Tora Augestad

mezzo-soprano

contact

Doreen Lutz

dl(at)karstenwitt.com

+49 30 214 594-235

General Management

CR Asa Maria Mikkelsen

Dates

07.09. 19:00
Theaterhaus Stuttgart - T2

Golden Twenties - Lieder by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler a.o.

Tora Augestad, mezzo-soprano
Music for a while

biography

Tora Augestad’s wonderfully precise mezzo-soprano moved the audience from the very first note. Mastering all the variations in register without difficulty, she charmed as a passionate lover and sensitive storyteller (...). Her charmingly nonchalant version of “Mackie Messer” set standards. General-Anzeiger Bonn

Tora Augestad’s versatility inspires composers, theatre directors and conductors. Through commissioning new works and through the collaboration with her various ensembles she continuously seeks new challenges and the exchange of artistic ideas. She knows how to be theatrically convincing and how to engage her vocal capabilities, which defy easy classification, in an appropriate and compelling manner.

Born in Bergen in 1979, the singer/actress Tora Augestad studied classical music and jazz singing in Oslo and Stockholm, devoting herself principally to repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries. While studying in Berlin and Munich she intensified her involvement in German music before graduating in cabaret singing from the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.

In the meantime, Tora Augestad has become a regular guest at the opera houses, concert halls and theatres of her native Norway and the rest of Europe, sharing the podium with musical partners such as the Ensemble Modern (Weill’s Three Penny Opera under HK Gruber), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire under Jukka-Pekka Sarasate), Ensemble Contrechamps (Gardner’s No Thanks), Klangforum Wien (Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil), Remix Ensemble (Berio’s Folksongs), Finnish Chamber Orchestra (Paus’ Hate Songs) and the NDR Symphony Orchestra (Widmann’s Dunkle Saiten under Thomas Hengelbrock). She gave the world premiere of an opera commissioned by herself at the Bergen Festival 2015: Cecilie Ore’s Adam & Eve.

The collaboration with the Swiss director Christoph Marthaler, which began in 2010 with the premiere of Beat Furrer’s music theatre work Wüstenbuch, has become a constant in Tora Augestad’s artistic life. After the success of Marthaler’s Meine faire Dame, a take on My Fair Lady, at the Theater Basel in 2012 with guest appearances in Naples, Avignon, Edinburgh and Paris, the homage to Verdi’s Lo Stimolatore Cardiaco in Basel and the Zurich Opera production of Sale with music by Handel followed. The musically rich staged Lieder recital King Size went on tour to cities including Hamburg, Zagreb, Prague, Moscow, Nanterre, Geneva, Turin, Rotterdam, Bergen and London (Royal Opera House). The production Letzte Tage. Ein Vorabend (Last Days. An Eve) was performed in 2013 at the Wiener Festwochen and Festival d’Automne Paris and in 2014 at the Staatsoper Berlin. Tessa Blomstedt gibt nicht auf, which was premiered at the Volksbühne Berlin, will be presented in Mexico in 2016; Tora Augestad can currently be seen at the Volksbühne Berlin in Hallelujah and from September 2016 in Bekannte Gefühle, Gemischte Gesichter, her ninth Marthaler production.

In 2004 Tora Augestad founded the ensemble MUSIC FOR A WHILE, made up of renowned musicians from the Norwegian jazz scene. After the release of their CD Weill Variations, the singer was awarded the renowned Lotte Lenya Prize in 2008. Their album Graces that refrain, with new arrangements and interpretations of classical arias, was released in 2012 and the CD Canticles of Winter in 2014. The ensemble has already appeared at the Kurt Weill Festival Dessau, Bergen International Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Dresden Music Festival, Handel Festival Halle and Nikolaisaal Potsdam. Her BOA trio (clarinet, cello, voice) released its debut album mOOn Over tOwns in 2013 and has performed at the Ultima Festival Oslo, Radialsystem Berlin, Klangspuren Schwaz and Wien Modern.

