Acis and Galatea
Handel’s stunning pastoral opera, Acis and Galatea, fully-staged in a historically-informed Baroque style by students from Newcastle University under the direction of international countertenor Lawrence Zazzo.
Handel’s Orlando at St John’s Smith Square, London
In Orlando’s ‘Cielo! Se tu il consenti’ Lawrence Zazzo shaped his superb countertenor with the front of his mouth as much as his throat, meaning that the resulting precision in his output was outstanding. Through excellent singing and acting, he also effectively revealed the different facets to the character’s madness so that in ‘Ah Stigie larve!’ his agitated anger contrasted with moments when he revealed a sense of blithe delusion.
Zazzo gave the title role his all. Through gestures, facial expressions and vocal fire, I believed every twist of Orlando’s fate. He was convincing when mad, when fighting, even when sleeping on his feet.
Lawrence Zazzo was a wonderfully engaged Orlando, creating a vivid character sketch in each aria which was far more than a mere concert performance…the highlight of course is the mad scene at the end of Act Two…evoked by Zazzo with technical bravura.
Lawrence Zazzo’s virtuoso mad scene with its real emotional heft, transforming the opera’s serious core...
Messiah in Cambridge
Performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Choir of Clare College and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the St John’s College Chapel in Cambridge on 2 December 2017
Graham Ross conductor
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
Elin Manahan Thomas soprano
Laurence Zazzo countertenor
Andrew Tortise tenor
Jonathan Brown bass
Vivaldi’s sacred music in Bern
So excited to perform this programme of Vivaldi’s sacred music and concerti with the stunning violinist Amandine Beyer and Camerata Bern on 6 and 7 December 2017.
...Dann aber ereignete sich gleichsam ein Erweckungserlebnis: Im «Salve Regina» RV 616, genauer in dessen «Ad te suspiramus», wurde Zazzos Stimme unvermittelt ungleich klarer und gleichmäßiger, wodurch der Satz zu einem intimen Wunder gelang...
Récital Lawrence Zazzo – Lyon and Vichy
... La voix est demeurée la grande triomphatrice de la soirée. Dans « Cosi stanco pellegrino » l’air de Crispo de Bononcini, Zazzo se distingue par l’élégance assumée de l’expression et la sensibilité de la ligne mélodique dont il ne force à aucun moment la conduite naturelle...
...Zazzo fait plus qu’en respecter l’enivrante structure harmonique et rythmique : il lui confère une gravité faite de légèreté, une tension toute en retenue...
Die Tode des Orpheus world premiere in Saarbrücken
Very excited and honoured to perform the world premiere of Rolf Riehm’s “The Deaths of Orpheus” with Jonathan Stockhammer and the Deutsches Radio Philharmonie.
…Zazzo nutzt sein ganzes Register, „springt“ vom Countertenor in den Bariton und umgekehrt. Halsbrecherische Koloraturen, die Biegsamkeit, ja, das akrobatische Spiel mit der Stimme beeindrucken..
Click to listen
Giulio Cesare Tour to Essen, Paris, Vienna and San Sebastián
Theater und Philharmonie Essen, our first stop on a Giulio Cesare tour with Ottavio Dantone, Accademia Bizantina, and a super cast who always manage to teach this salty old dog some new tricks. Next stops were the always delightful audiences at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Theater an der Wien, finishing up in the beautiful San Sebastián’s Kursaal. As always, Maestro Dantone brought fresh ideas to a piece I thought I knew pretty well—bravi tutti, especially Emoke Baráth in her role debut as Cleopatra and Lionel Renoux, natural horn player extraordinaire, with whom I had enormous fun playing around with "Va tacito"!
…Lawrence Zazzo war dabei die Lust an der Rolle Cäsars immer anzusehen, wobei er seine herrschaftliche Freiheit und Lässigkeit sowie seine nachdenkliche, reizvolle, ja humanste Seite in diesem von Eitelkeiten gedrängten Ringen spielerisch eindrücklich zur Geltung brachte…
... In the title role, Lawrence Zazzo performed the part of Cesare with a nice touch of humour beyond the mix of boisterous confidence and genuine lovesickness. His affinity for this music is unquestionable, showing off his firm, vibrant countertenor that is still remarkably easy at the top, with impressive coloratura and stylish singing...
...Dès l’air d’entrée de Jules César, le contre-ténor américain Lawrence Zazzo fait feu de tout bois. Sa voix puissante, aux aigus sonores et larges, voire tonitruants (ce qui sied parfaitement au rôle) sait jouer avec des suavités proches du murmure.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Teatro Massimo Palermo
In bocca al'lupo a tutti i cantanti, il maestro, e l'orchestra del Teatro Massimo -- so wonderful recreating Britten's sound world here in Palermo, especially with my dysfunctional but so lovable fairy family: Tytania Jennifer Obi Wan O'Loughlin, Puck Chris Agius Darmanin, and the real star of the show, local Palermitano "Indian boy" Marco Passatempo!
