Andrea Rost


Born: 1962
Andrea Rost gained recognition in the 1990s as one of the world's leading new lyric sopranos. Her family was not especially musical, but, she says, she was always singing. She copied what she heard on the radio and joined the school chorus. She was 16 when she first attended the opera, at the Budapest Opera House. The fare was Donizetti's Don Pasquale. She was entranced by the blend of music, story, and dramatic staging and said, "Oh my God, I have to do this." She studied voice, then entered the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. Her teacher was Professor Zsolt Bende. He developed in her a strong bel canto technique, and from her remarks in a British Classic FM Magazine interview, obviously retains a place as a trusted advisor. She credits, in addition to Prof. Bende, the advice of friendly established singers, in particular Leo Nucci, Renato Bruson, and Mirella Freni. She phoned Freni during an engagement at the Salzburg Festival, seeking advice, and the famous soprano invited her over for a talk. Rost remembers in particular Freni's remark that she should "...always smile when you're singing. Not with your face, but inside. This will help you find the right color for your voice."

Rost graduated from the Budapest Academy in 1987. She was engaged that year by the Budapest Opera, debuting as Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. From 1991 to 1996, she was a member of the company of the Vienna State Opera. There, she sang such Mozartean and bel canto roles as Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Rosina (Barber of Seville), Adina (L'Elisir d'amore), Pamina (Magic Flute), Susanna (Marriage of Figaro), Gilda (Rigoletto), and Lucia di Lammermoor. During that period, she also sang Gilda in a new production at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, conducted by Ricardo Muti, which was recorded live by Sony Classical, beginning a successful relationship with that company.

Rost has established a strong operatic career. In addition to the Vienna State Opera and La Scala, she has sung at the Opéra National de Paris, the Zurich Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (where she starred in the first modern performance of Donizetti's long-lost opera Elisabetta under the baton of Carlo Rizzi), the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Teatro Comunale of Florence. She has also essayed the realm of period performance, singing the role of Drusilla in Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. On the concert stage, Rost has sung in Robert Schumann's Die Paradies und die Peri in Salzburg, Zurich, and Graz under Harnoncourt, and sang a program of Mozart and operetta arias at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

After her appearance in Rigoletto on Sony Classical, she issued her first solo CD on that label, a collection of arias called Le delizie dell'amor, in 1997. She gained outstanding reviews for her participation in what has quickly become a preferred recorded version of Lucia di Lamermoor, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras in the conductor's own scholarly edition, using Donizetti's original manuscript (rather than the often altered and error-ridden standard editions) as its source. In 2000, she issued her second solo album, Amore II.