German soprano Sarah Maria Sun is creative performer—part vocalist, part comedian, part stage director. Her set for September 13th on the 2018 New York City Festival has works by Thierry Tidrow, Rebekah Saunders, and Georges Aperghis. She discusses her upcoming album release—Harawi, by Olivier Messiaen—and the choice to go vinyl, as well as her road to loving the stage. For more information about Sarah Maria, including full tracks heard on this episode, please visit the show notes.
Sarah Maria Sun is known as one of the foremost and most extraordinary performers in the contemporary music scene. In addition to numerous songs, operas and oratorios, her repertoire currently includes more than 800 compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries, including more than 300 world premieres. She has a close working relationship with a wide variety of composers, including Helmut Lachenmann, Heinz Holliger, Georg Friedrich Haas, Salvatore Sciarrino and Bernhard Lang, among many others. North German Radio (NDR) has dedicated portrait concerts to her in 2012, 2016 and 2018.
She regularly performs as a soloist in concert halls and festivals such as the Suntory Hall Tokyo, the Muziekgebow Amsterdam, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Auditorio National Madrid, the Berlin and Cologne Philharmonic, the Biennale Paris, Venice and Munich, the Arnold Schönberg Center Vienna and the festivals in Witten, Donaueschingen and Herrenhausen.
Her tremendous adaptability is demonstrated on a regular basis on the music-theater stage. She has appeared at the opera houses in Zurich, Basel, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Leipzig, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Zagreb, and the Opéra Bastille and the Opéra Comique in Paris. She shows her skill for haunting theatrical and musical interpretation time and again in the depiction of complex female figures. In particular, the monodramas Yes I Will Yes by Dieter Schnebel (Elbphilharmonie Hamburg), Kolik by Jannik Giger, Leo Hoffmann and Benjamin von Bebber (Gare du Nord Basel) and Lohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino (Salzburg Easter Festival) are especially noteworthy. For her role as Elsa in Sciarrino’s monodrama, she was nominated by Opernwelt in 2017 as singer of the year.
Sarah Maria Sun has performed with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Thomas Hengelbrock, Susanna Mälkki, Peter Rundel, Heinz Holliger and more with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the North, Bavarian, South-West and West German Radio Orchestras, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Antwerp and Tokyo Symphony Orchestras and ensembles such as musikFabrik Köln, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble Intercontemporain as well as the string quartets Diotima, Arditti, Minguet and Signum.
From 2007-2014, she was the first soprano of the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, a chamber ensemble of seven singers that has been one of the world’s leading pioneers of contemporary music for 30 years.
Sarah Maria Sun’s discography includes more than 30 CDs, some of which have been awarded prizes. In 2017, four of her six new releases were nominated for the Deutschen Schallplattenkritik prize.
Sarah Maria Sun studied singing in Cologne and Stuttgart and most importantly worked with Darinka Segota and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner. She regularly gives masterclasses for vocal music from the 20th and 21st centuries; for instance, at universities and conservatoires in Oslo, Harvard, Chicago, Stockholm, Zurich, Rostock, Moscow, Dresden, Hanover or Berlin.
Helga Davis dives right in. Conversing with Resonant Bodies Festival director Lucy Dhegrae, Davis discusses her upcoming set on the 2018 NYC Festival on September 11th at Roulette, finding her tribe, unapologetically connecting to her purpose, and keeping a rigorous morning routine (which she reveals!). For more information about Helga Davis and links to recordings and articles mentioned in this episode, please visit our Show Notes.
This episode was edited by Jeremy Hirsch.