San Giovanni Battista Festwochen der Alten Musik
“His life was full of amorous adventures. And even church music by Alessandro Stradella is filled with sensual melodies and captivating harmonies. A genre created by Carissimi in Rome, Stradella developed the oratorio further with “San Giovanni Battista”. In the process, he transformed a historical narrative into a lively drama.” altemusik.at
Click here to hear an extract
“The title role was entrusted to the excellent American counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo who impressed as much by the beauty of his timbre and vocal control as by the great delicacy of his interpretation: he gave an ethereal John the Baptist, detached from the things of this world, opposing the sweetness of his faith to the profanations and attacks of a criminal sensuality.”
Benjamin Britten – “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Hamburger Staatsoper
Congratulations to the lovely cast of Midsummer for an adrenaline-fuelled opening night! Flying on Oberon's swing into the gods above you definitely makes every night an adventure...
“Lawrence’s double duty saved the 2nd half of today's performance, thanks!”
magical opera adventure
Weeping Philosophers -
at Wigmore Hall in London
...Lawrence Zazzo and friends perform vocal and instrumental music of the Italian Baroque of the early 1600s, when Italy's city-states and principalities proved a hotbed of creativity....
...Such a privilege to make music with these gents...
Daniele Caminiti (archlute, baroque guitar)
Jonathan Rees (bass viol, viola da gamba)
Silas Wollston (harpsichord, organ)
Giulio Cesare at NEC’s Jordan Hall in Boston
...And he totally seduced the audience in the last act in the aria, “Aure, deh, pieta” in which he sent his song out into the theater on a single breath of astonishing delicacy...
...Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo proved to be more than a match for the role’s demands, with brilliant high notes, a sonorous low range, and supple roulades...
...Lawrence Zazzo, as Caesar, in intriguingly plummy, satiny-edged voice;...
Rodelinda at Teatro Real in Madrid
Having a wonderful time in Madrid with a fantastic cast and orchestra, singing -- and even dancing! --in Claus Guth's disturbing but beautiful take on Handel's masterpiece, Rodelinda.
...The American Lawrence Zazzo has a less acute voice, more of contralto and therefore, a center with more body and frame. Impeccable musicality and phrasing that always seeks to give life and intention...
...Lawrence Zazzo incarnated a comic Unulfo through bright and energetic singing, which shows that a countertenor, besides being agile, can also be very robust....
Recital at Oper Frankfurt 28 February 2017
So wonderful to be back in Frankfurt for something completely different - a survey of beautiful and disturbing songs from my disturbed and beautiful homeland, with Simon Lepper on piano. I love the Frankfurt public! Thanks to Simon Lepper my wonderful accompanist for his ideas, virtuosity, colours, and patience!
...Especially Zazzo is not only an exquisite vocalist who can effortlessly climb the highest heights without losing grounding. Rather, he embodies the characters from which he sings, entirely. With subtle gestures and mimicry, even with the smallest colouring of the vowels, Zazzo produces an expression in singing, which is unrivalled among countertenors... Frankfurter Neue Presse
Musical Adventurer 27 February 2017
Frühkritik 1 March 2017
Kulturfreak 1 March 2017
Frankfurter Neue Presse 2 March 2017
"Xerxes" at Oper Frankfurt Januar 2017
... Fast noch bewegender der Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo als Arsamene, agil, doch stets expressiv, in den Momenten tiefer Verzweiflung fast somnambul versunken - und fähig, seiner Stimme vielfältige Nuancen abzugewinnen...
... "Ich werde sie verlieren - ich werde sie bekommen". Zwischen diesen emotionalen Polen bewegt sich Xerxes Bruder Arsamene, dem Lawrence Zazzo seinen kernigen Countertenor leiht, der noch in höchster Höhe über variable Registerfarben verfügt...
... Der Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, ausgestattet mit der größten Barock-Erfahrung in diesem Ensemble, zeigte seine Stärken in den organischen Verzierungen, da hatte er einfach die Kernkompetenz...
Interview Radio hr2 kultur, 10 January 2017
RCM Students in Aldeburgh
So thrilled to be in Aldeburgh conducting a super talented group of singers and players from the Royal College of Music. We’re performing a rarely-performed Italian-English version of Handel's Acis and Galatea, Thursday, 24 November, 6PM, in the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings.
