Gun-Brit Barkmin
Soprano

“A star was born with the evening’s Salome, Gun-Brit Barkmin…Her voice is enormous, and it cut effortlessly through Strauss’s orchestration” (New York Classical Review)

Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Biography

Gun-Brit Barkmin built her reputation on exciting portrayals of some of opera’s most complex leading ladies and has a strong association with the roles of Richard Strauss including Salome, Chrysothemis (Elektra) and Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos). This season, the German-born soprano debuts at Opéra national de Paris as Marie (Wozzeck), sings her first Tristan und Isolde at Oper Graz, and returns to Opernhaus Zürich in Andreas Homoki’s production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk under Vasily Petrenko. In addition to Salome together with Charles Dutoit in both Shanghai and at the Verbier Festival, Barkmin sings Ariadne auf Naxos with Wiener Staatsoper on tour to Japan.

Gun-Brit Barkmin built her reputation on exciting portrayals of some of opera’s most complex leading ladies and has a strong association with the roles of Richard Strauss including Salome, Chrysothemis (Elektra) and Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos). This season, the German-born soprano debuts at Opéra national de Paris as Marie (Wozzeck), sings her first Tristan und Isolde at Oper Graz, and returns to Opernhaus Zürich in Andreas Homoki’s production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk under Vasily Petrenko. In addition to Salome together with Charles Dutoit in both Shanghai and at the Verbier Festival, Barkmin sings Ariadne auf Naxos with Wiener Staatsoper on tour to Japan.

Boasting an impressively broad repertoire, in recent seasons Barkmin has appeared as Jenůfa at Komische Oper Berlin, Marie under Fabio Luisi at Opernhaus Zurich, Elena in the world premiere of Sotelo’s El Público at Teatro Real Madrid under Pablo Heras-Casado, Sieglinde (Die Walküre), Ariadne and Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes) at Wiener Staatsoper, Bianca (Eine florentische Tragödie) at Canadian Opera Company under Sir Andrew Davis, and Emilia Marty (Věc Makropulos) at the National Theatre of Prague.

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Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Reviews

“Gun-Brit Barkmin’s sensual, acutely beautiful Marie.” (ConcertoNet, May 2017)

“Vocally without reproach, very pure and accurate…she approaches this role [Marie] with an admirable humanity.” (Bachtrack, May 2017)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin as Marie is an excellent actress…Her soprano is distinguished by the purity and warmth of its timbre. She has clear diction, and masterfully controls the top of her range” (ResMusica, May 2017)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin’s sensual, acutely beautiful Marie.” (ConcertoNet, May 2017)

“Vocally without reproach, very pure and accurate…she approaches this role [Marie] with an admirable humanity.” (Bachtrack, May 2017)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin as Marie is an excellent actress…Her soprano is distinguished by the purity and warmth of its timbre. She has clear diction, and masterfully controls the top of her range” (ResMusica, May 2017)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin’s Marie is an earthy, steely creation.” (Opera Magazine, May 2017)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin repeats the lead role of Katerina…she is first-rate in every way.” (Seen & Heard, January 2017)

“The two women made the most impact, Gun-Brit Barkmin’s confident Isolde making her a hot recommendation for Bayreuth” (Opera magazine, January 2017)

“the German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin [is] an Isolde whose voice sits on a remarkably sonorous base, she approaches the role’s most exposed parts with the precision of a lieder singer, employing deliberate phrasing and ultra-precise articulation. One understands every word.” (Wiener Zeitung, October, 2016)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin in her debut as Isolde. The German soprano easily flowed across her entire range, never pushing, and never in danger of thinness in the exposed heights or depths of the role, and in which she demonstrated beautiful phrasing…the final climax came in the Liebestod which really was enchanting” (Bachtrack, October 2016)

“Barkmin has everything you need for this very difficult role, she sings with soul and expression, and is a godsend of a Strauss interpreter.” (Kurier, March 2016)

