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Hilary Summers

Born in South Wales, Hilary Summers is one of the world’s few genuine contraltos and has made more than forty CDs spanning works from the early baroque period to the present day. She has sung in most of the major concert halls and opera houses of the world. Greatly respected for her interpretations of the baroque repertoire, she has long been in demand for Handelian roles and has given more than a hundred performances of Messiah. With Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company she has recorded Juno (Semele), Disinganno (Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno), Rosmira (Partenope), Teodata (Flavio), and Amastre (Serse). She worked closely with the iconoclastic composer and conductor Pierre Boulez and together with the Ensemble Intercontemporain recorded his masterwork Le Marteau sans maître, a recording that won a Grammy Award. She went on to perform the piece worldwide and under his baton also performed Le Visage nuptial, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and Ligeti’s Aventures and Aventures nouvelles. A specialist in contemporary repertoire, she possesses a range of three octaves, which has excited the imagination of many composers. She has participated in several operatic world premières, singing the role of Stella (Carter’s What Next?) for Staatsoper Berlin, Madame Irma (Peter Eötvös’s Le Balcon) at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Miss Prism (Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and White Queen, Dormouse, and Cook (Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Underground), among others. Hilary Summers also created the role of Nell (György Kurtág’s Fin de partie) at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, to great critical acclaim.

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