Lawrence Zazzo
Counter-tenor

“Lawrence Zazzo's outstandingly imperious title-hero is the best sung and acted countertenor performance of the part (Giulio Cesare) I've encountered.” (Gramophone)

Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Christopher Lawson +44 (0)20 3725 9108

Biography

Lawrence Zazzo made his operatic debut as Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) to great acclaim while completing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music in London, and he has subsequently performed the role at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Opera de Lyon, Canadian Opera Company and at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. A diverse and thriving international opera career has taken Zazzo to most of the world’s leading opera houses and festivals appearing as Giulio Cesare at La Monnaie, English National Opera and Opéra national de Paris (released on DVD), as Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto for Bayerische Staatsoper at the Munich Opera Festival, and he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare).

Lawrence Zazzo made his operatic debut as Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) to great acclaim while completing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music in London, and he has subsequently performed the role at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Opera de Lyon, Canadian Opera Company and at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. A diverse and thriving international opera career has taken Zazzo to most of the world’s leading opera houses and festivals appearing as Giulio Cesare at La Monnaie, English National Opera and Opéra national de Paris (released on DVD), as Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto for Bayerische Staatsoper at the Munich Opera Festival, and he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare).

Highlights of the current season include Arsamene (Xerxes) under Constantinos Carydis for Oper Frankfurt, the title role in Giulio Cesare for Boston Baroque, Unulfo (Rodelinda) at Madrid’s Teatro Real conducted by Ivor Bolton, and Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) in Simon Phillips’ production at Staatsoper Hamburg and at the Beijing Music Festival in Robert Carsen’s now legendary production. Zazzo teams up with his regular accompanist, Simon Lepper, for a recital at Oper Frankfurt and he appears at London’s Wigmore Hall in a programme of Italian vocal music from the renaissance to the baroque.

Zazzo’s extensive discography include his first orchestral recital album, A Royal Trio (harmonia mundi USA) with La nuova musica conducted by David Bates featuring the music of Ariosti, Bononcinci and Handel; Mozart’s very first opera, Apollo et Hyacinthus (Linn Records) with Classical Opera conducted by Ian Page; and, also with Classical Opera, the first complete recording of Mitridate, re di Ponto (Signum Records).

Download Bio
uk

Video

 
 

Audio

Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Christopher Lawson +44 (0)20 3725 9108

Reviews

“Among the soloists, the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo stood out for his enchantingly beautiful voice in the role of Delio” (Opernwelt, June 2016)

“Lawrence Zazzo was astounding: he excelled in the laments (essential in the largely plaintive role of Arsace), but displayed great vitality in the recitatives (and was the only performer who really enjoyed this part of the role)…Zazzo delivered the aria [“Furibondo spira il vento”] with power and impressive aplomb…and delivered the most convincing account of this famous aria that we’ve ever heard.” (Forum Opéra, January 2016)

“Lawrence Zazzo, one of the great countertenors of the last decade, who not only has Arsace in repertoire [but] recorded the opera just ten years ago…Lawrence Zazzo was the star of the evening…His instrument carries an enviable volume…yet maintains its freshness and elasticity…No other countertenor shapes every word, every syllable…His initial aria “O Eurimene ha l’idea di Rosmira”, not a very interesting aria, is given new life in his hands…He conquers the impossible coloratura in “Fuirbondo spira il vento”, one of the most complicated of Handel’s, gets right to the heart in the desolate “Ma quai note di mesti lamenti”, and gives a tender rendition of “Ch’io parta? Si crudele” full of intense beauty” (El arte de la fuga, January 2016)

“Among the soloists, the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo stood out for his enchantingly beautiful voice in the role of Delio” (Opernwelt, June 2016)

“Lawrence Zazzo was astounding: he excelled in the laments (essential in the largely plaintive role of Arsace), but displayed great vitality in the recitatives (and was the only performer who really enjoyed this part of the role)…Zazzo delivered the aria [“Furibondo spira il vento”] with power and impressive aplomb…and delivered the most convincing account of this famous aria that we’ve ever heard.” (Forum Opéra, January 2016)

“Lawrence Zazzo, one of the great countertenors of the last decade, who not only has Arsace in repertoire [but] recorded the opera just ten years ago…Lawrence Zazzo was the star of the evening…His instrument carries an enviable volume…yet maintains its freshness and elasticity…No other countertenor shapes every word, every syllable…His initial aria “O Eurimene ha l’idea di Rosmira”, not a very interesting aria, is given new life in his hands…He conquers the impossible coloratura in “Fuirbondo spira il vento”, one of the most complicated of Handel’s, gets right to the heart in the desolate “Ma quai note di mesti lamenti”, and gives a tender rendition of “Ch’io parta? Si crudele” full of intense beauty” (El arte de la fuga, January 2016) 

“Zazzo (Arsace) sang with astounding expressivity…receiving a standing ovation from the audience.” (Operaworld.es, January 2016)

“Athamas was portrayed by the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, singing his three arias with warm, gleaming tone.” (Opera Magazine, December 2015)

