Carmen Durán

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The soprano Carmen Durán, born in Vigo, Spain, with German ancestors, began her vocal training at the High School of Singing (Madrid) with Lola Rodríguez de Aragón and the pianist Félix Lavilla, who gave her special classes of interpretation. After debuting there in Così fan tutte she started very soon her concert activities at the Teatro Real as a soloist of the Coro Nacional de España (Spanish National Choir).

After winning an International Singing Contest to obtain a Scholarship for the «Centro di Perfezionamento per Artisti Lirici del Teatro alla Scala di Milano» she kept on classical vocal training at that renowned Institution (created by Arturo Toscanini) with Giulietta Simionato, becoming part of the cast in productions with Abbado, Strehler, Kuhn, Arena, Taddei, Hoffmann, Brendel, etc.
At La Scala she also participated in Lieder recitals with Vladimir Chernov.

In Treviso she won the first prize of the International Singing Contest Toti dal Monte, debuting there (Teatro Comunale) and at the Teatro Sociale di Rovigo.

She continued her operatic activity in Germany as a soloist at the Theater der Stadt Heidelberg, that signed her up to sing in a new Don Giovanni production.

The new and intense artistic experience in Heidelberg confirmed her decision of gradually changing the vocal register from mezzo to soprano with the logical change of repertoire.

After some more seasons in Heidelberg and other German theaters, Carmen Durán proceeded with her singing career as a free lancer, performing soprano roles in many opera productions by composers as Gluck, Mozart, Weber, Verdi, Puccini, Nicolai, Gounod, Bizet, Offenbach, Strauss, Janácek and Alban Berg – in Heidelberg, Gießen, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Köln, Freiburg, Braunschweig, Bremen, Dortmund, Karlsruhe, Saarbrücken, Leipzig, Straßburg, etc.

At the same time she started an intense concert activity as a soloist of leading Oratorio parts, Masses and Symphonies (Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Górecki) under directors like K. Masur, W. Sawallisch, M. Viotti, M. Gielen, L. A. García Navarro, R. Kubelík, E. Inbal – a Repertoire she keeps singing and widening more and more.

She dedicates also with a special interest a great part of her singing to Lied recitals with an important and vast Lieder repertoire including compositions by Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Schumann, Wolf, Mahler, Strauss, Reger, Berg, Duparc, Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc, always much acclaimed by the German critics.
Nowadays she is regarded as an outstanding Lied interpreter, specially of the German romantic and neo-romantic period. This kind of musical specialization included a deep study of the German literature of the romantic period, for which she obtained the German Bachelor’s degree at the University of Heidelberg.

As a scholarship holder of the City council of A Coruña and of the Xunta de Galicia she has been invited by international festivals like the Heidelberger Frühling with the Philharmonisches Orchester der Stadt Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Ludwigsburg, Karlsruhe, Wiesbaden, by the German television (SWR), the Ruprecht-Karl-Universität Heidelberg, the Opera Festival of A Coruña, the School of High Musical Studies of Santiago de Compostela, the Society Filarmónica of A Coruña and the Festival Galicia Classics.

Over the last few years she participated in the world premiere of the Opera O arame by Juan Durán with the Instrumental Group Siglo XX, in concerts (Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler and the recording of vocal pieces by José Arriola with the Real Filharmonía de Galicia under the direction of Maestro Maximino Zumalave), and in Lieder recitals, been accompanied by Maestro Zumalave on the piano in many appearances, mainly with German repertoire, Brahms, Mahler and Strauss.

With Maestro Zumalave and the Real Filharmonía de Galicia she performed in the first official “Concerto Institucional do Día das Letras Galegas” organized by the “Consello da Cultura Galega” in collaboration with the “Consorcio da Cidade de Santiago de Compostela”. It took place at the historic Church San Domingos de Bonaval on May 17, 2011, live broadcast on RTVG. She sang there the “Cuatro canciones sobre textos gallegos” [Four songs on galician texts] by Antón García Abril and “Ao lonxe” [Far away] by Antonio Iglesias.

Project “Villa-Lobos - A New Way”.

Having performed for a long time in many opera houses, concert halls, festivals and renowned artistic events, especially in Germany, and in recent years also in Spain, Carmen Duran decided at the beginning of 2011 to look for new possibilities of artistic activity... so she met the jazz pianist and composer Alberto Conde, a professor at the Conservatory of Music A Coruña, proposing him a musical project together to explore the rich field of Brazilian music with a modern jazz approach.

Beginning with the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, which Carmen Duran had already sung at the Musikfestival Heidelberger Frühling with 8 Cellos of the Philharmonisches Orchester Heidelberg, then repeated on several occasions, and in recitals with piano and guitar accompaniment, she decided at once to concentrate on the work of Villa-Lobos, preparing a full program to pay tribute to that unique figure of Brazilian music.

After a long period of team work with many discussions and rehearsals, the final program included 6 original Villa-Lobos' pieces, masterfully arranged by Alberto Conde, and 5 pieces of his own with lyrics written especially for this project by the Brazilian musician and poet J. R. Bustamante.

The new CD «Villa-Lobos - A New Way» was recorded in Vigo, 2012, at the Studio Planta Sónica 2, and premiered in Live Shows in A Coruña and in Vigo, Oktober 2013.

Carmen Durán has also been officially invited by the Organizers of the Simposio Internacional 2011 – Ópera & Libreto, Òpera de Butxaca I Nova Creació, Barcelona, that took place Sunday 26th and Monday 27th of June 2011, to participate with a presentation about her personal experience as “The muse and her inspirational role in contemporary opera”.

As part of the programming of the Summer Festival “Música en Compostela”, accompanied by the Real Filharmonía de Galicia under the direction of Maestro Zumalave, she was invited to sing again “Ao lonxe” by Antonio Iglesias and the “Cuatro canciones sobre textos gallegos” in homage to the composer Antón García Abril, at the “Auditorio de Galicia”, on August 9, 2013.

On May 16, 2015, she performed again in the official “Concerto Institucional do Día das Letras Galegas” organized by the “Consello da Cultura Galega” in the Auditorio Sede Afundación Pontevedra, singing “Cantares Gallegos” (Rosalía de Castro) by Joly Braga Santos and the “Cantiga II” of “Dúas Cantigas” (Xosé Filgueira Valverde) by Xavier de Paz, again with the Real Filharmonía de Galicia under Maximino Zumalave.