“[Barkmin maintained] as impressive control over Strauss’s musical lines as she had Berg’s in Wozzeck last month. Barkmin was impressive in Semyon Bychkov’s magnificent Proms performance of Elektra in 2014; here she was more so still and, crucially, offering a different reading according to context.” (Mark Berry, Seen & Heard, November 2015)

“Her sister, Chrysothemis, was sung by the bright-voiced German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin, who sang the title role in the thrilling concert performance of Strauss’s Salome that Mr. Nelsons conducted with the Vienna Philharmonic last year at Carnegie Hall…Ms. Barkmin, singing with steely power and volatility” (New York Times, October 2015)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin, singing the hardly less ferocious role of Chrysothemis, was every bit as convincing, and the richness of her voice resounded even in the last notes of the opera.” (Mark DeVoto, Boston Musical Intelliger, October 2015)

“As Chrysothemis, Gun-Brit Barkmin lent her beautiful yet powerful voice to the part of Elektra’s long-suffering sister. Her singing was sensitive when she dreamed of motherhood and powerful when she rose to match Goerke at the end of their scene…She was every inch a princess nearing the end of her resources.” (Huffington Post, October 2015)

“I’d imagine few can offer a more committed or vivid Marie than Gun-Brit Barkmin, who threw not only her voice – powerful and full of colour – but also her whole being into her semi-feral characterization.” (Hugo Shirley, Opera Magazine, December 2015)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin gave an outstanding account as Marie…[she was] even more powerful in the remorse at the heart of her big Act Three scene, projecting the music with impressive vocal glamour and secure intonation.” (Peter Reed, Classical Source, October 2015)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin offered an equally fine portrayal of her role. Her Chrysothemis in Semyon Bychokov’s Proms Elektra last year gave British audiences an inviting taste of her artistry. This all-enveloping performance from siren to terrified, guilt-wracked victim, unabashed sensuality and genuine maternal protectiveness in complex coexistence and conflict, lived both in the moment and in Berg’s astonishing depth of character development.” (Mark Berry, Boulezian, October 2015)

 “We have previously seen Gun-Brit Barkmin in Zurich as Strauss’s Salome and Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and she is known as a singer who fully identifies with her characters, vocally and physically. She sings her despairing Marie with a silvery soprano” (Susanne Kübler, Tages Anzeiger, September 2015)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin has a particularly full and sonorous voice, but what is especially striking is her commitment to the interpretation of her character, moving from provocation to excessive remorse to melancholy.” (Claudia Poloni, ConcertoNet.com, September 2015)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin’s clear soprano easily negotiated Berg’s demanding vocal lines and cut through the orchestra with ease.” (Rick Perdian, Seen & Heard International, September 2015)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin let fly a soaring, diamond-edged soprano as Chrysothemis” (Erica Jeal, Guardian, September 2014)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin did an excellent job as Chrysothemis, really communicating her sense of frustration at the futility of Elektra’s focus to begin with, full of desperate longing for children and a future, but reversing into violent relief once Orest had taken his revenge, swiftly followed by anguish, and utter disorientation, at Elektra’s death” (Charlotte Valori, Bachtrack. September 2014)

“The role of Chrysothemis is in some ways the most challenging in the opera, given the more lyrical character of her music in the midst of all the clamour; Gun-Brit Barkmin, another Proms debutant, presented a warmly credible sister – it’s not surprising that Ellen Orford is prominent in her repertoire.” (Melanie Eskenazi, Music OMH, August 2014)