In the current season Tora Augestad is invited to the Musikfest Stuttgart with MUSIC FOR A WHILE und to the Schwetzinger SWR Festival for a new programme with the Lautten Compagney Berlin. Furthermore she will sing in the Bamberg Symphony’s new year’s eve concert under HK Gruber, and perform with the Oslo Philharmonic and the NRK Norwegian Radio Orchestra. Her first ECM CD entitled Rumi Songs was released in summer 2016.

Tora Augestad has been co-artistic director of the Hardanger Music Festival in Norway since 2015 and was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize 2015, the most important cultural prize in Scandinavia.            

2016/17 season

This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorised by the artist management.

www.toraaugestad.no
 

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Reviews

Tora Augestad’s wonderfully precise mezzo-soprano moved the audience from the very first note. Mastering all the variations in register without difficulty, she charmed as a passionate lover (“Surabaya Johnny”, “Come again” by John Dowland) and sensitive storyteller (“Der Leiermann” and “Gute Nacht” from Schubert’s “Winterreise”). Her charmingly nonchalant version of “Mackie Messer” set standards.
General-Anzeiger Bonn, Claudia Wallendorf, September 2015 

Augestad is the star of the evening: her blowsy, jazzy approach to the more modern numbers is delightful. Augestad also has innate comic talent: as the evening goes on, her sense of humour shows ever more strongly in ironic dance moves, witty gestures and some deliberately hyperbolic singing. When you feel lost in the piece, Augestad's calm conviction and clear enjoyment of her role reassures you that it's still ok to laugh.
Bachtrack, April 2015 (on Christoph Marthaler's King Size)

As a performer, Augestad keeps talking directly to you. She has a charisma and an authority that makes her own the stage. Yet her musicianship is not theatrical, but she finds a similar presence in the music’s own structures and expressions as she projects as an artist. Augestad is a vocal multi-artist with this and more in her voice.
Klassekampen, January 2015 (on her interpretation of Luciano Berio's "Folksongs" with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra)

It is possible that no performer will ever parody Whitney Houston with such shivering movements as the strong-voiced Tora Augestad (…).
Der Tagesspiegel, October 2014 (on Christoph Marthaler's "Tessa Blomstedt gibt nicht auf" at the Volksbühne Berlin)

Mezzo-soprano Tora Augestad’s performance of Pierrot was vividly characterised, kicking the whole thing off with an almost comically drunken Mondestrunken. She brought out the theatrical side of the piece, and she seemed intent on showcasing the cabaret-like and almost burlesque side of Pierrot. The performance, especially the second half, was searingly intense, a feat made all the more impressive by Augestad seldom looking up from her score, instead concentrating on bringing out as much detail as possible. Her attention to both text and diction was remarkable. Equally impressive was her ability to change moods instantly, from drunken ramblings to hysterical cackling, to deep existential despair.
Bachtrack.com, November 2013

Tora Augestad is far more than an academically trained singer. She lives and suffers through her songs, taking her vocal and theatrical capabilities to the max.
Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, March 2009

Tora Augestads voice and delivery are ideal for Weill's cabaret style but flexible enough to deal naturally with a context where the written and the improvised go hand-in-hand.
The Irish Times, 2008

The casting of Augestad is brilliant, conveying a wide spectrum of feelings with an arresting charisma, intelligence, playfulness and charm. She can be fragile and suggestive on her reserved delivery of "Ballade Von Der Sexuallen Hörigkeit," ironic on "Seeräuberjenny," or detached and sorrowful on "Mackie Messer," all from The Threepenny Opera.
All About Jazz, 2008

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Programme proposals

Wir sind ein Traum der Zeiten (Dream of times)
with the Ensemble Lautten Compagney Berlin
works by Franz Schubert, Johann Krieger and Thomas Champion

A Night at the Cabaret
with Trygve Broske (piano) and Espen Leite (accordion)
Lieder by Arnold Schönberg, Friedrich Hollaender, Mischa Spoliansky and others.

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projects

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media centre

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