Among the most renowned singers of her generation, Ruxandra Donose has captured critical and popular acclaim in leading opera houses and concert halls around the world, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera New York, San Francisco Opera, Opera National de Paris, Vienna State Opera, Berlin Staatsoper, Los Angeles Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Real, Madrid, and Tokyo. She has worked with conductors such Claudio Abbado, Sergiu Celibidache, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Mariss Jansons, Donald Runnicles, Vladimir Jurowski, and Pierre Boulez.
Engagements in the 2012/2013 season see her reprising her acclaimed roles of Concepción L’heure espagnole with London Symphony Orchestra and Josep Pons at the Barbican, Idamante Idomeneo at the Ravinia Festival with James Conlon and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Octavian Der Rosenkavalier at the Cincinnati Opera. She makes her house debuts with English National Opera in the title role of Calixto Bieto’s production of Carmen and with Opera de Dijon as Donna Elvira in a new production of Don Giovanni. On the concert platform, engagements this season include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Romanian National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest, Marguerite La Damnation de Faust with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Charles Dutoit at the Royal Festival Hall in London and concert performances of Il Farnace in Cologne and Versailles.
Last season, her engagements included Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte for Los Angeles Opera, Donna Elvira for Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Tamiri in a new production of Vivaldi´s Il Farnace in Paris, Strasbourg and Mulhouse, Charlotte Werther in her native Romania and Marguerite La Damntion de Faust in a staged production in Seattle. On the concert platform engagements included Das Lied von Erde with the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, her debut with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow and Aberdeen with Berlioz´s La mort de Cléopâtre and Rossini´s Stabat Mater in London at Royal Festival Hall with London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Recent highlights also include La Cenerentola at the Glyndebourne Festival, Concepción in Ravel´s L'heure espagnole and Charlotte Werther at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Nicklausse at the Metropolitan in New York, Donna Elvira and The Composer Ariadne auf Naxos for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Octavian for Bayerische Staatsoper, a new production of La Cenerentola for Opera de Nice and Carmen at Cincinnati Opera and Romanian National Opera. Donose also performed with Dmitri Hvorostovsky at the Singapore Sun Festival and with Anna Netrebko in Vienna and Moscow and garnered high acclaim for her recital recital at the Grünewald Hall in Stockholm. She has sung in concert performances of La Damnation de Faust with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich, Tokyo, San Francisco, London, and Amsterdam.
Past notable European engagements also include performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden ( Sesto Giulio Cesare, Annio La Clemenza di Tito and Nicklausse Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Opera de Paris (Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro), the Glyndebourne Fetsival (Sesto), Vienna Staatsoper (Varvara Katya Kabanova, Pierotto Linda di Chamounix, Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia, Cherubino, Nicklausse, Dorabella Cosi fan tutte, Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, Antigone in Enescu’s Oedipe), Salzburg Easter Festival (Fyodor Boris Godunov, conducted by Claudio Abbado), Finnish National Opera (Giovanna Seymour Anna Bolena), Dresden Semperoper (La Cenerentola and Cherubino), Teatro la Fenice (Speranza and Proserpina in Monteverdi’s Orfeo), Salzburg Festival (Isaura Tancredi), Octavian with the RAI Orchestra in Torino, and the title role in La Grande-Duchesse de Gerlostein with the Opéra Comique of Denmark. A regular guest singer of Deutsche Oper Berlin she recently appeared here to great success in productions of La Donna del Lago, La Cenerentola, Werther, Idomoneo, Der Rosenkavalier and Ariadne auf Naxos.
In the US, Donose made her debut in performances of Nicklausse with San Francisco Opera in a new production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann which led to her immediate re-engagment for the title role of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Sesto. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Cherubino, a role she repeated in her debut in Japan with the Saito Kinen Festival under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, and in 2008 appeared at Los Angeles Opera in the American premiere of the opera The Fly. Further engagements include appearances at the Opera Company of Philadelphia (Rosina, Romeo, Dorabella and The Composer), Pittsburgh Opera (Charlotte), Cincinnati Opera (Mélisande Pelléas et Mélisande, Dallas Opera (Dorabella), Canadian Opera Company (Adalgisa in a new production of Norma), San Diego Opera (Idamante) and Minnesota Opera (The Composer).