“As the eponymous hero, Lawrence Zazzo was impressive. His sound – carefully varied – captured the edgy, tortured nature of the character, diminished by his mental state yet physically strong. Zazzo was also astute in husbanding his resources so that the long vocal stint that is his mad scene stood up as the high point of the opera.” (Opera Magazine, December 2015)

“Lawrence Zazzo, that most manly and forthright of counter-tenors, as a handsome Orlando whose insanity was expressed with graphic and moving power.” (The Telegraph, September 2015)

“Lawrence Zazzo’s Orlando cuts a striking figure. He projects his substantial but agile countertenor to good effect, often with touching expressiveness” (The Guardian, September 2015) 

“In the title role, Lawrence Zazzo’s rich countertenor turned from biting fury to melting beauty with ease…his portrayal of Orlando’s madness was one of enormous power.” (The Times, September 2015)

“The stately beauty of Lawrence Zazzo’s Oberon is indisputable and he successfully interprets one of the strangest roles Britten wrote” (Resmusica, July 2015)

“Lawrence Zazzo came, sang, and conquered.” (Bachtrack.com, April 2015)

“Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo revealed a powerful, lithe voice as Semele’s rejected fiancé Athamas” (NY Observer, March 2015)

“Zazzo’s firm, fruit voice is applied characterfully to each number, whether swashbuckling or seductive” (BBC Music Magazine, December 2014)

“Zazzo’s skills as a countertenor are immediately displayed with his vigorous interpretation of Handel’s 'Rompo I lacci' from Flavio…Each piece showcases the sheer skill of Lawrence Zazzo and the demands placed on his voice.” (The Whole Note, November 2014)

“this [CD] from Lawrence Zazzo is exceptionally well thought out…Zazzo makes the central highlight a moving scene from Ariosti’s little-known ‘Coriolano’…[and] the exuberant ‘Vivi, tiranno’ rounds things off in style, with Zazzo in glorious voice throughout.” (The Guardian, October 2014)

“Lawrence Zazzo was at the top of his form in the title role, displaying great energy and conviction as well as beauty of tone and sparkling coloratura.” (Opera Magazine, October 2014)

“The singing version of Odysseus is performed by the fantastic countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, who achieves several truly touching moments.” (Deutschland Radio, October 2014)

“A voice with extraordinary versatility... Zazzo's commitment and charismatic vocal presence draw the listener back in to confront and experience the songs anew.” (Guy Dammann, The Guardian, June 2014)

“Lawrence Zazzo's Ottone, sung with beguiling tonal beauty, was a joy throughout.” (Beaune Festival International D'Opera Baroque/Agrippina - Opera Magazine, November 2012)

“Lawrence Zazzo is one of those rare countertenor voices capable of vivid colouring and strong projection, and his singing of the title role is positively fruity in its richness.” (The Telegraph, October 2012)

“Keegan-Dolan’s approach allows the singers to concentrate on delivering those fiendish arias. In particular the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo hurls out the title role with terrific swagger.” (The Times, October 2012)

“If Andreas Scholl is the Rolls-Royce of countertenors, then Zazzo is the Maserati. Not that he races through everything he sings — though he can certainly accelerate when given the chance, and do some fancy turns. But he’s an open-top virtuoso of a singer with, as we used to say, a tiger in his tank. Match him with some of the earliest opera written by the teenage Mozart and you’re witnessing two miracles in one.” (The Times, September 2011)

“Anna Bonitatibus's limpidly sung Sifare and Lawrence Zazzo's permanently infuriated Farnace were the vocal stars of the enterprise... This Mitridate was the festival's surprise hit and a perfect use of the Prinzregententheater for gourmet operatic pleasure.” (Mitridate, re di Ponte – Bayerische Staatsoper – Opera Magazine, October 2011) 

“Zazzo and Noiri thrive in this madhouse of a recital, their respective instruments as well adapted to bringing out the subtleties and ambiguities inherent in a de la Mere, Auden or MacNeice poem as in the discords that infect the melodiousness of Dowland and Burgon alike. Lunarcy it may be, ‘though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.'” (International Record Review, September 2011)

“But the star "international" turns come from Lawrence Zazzo (Radamisto) and Christine Rice (Xenobia), dramatically and musically a really telling alliance of male and female altos. Rice's luscious aria with aching oboe obbligato "When will cruel fortune free my heart" was a highlight as were Zazzo's great laments. "Soul and Shadow" was soulful and searching, his opulent and beautiful countertenor at the service of heartfelt musicality. Very special.” (The Independent, October 2010)

“Lawrence Zazzo sings the title role with such beauty, all the while acting like an Oscar winner, that he deserves to be known as the king of countertenors.” (Financial Times, October 2010)

“Best of all was the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in the title role, which must originally have been written with a castrato in mind. In Handel's day, the castrati were the true stars of the opera – a stardom for which I suppose they considered their sacrifice worthwhile – but hearing the surgically unmodified Zazzo reaching the same notes in a powerful, clear and totally natural-sounding high voice is surely just as gripping as anything the 18th century could offer.” (The Daily Express, October 2010)