Wagner : El oro del Rhin (Das Rheingold)Viena, 2009 (Audio)
Director: Franz Welser Möst
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Born in Finland, Juha Uusitalo began his musical career as a flautist working with many of the country’s major orchestras, including the Orchestra of Finnish National Opera, before emerging in 1997 as a major vocal talent with the same company as Verdi’s Falstaff. Immediately re-invited for productions of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman and Walton’s The Bear, Juha Uusitalo then became a member of Finnish National Opera from 2000 to 2008 during which time he sang his first Ring Cycle (Wotan/Wanderer) and debuted such roles as Amfortas, Jokanaan and Scarpia.
Juha Uusitalo first attracted international attention in a performance of Wagner’s Siegfried, conducted by Gustav Kuhn, at the 1999 Tirol Festival and his international profile was further raised in the 2002/2003 season with his debut in new productions of Das Rheingold and Die Götterdämmerung, conducted by Zubin Mehta, at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper. Other productions have included Fidelio at the San Francisco Opera, Paris’ Chatelet and in the inaugural production of Valencia’s Palau de les Artes with Zubin Mehta (recorded for DVD); the title role of Aulis Salinnen’s The Horseman at Savonlinna’s Opera Festival and in Moscow; his role debut as Macbeth at the Savonlinna Opera Festival; The High Priest in Samson and Dalilah in San Francisco, as well his Los Angeles Opera debut as Kurwenal and his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008/2009 as Jokanaan/Salome.
Wagner’s Flying Dutchman has become something of a signature role in Juha Uusitalo’s repertory and has marked his debut at La Scala Milan, Vienna’s State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Savonlinna’s Opera Festival, Tokyo’s New National Theatre, De Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam as well as in the acclaimed new Konwitschny production at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and James Levine.
An active concert performer, Juha Uusitalo has performed with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra: with Riccardo Chailly (Oedipus Rex and Des Knaben Wunderhorn) and with Vassily Sinaisky (Pulcinella) and twice collaborated with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis, in Saint-Saens’ Samson and Dalilah and in Fidelio (recorded for LSO Live). Additional highlights include Oedipus Rex with Saraste at the BBC Proms, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the San Francisco Symphony/Tilson Thomas, Tosca with the CBSO/Oramo, Carmina Burana with Mehta in both Florence and Israel and Zemlinsky’s Lyrische Sinfonie with the Philharmonia/Salonen on a major European tour.
Beginning in the 2007/2008 season, Juha Uusitalo embarked on two major new productions of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Vienna’s State Opera, conducted by Franz Welser-Moest, and at Valencia’s Palau de les Arts in co-production with Florence, conducted by Zubin Mehta, culminating last season in complete Cycle performances. Last season included a return to Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper in a new production of Tosca, conducted by Fabio Luisi, recorded for TV and cinema broadcast, Tosca at the Savonlinna Opera Festival as well as productions of Flying Dutchman in New York, Amsterdam and Munich.
Juha Uusitalo’s current season begins with two contrasting concert appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival in a Wagner programme with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo, and as Jack Rance in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Scottish Opera and Francesco Corti and the opening concerts of the Orchestre de Paris’ season with Paavo Jarvi in Sibelius’ Kullervo. A new production of Hindemith’s Cardillac at the Vienna State Opera under Franz Welser-Moest is followed by a new production of Siegfried at the Opera National de Paris with Philippe Jordan and a long-awaiting debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as Scarpia, conducted by Antonio Pappano.
Franz Welser Möst