A highly demanded concert singer, Donose has appeared with many leading orchestras around the world. The role of Marguerite in La Damnation de Faust has featured prominently in her concert career, with performances with the Berlin Sinfonie-Orchester, Berlin Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich, Orchestre National du Capitôle in both Toulouse and Valencia and Orchestre de Paris. She has appeared with the Dresden Staatskapelle (Dvorak’s Stabat Mater later released by Deutsche Grammophon), Orchestre de Paris (Das Lied von der Erde), Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Mahler’s Second Symphony), Bayerische Rundfunk Orchester (El amor brujo and Ravel’s Shéhérazade), Berlin Philharmonic (Shéhérazade), the Salzburg Festival (Mozart’s Mass in C major), Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (Walton’s The Bear and d'Albert's Die Abreise), Münchner Philharmoniker (Bach’s Mass in B minor conducted by Sergiu Celibidache and a programme of French opera arias led by Roberto Abbado), Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn (Bach’s St. John Passion) and Frankfurt Alte Oper (Bach’s St. Matthew Passion).
In North America the mezzo-soprano first appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Bach’s Magnificat. She has appeared at the Carnegie Hall (La Damnation de Faust and Concepción L’heure espagnole) and with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (La Damnation de Faust), Boston Symphony Orchestra (Hansel), Minnesota Orchestra (Les nuits d’été), Pittsburg Symphony (Mozart’s Requiem) and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen in Hong Kong.
Her recordings include Schubert’s Ständchen for mezzo-soprano and male chorus (Philips), Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with Giuseppe Sinopoli (Deutsche Grammophon), Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Michael Halasz (Naxos), Bach’s Mass in B minor with Sergiu Celibidache, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Béla Drahos (Naxos), Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Bertrand de Billy (Arte Nova), La Cenerentola (DVD, Opus Arte), Oedipe (Naxos), Songs by Nicolae Bretan (Nimbus), Vivaldi´s Il Farnace (EMI/Virgin) and many others.
Ruxundra Donose is represented by Intermusica worldwide, excluding North America.
November 2012 / 1065 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Marguerite in Berlioz La Damnation de Faust / Royal Festival Hall
cond. Charles Dutoit
“…Ruxandra Donose was a ravishing Marguerite – she took the role in Dutoit’s 2004 performance, and it is little wonder that he wanted her back. She was vocally captivating and enjoyed fine obbligato support from violist Fiona Winning and Leila Ward on cor anglais in two of the most sublime numbers in the score; and she and Groves created an ecstatic love-duet.”
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, May 2013
Tamiri in Vivaldi Il Farnace / Château de Versailles
cond. George Petrou
“The female cast are outstanding. Ruxandro Donose as Tamiri is dramatic and poignant. Her bronze tone inhabits the role of the courageous mother and lover.”
Monique Parmentier, Classique News, April 2013
Title Role in Bizet Carmen / London Coliseum
English National Opera / cond. Ryan Wigglesworth / dir. Calixto Bieito
“the beautiful Ruxandra Donose [acted her heart out] in the title role... Both Carmen and José have lovely lyric voices, and both made the most of their gifts... [T]his is a "Carmen" that reminds you how superb the familiar music is.”
Paul Levy, The Wall Street Journal, November 2012
“As Carmen, Ruxandra Donose suits Bieito’s take very well. [This] feral, compulsively manipulative Carmen was like a heat-seeking missile, seeking whom she may destroy, then moving on. Donose’s stillness and self-possession were like an invisible shield, setting her apart from the chaos she creates and defined from the start by a low-key, almost meditative ‘Habañera’. You always want, and hardly ever get, Carmen to be a force of nature, and Donose gets pretty close, especially with the sadness underlying her fiery, so-called free spirit ...”
Peter Reed, Classical Source, November 2012
“There's some fine singing [...] This is, by far, Donose's best UK performance to date”.
Tim Ashley, Guardian, November 2012
“Donose is a riveting Carmen dramatically and a complete success musically. Completely free from traditional Carmen antics and gypsy tics she creates a complex and totally convincing portrait of a strong, unpredictable and finally pitiable woman. [She is] such a strong protagonist.
Ruxandra Donose is the real deal – an excellent singer and a captivating and many-layered actress”.
Sebastian Petit, Opera Britannia, November 2012
“Ruxandra Donose sang a sultry and humane Carmen... Her interpretation is marked out by her clever ability to create not only tension through her use of color, but also to communicate feelings of awkwardness very well. She was fully committed and sang the role extremely well ...”
Michael Migliore, Musical Criticism, December 2012
“First among the pluses is Romanian mezzo Ruxandra Donose in the title role. She has a caressing, velvety-smooth voice, and a way of harnessing her stage energy to a point of stillness that makes her mesmerizing. If men want her, they have to go to her”.
Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg, November 2012
“As [Carmen –] played by the formidable Ruxandra Donose – [...] contemptuously shrugs off rutting soldiers and clocks her Don Jose (Adam Diegel), we are suddenly plunged into real drama, with Diegel’s ringing tenor rising to the challenge of Donose’s sumptuous contralto; this pair go on to maintain a convincing and moving fight to the death”.
Michael Church, Independent, November 2012
“But in the middle of it is a fascinating re-interpretation of the standard, dark and dangerous Latin femme fatale. [Blonde,] Romanian mezzo Ruxandra Donose […] edges the role into a different archetype: the sexy, strong but sympathetic woman who knows her own mind and shines out in the shabby world of chavs and cheats that she inhabits.
What's more, she's actually loveable (a rare quality in Carmens of my experience), singing with a warm, soft, pearly mezzo that's incredibly seductive”.
Michael White, Daily Telegraph, November 2012
“Ruxandra Donose made an excellent Carmen: vulnerable but not too vulnerable, strong, but not too strong, complex, conflicted, and at times devastatingly alluring”.
Mark Berry, Seen and Heard International, November 2012
“Ruxandra Donose, making her ENO debut, makes a convincing Carmen, with an expressive and eloquent voice... Bieito’s production, originally staged in Barcelona in 2010, makes intense acting demands of its ‘heroine’ and Donose is more than up to the challenge.”
Antony Craig, Gramophone
, November 2012
“There is some fine singing from the leads... Ruxandra Donose is Carmen and, surprise, surprise, blonde! She’s sexy, too.”
Robert Tanitch, Mature Times, November 2012
“...the modern Carmen, excellently sung by Romanian soprano Ruxandra Donose”.
William Hartston, Express, November 2012
“First seen in the telephone box, Ruxandra Donose's blonde Carmen is a study in contradictions: self-assured in her physicality, manipulative and emotionally needy. It's a soft-edged voice, quite delicate in the "Chanson bohème", but an alluring performance”.
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, November 2012
“The Romanian mezzo Ruxandra Donose, making her ENO debut... played Carmen as both icy and hot, fickle and confused. She desires all and nothing”.
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, November 2012
“The cast deal with the vocal and physical challenges remarkably well. Donose initially appears unconventional as Carmen but she brings a deliberate cunning and maturity to the role of the seductress”.
Alastair Muir, The Public Review, November 2012
Concepción in Ravel L’heure espagnole / Barbican Hall
BBC Symphony Orchestra / dir. Kenneth Richardson / cond. Josep Pons
“Ruxandra Donose might have portrayed the role of Concepción with greater overt sexiness in her acting, but the full impact of her sensuous mezzo-soprano meant that insinuation was often all that was required to make men melt to her merest wish”.
Evan Dickerson, One Stop Arts, October 2012
Idamante in Mozart Idomeneo / Ravinia Festival
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / cond. James Conlon
"Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose was equally convincing as the young prince Idamante. Her clear, often bright mezzo voice conveyed an endearing purity of soul".
Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Classical Review, August 2012
"The Romanian mezzo-soprano Donose, a Conlon discovery whose delightful Dorabella was one of the highlights of his Mozart ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ at Ravinia in 2010, made a vibrant Idamante, rock-solid in her dramatic declamation, pouring out a big, alluring sound that was alive with dusky colorations".
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, August 2012
"The Idamante of Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose was a beautifully sculpted portrait. She moved with the easy grace of an honorable young prince. Her bright, supple voice, with a hint of smoke in its lower register, clearly expressed Idamante’s most soaring hopes and his deepest fears".
Musical America, August 2012
Donna Elvira in Mozart Don Giovanni / Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
cond. Constantinos Carydis / dir. Francesca Zambello
“[Ruxandra] Donose’s ‘Mi tradi’ takes on a wild air, expressing Donna Elvira’s emotional trauma. Donose has a very strong background in French repertoire, so imbibes its values of intelligence and clarity. This enhances her feel for the fundamental elegance of Mozart’s style, even in an opera which should be as dangerous as Don Giovanni".
Anne Ozorio, Opera Today, February 2012
"[Ruxandra Donose’s] striking ‘Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata’, [was] vocally unassailable, breathtaking".
Michael Migliore, Musical Criticism, February 2012
"The Donna Elvira of Ruxandra Donose was the most successful of the evening’s ladies, with rich tone, clean articulation and keen acting; her ‘Mi tradì quell’alma ingrata’ showed her to be one step from madness… or the convent".
Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia, February 2012
Orphée in Gluck Orphée et Eurydice / Philadelphia Opera
cond. Corrado Rovaris / dir. Robert B. Driver
“The softness and delicacy of her singing helped us identify with her plight... She communicated best in the scenes where she came downstage, close to the audience”.
Steve Cohen, Broad Street Review, June 2010
“Orphee is sung by Ruxandra Donose, a mezzo-soprano who is handsome in sound and looks. What can I say? She WAS Orphee, she looked the part [and] moved with great eloquence. What sets Donose among the top rank of Orphees I've heard is her expressiveness and heart. She knows how to get the most out of her voice, and she can act. She [has] a gorgeous [voice], full, rich and deep, unlike any other singer I've heard in this role live, and like very few on records... [W]hen Dunose sang ‘Jai Perdu mon Eurydice’ she cast such a spell that the audience sat rapt as the music played out, only bursting into applause when the music stopped. I doubt there were many dry eyes in the theater”.
James Camner, Opera-L, June 2010
Concepción in Ravel L'heure espagnole / Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
cond. Antonio Pappano / dir. Richard Jones / revival dir. Elaine Kidd
"First seen in 2007, the Royal Opera's comic double bill of Ravel and Puccini returns for its first revival [and] their dark-tinged humour seems more or less intact... Donose [as the far-from-immaculate Concepción] is feisty and dashingly sexy, very obviously too much of a handful for her clock-making husband Torquemada".
Andrew Clements, Guardian, October 2009
"The Romanian mezzo Ruxandra Donose is the volcanic vamp, and there’s no shortage of vocal or physical lava in her performance".
Times, October 2009
"L'Heure espagnole centres on Concepcion, a woman in the Desperate Housewives mould who is bored with her elderly husband and is constantly seeking sexual gratification to keep her amused.Ruxandra Donose was a spirited, saucy Concepcion, entering into the farce with commitment and relish, while displaying a rich, focused mezzo voice".
Michael Sinclair, Opera Critic, October 2009
"The Royal Opera's pairing of his L'heure espagnole with Puccini's Gianni Schicci makes a glittering comic double bill, first seen in Richard Jones's staging two years ago and again conducted by Antonio Pappano. L'heure has grown even wittier. Ruxandra Donose shines as Concepción, the thrustingly saucy watch-mender's wife with a hunger for big hands but not clocks.
She and Christopher Maltman as the chunky muleteer Ramiro, stole the show, sharing the limelight with the orchestra and draining Ravel's score for every ounce of humour and sensuality".
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, October 2009
"[T]he Royal Opera is at its best... The casts are choice, too, though with tight playing from everyone on stage, the impression is of a perfectly aligned company achievement. But mention must be made of Ruxandra Donose’s blowsy Concepcion ... A wonderful evening".
George Hall, Stage, October 2009
"It's always heartening when a revival not only comes up looking as fresh as a daisy but is even more compelling than when it was new. This is exactly what's happened to Richard Jones' already exemplary stagings of L'Heure Espagnole and Gianni Schicchi for the Royal Opera. With many of the original cast returning to reprise their roles, it's the casting of the leads in both operas which really makes the difference ...
I would never have associated Donose with comedy, but she threw herself into the role of Concepcion and delivered a rip-roaring performance that wouldn't have been out of place in a Carry on Film".
Keith McDonnell, musicomh.com, October 2009
"Most of the original cast have returned for both pieces but a notable change in the L’Heure espagnole line-up comes with the Romanian mezzo Ruxandra Donose as Conception[,] the feisty and frustrated female lead who attempts to juggle a string of lovers while her absent-minded husband is off winding the town clocks. Donose has an eye for comic performance, flapping and flirting with great effect, and her voice packs the necessary punch".
Laura Battle, whatsonstage.com, October 2009
Title role in Bizet Carmen / Cincinnati
cond. Andreas Delfs / dir. Mark Streshinsky
"For her part, Romanian born Ruxandra Donose portrayed Carmen as more than a heartless predator. Though a serial lover who craves liberty above all things, she loves Don Jose, and Donose made her warmth and affection clear, even as she faced his jealous rage and accepted her fate at the end.
Why Don Jose loves Carmen is apparent, as Donose is the most fetching, vivacious Carmen one could wish for. Not only does she have a luscious voice, but she can dance -- the gypsy band held her aloft during their wild dance in act II -- play castanets and crack a whip in time to the music (act I, ‘habanera’). Her every note and gesture revealed a singing actress of the first order".
Mary Ellyn Huton, Music in Cincinnati, July 2009
"A voice of sultry beauty... lovely to look at, she was a tough-girl Carmen who caressed the men while stealing their wallets. She cracked a whip and could throw another girl across the room ..."