“Superb diction too from German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin who was a revelation as Chrysothemis. Her first duet with Elektra showed lovely phrasing endowed with the vocal power to rise above the orchestra as she sang of the blessings of motherhood…This is a singer to watch out for. The interaction with her sister, when Elektra decides it is they who must do the deed, was powerfully presented, and her voice was full of passion as she yearned for freedom.” (Mark Ronan, Mark Ronan’s Theatre Reviews, September 2014)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin was impressive in her first Sieglinde in Vienna…her voice is up to all the challenges of the role and she sings Sieglinde extremely beautifully.” (Peter Jarolin, Kurier, June 2014)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin gave a blooming, glowing and wondrously clear interpretation of Sieglinde.” (Christoph Irrgeher, Wiener Zeitung, June 2014)

“A star was born with the evening’s Salome, Gun-Brit Barkmin…she managed to project a wonderfully physicalized performance within the concert-opera confines. Her voice is enormous, and it cut effortlessly through Strauss’s orchestration…when she pulls back she is able to sound lovely and lyrical, and more girlish than many of the mature Salomes we are used to hearing. When it was necessary, she hit the role’s sepulchral low notes, which is not something that every Salome can manage.” (Eric Myers, New York Classical Review, March 2014)

“As Salome, the German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin sang with searing power and unflagging intensity…her voice had a cool, focused allure…she inhabited this challenging role and won a big ovation from the audience.” (New York Times, March 2014)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin as Salome was by far the star of the opera, and her amazing performance received a good 10-minute standing ovation…Having that rare voice which must cover a range from low G-flat to B5, her obsessive cries for Jochanaan’s head raised the rafters.” (Stan Metzger, Seen & Heard International, March 2014)

“the power of soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin fits [the role of Ellen Orford] perfectly” (Christoph Irrgeher, Wiener Zeitung, November 2013)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin makes her house debut as a pleasingly expressive, compassionate Ellen Orford” (Walter Weidringer, Die Presse, November 2013)

“The German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin gives a vibrant performance in the title role…[she] deals with the music convincingly. She also does well in Katerina’s introspective moments, like the Act 4 song that prefigures her watery death.” (New York Times, April 2013)

“German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin was simply stunning as Katerina, her acting skills every bit as fine as her singing: she has very difficult music to master and is impressive, never having sung the role before” (John Rhodes, Seen & Heard International, April 2013)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin is breath-taking in the title role: she has beauty and strength of voice, phenomenal energy, and extraordinary vocal and theatrical aplomb” (Pierre-Emmanuel Lephay, Forum Opéra, April 2013)

“The soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin dazzled in her interpretation of the heroine, both through her electrifying presence and total identification with the character, and her impressive vocal resources which allow her to highlight the lyrical moments as intensely as the more passionate and violent ones.” (Claudio Poloni, ConcertNet.com, July 2013)

“you know at her first look, her first note, that she is a Salome. She has a voice that is so clear and as silvery as her dress. Even in her softest sounds, she need not fear the orchestra’s fortissimo; you hear it, you feel it” (Susanne Kübler, Tages Anzeiger, June 2010)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin initially uses her white, crystalline soprano to create a childlike Salome, then creating a highly dramatic force through the opera” (Heinz W. Koch, Badische Zeitung, June 2010)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin, with her young, lyric soprano, brought a fresh interpretation [to Salome], helping to characterise the overall tone of this innovative new production.” (Toni Hildebrandt, Klassik.com, June 2010)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin gives an intensely credible interpretation as Salome.” (Roberto Becker, Online Musik Magazin, June 2010)

“Gun-Brit Barkmin brings her silvery soprano to the role of the caring, desperate teacher [Ellen Orford]” (Christoph Schmitz, Deutschland Radio, September 2009)

“As Ellen Orford, Gun-Brit Barkmin almost sounds fragile but with a direct and warm tone, her well-focused voice finds every nuance.” (Stefan Schmöe, Online Musik Magazin, September 2009)

“The young German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin has won great acclaim for her roles ranging from Mozart, Puccini and Britten. In the role of Emilia Marty she proved her ability to surprise the audience with the unexpected power of her otherwise light and soft soprano.” (Nad’a Straková, Aktuálni, January 2009)

Discography