotte)

Vesselina Kasarova was born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. She began playing the piano at age 4 and earned a diploma as a concert pianist before deciding to devote her career to singing.

She made her Vienna State Opera debut in 1991, as Rosina in Rossini's The Barber of Seville. She has also performed at La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera, the Opera Bastille in Paris, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the German State Opera in Berlin.

Kasarova is especially well-known for her roles in the operas of Mozart, and for her interpretations of French and bel canto repertoire. She has made numerous recordings for BMG, including Massenet's Werther, Donizetti's La Favorita and Bellini's The Montagues and the Capulets. For Sony, she has recorded Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri and Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.