Cincinnati Enquirer, July 2009
Veronica in Shore The Fly / Paris and Los Angeles
cond. Placido Domingo / dir. David Cronenberg
"The lovely Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose sings Veronica, the most dramatically pivotal role, with vulnerability, quiet intensity and lush colorings. She too takes risks with her portrayal. Wearing just a slip in an intimate romantic scene with Mr. Okulitch, she writhes with pleasure as he fondles her breasts and strokes her crotch. It’s hard to imagine even a go-for-broke artist from earlier times, like Teresa Stratas, consenting to such a thing".
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, September 2008
"Ruxandra Donose’s opulent mezzo-soprano invested Brundle’s lover and chronicler with compassion".
Allan Ulrich, Financial Times, September 2008
“The most interesting performance came from the mezzo Ruxandra Donose, whose soft-grained singing matched Veronica’s vulnerability".
John Allison, Opera, September 2008
"Donose had a sweet and endearing quality and her voice soared through her often thick music, filled with many high notes".
Robert Blum, San Francisco Chronicle, September.2008
"Although Seth is the title role, Veronica is the pivotal part. Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose, looking slim and sexy in her tight-fitting 1950s outfits, has the stage presence and musical heft to flesh out the character. She has two big scenes, and delivers them with power".
Harvey Steiman, Musicweb International, September 2008
Marguerite in Berlioz La Damnation de Faust / Davies Symphony Hall
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Chorus & Pacific Boys Choir / cond. Charles Dutoit
"As Marguerite, mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose infused her assignment with a quality of deep sadness, a result of her plush, shadowy vocal tone and her fondness for the droopy phrase. In a singer less vibrant and responsive, the results might have sounded merely lugubrious, but Donose's performance -- especially in the exquisitely shaded ‘King of Thule’ ballad -- was superb".
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, April 2007
"It was Ruxandra Donose who lent the evening its greatest luster. Singing the role of Marguerite, the mezzo-soprano combined a gorgeous, honey tone with a deeply affecting sense of the character's innocence and yearning... Her performance of the ‘King of Thule’ song — beautifully accompanied by violist Yun Jie Liu — was the evening's mesmerizing high point".
Contra Costa Times, April 2007
"Only mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose as Marguerite seemed unfazed by the demands of the series. Her alluring looks and sophisticated coiffure belied the naïve nature of the character (well, alright — stupid), but her lovely voice and sincere acting created a fully-rounded portrait".
Bay Area Reporter, May 2007
"Romanian Donose, a petite woman, also sang the ideal portrait of Marguerite. Hers is a light, youthful voice that achieved an excellent impression of innocence, even in the latter part of the work when her lines are elegiac. The fact that she's so good-looking didn't harm the portrait one bit".
Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Classical Voice, May 2007
"And then there was Donose, from Romania. Her voice is richly cultured, with depths of color. In the famous aria ‘Le Roi de Thule (King of Thule)’, which Berlioz called a ‘chanson gothique’, she was a true chanteuse, capturing the ancient, almost out-of-body beauty of the song".
Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News, April 2007
Desdemona in Verdi Otello / Carnegie Hall
Concert performance / Opera Orchestra of New York / cond. Eve Queler
"Desdemona is a big part in Rossini's 'Otello', and it was superbly filled by Ruxandra Donose, the Romanian mezzo-soprano. That is an extraordinary instrument — having a little mezzo smoke in it, and a little Eastern European smoke. It also has a quick vibrato, and, in the lower register, a little throb. And, on Wednesday night, this voice seemed more beautiful the louder it got! As Desdemona, Ms. Donose had little trouble with passagework, and she showed a very wide vocal range — this character sings a million high Cs. And Ms. Donose got to the heart of Desdemona, the most wronged woman in all the world. She was lovely and pure, but also brave and determined".
Jay Nordlinger, New York Sun, January 2007
"Romanian lyric mezzo Ruxandra Donose made a rare New York appearance as Desdemona. Hers was the most compelling vocal acting of the evening, and her voice was rich, warm and even throughout Rossini's numerous rapid-fire staccato roulades. She interpreted this difficult music with crystalline precision, with the individual notes standing out like pearls on a string. Tall, elegant and glamorous, she was a pleasure to watch as well".
Eric Myers, Variety, January 2007
"The triumph of the opera is the musically rich characterization of the vulnerable Desdemona ... Ruxandra Donose [was] earthy-voiced and beguiling”.
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, January 2007