A young and exciting presence in today’s music world, Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose has captured critical and popular acclaim in leading opera houses and concert halls. Der neue Merker described her voice as an “incredibly exciting, flowing mezzo-soprano, which has no breaks and a flawless timbre.” Her expressive vocalism, thoughtful musicianship, and elegant stage presence allow her to pursue an extensive operatic and orchestral repertoire.
Ruxandra Donose was born in a family of musicians, and appeared on the concert stage as early as her childhood, as a pianist. A graduate of the Music University of Bucharest (the class of Georgeta Stoleriu), she studied in Weimar with Lore Fischer (lied - oratorio) and in Wien with Renata Scotto (opera). She has been awarded a great number of national and international prizes being among others, laureate of the ARD International Vocal Competition in Munich (1990) and of Washington (1991).
Ruxandra Donose was soloist of the Opera Houses of Constanta - Romania (1989-1991) and Basel - Switzerland (1991-1992). She has carried on at the same time a very rich stage and concert activity in a great many other musical centres of the world, acquiring in 10 years of career an impressive artistic record. After winning the ARD Competition, she made a highly praised Vienna Staatsoper debut in the 1992 as Varvara in Katya Kabanova. Since that debut she has maintained a close relationship with the Staatsoper and Volksoper, returning every season (1992-1998) for roles including Pierotto in a new production of Linda di Chamounix, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Nicklausse, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Antigone in Enescu’s Oedipe and the title role in Carmen.
Ruxandra Donose is well-known to opera and concert audiences throughout North America and Europe. In Europe she made during the 1997-1998 season her debut with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden as Sesto in a new staging of Giulio Cesare, and was immediately re-engaged for performances as Annio in a new production of La Clemenza di Tito and for performances as Nicklausse. Her debut at the Opéra National de Paris was as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and she made her debuts with both the Glyndebourne Festival and Strasbourg’s Opéra National du Rhin as Sesto in La clemenza di Tito. The mezzo-soprano appeared with Deutsche Oper Berlin as Charlotte in a new production of Werther, and she returned for performances as Idamante in Idomeneo. She made her debut with Madrid’s Teatro Real as Cherubino in a new production.
Audiences at the Salzburg Easter Festival first heard Ruxandra Donose in 1998 as Fyodor in Boris Godunov, conducted by Claudio Abbado. The same year she made her debut with the Dresden Staatsoper as Cherubino. With this opera house she also sang the title role of La cenerentola, later returning for performances as Cherubino. She appeared with Finnish National Opera for performances of Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena. Her debut in Italy was at Venice’s Teatro la Fenice in performances of Speranza and Proserpina in Monteverdi’s Orfeo. She made her Salzburg Festival debut as Isaura in Rossini’s Tancredi. Her first performances of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier were with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin, and she sang her first performances of the title role in La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein with the Opéra Comique of Denmark.
Ruxandra Donose made her debut in the USA in 1996 in performances of Nicklausse with San Francisco Opera in a new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann opposite Samuel Ramey and Jerry Hadley. The mezzo-soprano was immediately re-engaged for performances of the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and returned later to sing Sesto in Giulio Cesare. Her debut with the Metropolitan Opera was as Cherubino, a role she repeated in her debut in Japan with the Saito Kinen Festival under the baton of Seiji Ozawa. She first appeared with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in 1997-1998 season as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and returned to sing the roles of Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Dorabella, and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. Her first performances as Charlotte were with Pittsburgh Opera, and she made her debut with Cincinnati Opera as Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande. She made her debut with Dallas Opera as Dorabella, and audiences in Toronto first heard her as Adalgisa in a new production of Norma with the Canadian Opera Company. Her debut with San Diego Opera was as Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo King of Crete, and she was first seen as Strauss’s Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Minnesota Orchestra led by Jeffrey Tate.
Ruxandra Donose is continually in demand for concerts with leading orchestras around the world. The role of Marguerite in La damnation de Faust has figured prominently in her concert career. She first appeared as Berlioz’s heroine in 1997-1998 season with the Berlin Sinfonie-Orchester led by Kent Nagano opposite José van Dam. Further appearances include performances led by Charles Dutoit, first with the Berlin Philharmonic and then with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich; performances with the Orchestre National du Capitôle in both Toulouse and Valencia; and with the Orchestre de Paris. Her debut with the Dresden Staatskapelle was in performances and a recording for Deutsche Grammophon of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, led by Giuseppe Sinopoli. She first appeared with the Orchestre de Paris in Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. G. Mahler’s Second Symphony was the vehicle for her debut with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and she appeared with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchester in performances of Ravel’s Shéhérazade, a work she also performed with the Berliner Symphoniker. She appeared with the Salzburg Festival in Mozart’s Mass in C major and performed in a double bill of Walton’s The Bear and Eugen d'Albert's Die Abreise with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Audiences in Munich first saw Ruxandra Donose in a concert with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchester led by Sir Colin Davis, and she returned for performances of De Falla’s El amor brujo. She has appeared with the Münchner Philharmoniker in performances of J.S. Bach’s Mass in b minor (BWV 232) conducted by Sergiu Celibidache and for a program of French opera arias led by Roberto Abbado. The mezzo-soprano made her debut with the Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn in performances of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245), and audiences at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper have heard her performance J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244). In March 1997 she made her Vienna solo recital debut at the Wiener Kammeroper, and in December 1997 she gave a critically acclaimed German recital debut in Bremen.
In North America, Ruxandra Donose first appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Bach’s Magnificat (BWV 243). Berlioz’s Marguerite was the vehicle for her debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal led by Michel Plasson in Montréal and at Carnegie Hall. Ruxandra Donose made her debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall as Concepción in a concperformance of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Pierre Boulez, and she repeated the role in her debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. Her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel. She has also appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra for concerts of Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été; the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Requiem; and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen in Hong Kong.
Ruxandra Donose has worked with some of the world’s finest conductors including Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Marek Janowski, Mariss Jansons, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Donald Runnicles, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Jeffrey Tate, and Marcello Viotti. In recent seasons, she has appeared in leading roles with prominent opera houses throughout Europe, including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Dresden, Hamburg Staatsoper, Vienna Volksoper, Dresden Staatsoper, Teatro La Fenice, Théatre de la Monnaie in Brussels and the Salzburg Festival.
Ruxandra Donose begins the 2004-2005 season with her return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for performances as Charlotte in a new production of Werther led by Anthony Pappano. Audiences in London see her again when she sings the role of Marguerite in a concert performance of La damnation de Faust with the London Philharmonia led by Charles Dutoit. The mezzo-soprano returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann before she appears with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in performances and a recording of Mozart’s Requiem under the direction of Donald Runnicles. Her season concludes with her return to the Glyndebourne Festival where she appears in the title role in La cenerentola in performances led by Vladimir Jurowski.
Ruxandra Donose's recordings include Schubert’s Ständchen for mezzo-soprano and male chorus (Philips), Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with Giuseppe Sinopoli (Deutsche Grammophon), G. Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Michael Halasz (Naxos), J.S. Bach’s Mass in b minor (BWV 232) with Sergiu Celibidache, L.v. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Béla Drahos (Naxos), and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Bertrand de Billy (Arte Nova).