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Contemporary music and early music often attract artists with great technical precision, intelligence, and musicality, and this precept holds true for soprano LISA SAFFER. Renowned for her interpretation of 20th-century repertoire, Saffer is the preeminent interpreter of the role of Marie in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten and has appeared in productions of Klaas de Vries's A King Riding, Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, Birtwistle's Punch and Judy, and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, among many others. Her performance of Lulu at English National Opera was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for outstanding achievement in opera and received the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best vocal performance. The soprano will repeat the role at English National Opera this season, with the performances slated for telecast.
Saffer also is highly regarded for her performances in the operas of Handel. Her first exploration of the early operatic repertoire was in the Stephen Wadsworth productions of The Return of Ulysses (Minerva) and The Coronation of Poppea (Poppea) at the Skylight Opera in Milwaukee. Performances of Poppea in Agrippina, Teofane in Ottone, Polissena in Radamisto, Jenny and Polly Peachum in The Beggar's Opera, and Belinda in Dido and Aeneas (all conducted by Nicholas McGegan) followed. Earlier this season she made her debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich as Almirena in Rinaldo and performed Dalinda in Handel's Ariodante at New York City Opera. She returns to the New York City Opera this season for performances of Rameau's Platée with the Mark Morris Dance Company.
In concert Saffer has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic in works spanning four centuries. She has appeared in Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortileges with Pierre Boulez at Carnegie Hall, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, and, in fall 2003, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with conductor David Robertson in the opening concerts of Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. Her world premieres include John Harbison's Four Psalms, James Primosch's From a Book of Hours, and Bright Sheng's Three Chinese Love Songs.
Saffer appears on award-winning recordings on Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Classics, and New World Records.