ENARGEIA Emily D’Angelo - Insights

Emily D’Angelo announces DG debut album 'enargeia'
Concept, character and cool – Emily D’Angelo’s debut album on Deutsche Grammophon encompasses everything that comes so naturally to this young Canadian vocalist. Her chosen title for this thoughtfully curated sonic journey comes from Hellenistic rhetoric and sums up the essence of the album: enargeia – in the artist’s own words – “a description so vivid it seems to conjure its subject into existence”. D’Angelo has chosen music from the 12th and 21st centuries written by four composers – Hildegard von Bingen, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Missy Mazzoli and Sarah Kirkland Snider – several of whose works are presented in brand-new chamber/electronic arrangements. “Each track is born out of the previous,” explains the singer, “as the listener is guided through a progres­sion, a cohesive and exploratory listening experience.” enargeia was recorded in Berlin between December 2020 and March 2021 in collaboration with das freie orchester Berlin and conductor Jarkko Riihimäki, the Kuss Quartett and Matangi Quartet, and solo instrumentalists Wolfgang Fischer, Rene Flächsenhaar, Mikayel Hakhnazaryan, Frédéric L’Épée, Jonas Niederstadt, Marc Prietzel, Marion Ravot, Christian Vogel and Norbert Wahren. The album will be released on 8 October 2021. D’Angelo’s starting-point in creating enargeia was the work of a musical and intellectual luminary, the medieval Benedictine abbess, scientist, poet, composer and visionary Hildegard von Bingen. As she recalls, “I discovered her music as a kid, when I was singing in choir, and I was transfixed. I’d never heard anything like it before, yet it all sounded so familiar and organic.” Hildegard’s influence runs like a thread throughout the album, whose works, says the singer, all have in common “the sense of expansiveness in her compositions, the multi-disciplinary expression of her ideas and her belief in music as a heightened communicative mode”. D’Angelo’s concept of the music she performs is the combination of words, rhythm and pitch: “No matter the style, it all comes down to these three things”, and Hildegard von Bingen’s work exemplifies this in its essential quality as “a single vocal line and the text”. The composer’s two pieces on the album, one in praise of divine wisdom, O virtus Sapientiae, the other an antiphon to the Virgin Mary, O frondens virga, are heard in arrangements by two outstanding contemporary American composers whose original work also features here: Sarah Kirkland Snider and Missy Mazzoli. D’Angelo brings a radiant purity to the Latin lyrics and unadorned vocal lines of both new settings. If Hildegard marks one point in the long history of spirituality in music, Missy Mazzoli marks another in her Vespers for a New Dark Age. For D’Angelo it’s “a completely different take on the spiritual element of music”. This 2014 work in fact replaces the texts of the traditional Vespers service with secular poetry by contemporary American writer Matthew Zapruder, while at the same time preserving the ritual and repetitive qualities of the original. Both the Vespers pieces and the two excerpts from Song from the Uproar, Mazzoli’s chamber opera about the extraordinary life of Swiss explorer, writer and Sufi Isabelle Eberhardt, highlight the dramatic flair that has already brought D’Angelo such glowing reviews for her operatic performances. The element of character is further explored in the presence of the classical figure of Penelope in the song-cycle of that name by Sarah Kirkland Snider. Inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, it tells of a woman’s husband, veteran of an unnamed war, who returns, brain-damaged, after a 20-year absence. “Ruminating on themes of memory, identity and returning home”, says D’Angelo, “these works show how art, literature and history can serve as a gateway to understanding the present.” She infuses her interpretations of the three extracts presented here with dark, haunting colours, while her clarity of tone, notable throughout enargeia, brings out every nuance of Ellen McLaughlin’s emotive lyrics. Past and present co-exist too in the work of the Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, “whose use of bowed instruments as a drone”, notes D’Angelo, “harkens to medieval music but through a modern, ambient lens”. In Fólk faer andlit, part of the composer’s 2020 response to the plight of refugees in her native country, D’Angelo’s voice soars above winds and strings in a line of plainchant-like simplicity, while her gleaming vocals are used to stunning effect in Liður, an extract from Guðnadóttir’s award-winning music for the TV series Chernobyl. The album showcases a host of musical collaborators, notably Jarkko Riihimäki who has arranged many of the pieces, creating a broad range of sensitive accompaniments that offset the singer’s rich tone with everything from a single cello to a 20-piece string orchestra, and ultimately broadens into electric guitar, bass and drums while D’Angelo duets with herself in the final work, Snider’s The Lotus Eaters.
May 28, 2021
Emily D’Angelo announces DG debut album 'enargeia'
Deutsche Grammophon signs rising star singer Emily D’Angelo
Berlin, 25 May 2021. Challenging conventions and pushing boundaries, Emily D’Angelo is a new musical force to be reckoned with. Deutsche Grammophon is pleased to announce the signing of an exclusive agreement with the 26-year-old Italian-Canadian mezzo-soprano, an artist already in high demand at the world’s leading opera houses and concert venues. Just last week she made a highly acclaimed role and house debut as Sesto in La clemenza di Tito at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in a new production directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. “In a word, Emily D’Angelo is a phenomenon” – Le Devoir’s pithy review sums up the way her voice wows public and press alike. Opera Wire was equally full of praise about her 2019 performances in La clemenza di Tito at New York’s Metropolitan Opera: “D’Angelo’s Annio was undeniably the bright light of the evening, always looking poised and energised for every moment of conflict.” A keen recitalist and concert singer as well as star of the operatic stage, D’Angelo is known for her wide-ranging repertoire and is making her mark as a champion of contemporary music. Her passion for introducing audiences to new works is reflected in her DG debut album, enargeia. Set for release on 8 October 2021, the recording features music by four composers. D’Angelo’s initial inspiration was the medieval abbess, mystic and polymath Hildegard von Bingen, whose music she presents here in fresh arrangements by leading American composers Missy Mazzoli and Sarah Kirkland Snider. The album also includes original pieces by both Mazzoli and Snider, as well as two stunning vocal works by the Grammy Award-winning Hildur Guðnadóttir. “It’s a tremendous honour to join Deutsche Grammophon at such an exciting time in the label’s history,” comments Emily D’Angelo. “In the spirit of artistic adventure and creativity, the DG team supported my idea of exploring the ancient concept of enargeia – which permeates all the music on this album – and together we’ve created a cohesive listening experience from these extraordinary works. Above all, we share a passion for communicating in ways that can move, inspire and connect people". Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, welcomes the Yellow Label’s latest signing. “Emily is an extraordinary vocalist,” he says. “She has set the opera world alight at an age when many artists are only just starting their careers and has shown her virtuosity and versatility in so many genres. Her DG debut album provides a rich contemporary context to Hildegard’s music, which I’m sure will touch listeners at the deepest level. We look forward to developing equally thought-provoking projects with her in the future." “Emily is a true recording artist who creates an album as a piece of art, explores new sounds and takes the listener on a journey through the spirit of the music,” adds Valérie Gross, Deutsche Grammophon’s Senior A&R Director Vocal & Opera Productions. “Her charismatic artistry and powerful presence as a performer, coupled with a hugely personal and unique voice, give her instant star quality." Emily D’Angelo was born in Toronto in 1994 to a musical family. Encouraged to sing from an early age by her parents and pianist grandmother, she built a solid foundation for her musicianship as a member of the Toronto Children’s Chorus. She studied cello in secondary school before completing her bachelor’s degree in Music at the University of Toronto, after which she joined the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio. She became a member of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Development Program in 2017, and made her debut on the Met stage in 2018. That same year, she added to an already impressive number of awards by winning all four top prizes at the Operalia competition – a first in its 26-year history. The following year she achieved another first when she won the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival’s prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award, whose previous winners have all been instrumentalists. In addition to opera, D’Angelo’s career highlights so far include engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of a song cycle by Ana Sokolović and performances of new music by, among others, Unsuk Chin and Matthew Aucoin. She was named by New York’s Lincoln Center as one of its eleven 2020 Emerging Artists and by WQXR NYC Public Radio as one of its “40 Under 40” singers to watch, reinforcing her status as one of today’s fastest rising vocal stars. Recent performances include her appearance in January 2021 as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, streamed live from La Scala, Milan, and her return to the Berlin Staatsoper in April as Cherubino in Vincent Huguet’s new production of Le nozze di Figaro, conducted by Daniel Barenboim (the opening night was broadcast live on Mezzo.tv), as well as the above-mentioned Covent Garden debut as Sesto. D’Angelo is also set to make her role debut as Idamante in Idomeneo at the Munich Opera Festival this summer.
May 25, 2021
Deutsche Grammophon signs rising star singer Emily D’Angelo

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