...It has been a wonderful experience discovering Handel’s alternative version of Acis and Galatea – a hidden gem among his repertoire. Working with Lawrence Zazzo has been inspirational; he has a contagious enthusiasm and I particularly enjoyed the coaching he gave me in baroque ornamentation... rcm.ac.uk
A Midsommer Night's Dream in Beijing
Lawrence Zazzo joined the Festival d’Aix in Beijing as Oberon in Robert Carsen’s classic production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Poly Theatre on 15 & 16 October, launching the Festival d’Aix’s 5-year partnership with the Beijing Music Festival. This follows his critically acclaimed portrayal of the same role at the 2015 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik
The 40th anniversary of the founding concert was performed again at the Spanischer Saal.
...In a final three Handel arias (from "Giulio Cesare" and "Lothario"), with Beyer and Fontana ‘singing’ along on violin and harpsichord, Zazzo, with agility and evenly-balanced tone, ended the evening in vocal splendor.” ... DiePresse.com
... Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo made an amusing entrance as the roasting swan, contemplating his own demise by wringing a huge white handkerchief...
The Charlotte Observer on 12 May 2016
...Delaying his entrance onto the Belk Theater until this song began, countertenor Lawrence Zazzo literally made a meal out of it. Emitting a high-pitched lament bordering on sobs, Zazzo compounded the weirdness of his torment in way I would never have anticipated. As he reached the song’s final stanza, beginning “Now I am lying in a serving dish,” he pulled out a large handkerchief. Instead of dabbing his wounds or his tears, he stuffed the handkerchief into his shirt collar, turning it into a napkin. Then he reached into another pocket, fetched out what must have been a succulent duck leg, and began munching on it contentedly as he made his exit...
By the way, it was local Charlotte favourite Bojangles fried chicken not roast duck!
Veremonda, L'amazzone di Aragona,
Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele 2016
…In "Veremonda" the situation is complicated by the fact that both the strong women love the same man, the Christian general Delio. Delio becomes by far the most interesting character, scintillating between treachery, exuberant eroticism and deceit. A feast for a character actor like Lawrence Zazzo, who also gave the most convincing vocal performance. Some of the other artists could not keep up with this standard...SWR Kulturthema 30 April 2016
... Lawrence Zazzo is the womanizer Delio and turns into a seductive, shady suburban ladies' man which is underscored by his otherworldly counter tenor's voice...
Süddeutsche Zeitung 2 May 2016
The driving force of the plot is the attractive, universally desired general Delio, who has to play his game with both queens, do his job and settle an old score at the same time. This means playing with fire. Because Alfonso's father raped Delio's mother, he in turn tries to rape Queen Veremonda. It is one of the more fantastical turns of this libretto that she manages to wriggle out of that situation by feigned affection. On the other hand, the double cross that she and Delio play provides the evening with a pinch of suspense worthy of a TV series.
This is rather complex for a character in a baroque oper. The American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo exactly fits Delio's bill both in his vocal and acting performance.
NMZ online 5 May 2016
Due to the sad death of Philippe Jaroussky's father he's had to cancel his appearance in Handel's Partenope. Lawrence will replace him to play the role of Arsace.
My condolences and thoughts are with Philippe and his family at this difficult time.
Partenope tour around Europe
"...Lawrence Zazzo was astounding: He excelled in the laments (essential in the largely plaintive role of Arsace), but could also be found astonishingly alive in the recitatives (the only one who really enjoyed this part of his role), and wetting his shirt in the dreaded "Furibondo spira il vento." Formidable because it borders on parody and portrays a character in a crisis of hysteria who does not seem responsible for its leaps in tessitura, Zazzo delivered the aria with power and impressive aplomb. He clearly surpassed his own recorded version, and delivered the most convincing account we've heard of this famous aria." Forum Opera (Paris concert 13 January 2016)
“There is no other countertenor that shapes every word, every syllable, to provide direction, constantly varying the expression, using the full panoply of historical vocal resources. A not very interesting initial aria, "O Eurimene ha l'Idea di Rosmira", comes to new life in his hands as he gives a lesson in baroque rhetoric. He conquers the impossible coloratura in "Furibondo spira il vento", one of the most complicated of Handel's-and goes straight to the heart in the desolate "Ma quai note di mesti lamenti" and a painful and tender "Ch'io parta? Si crudele" of intense beauty, leaving us with honey on the lips” El arte de la fuga (Madrid concert 23 January 2016)
The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell
Semi-Opera. Joyful and very Britsh at Berliner Philharmonie with RIAS Kammerchor and Akademie fuer Alte Musik,
Conductur Rinaldo Alessandrini
Lawrence debuts as Orlando with the Welsh National Opera
...Lawrence Zazzo’s Orlando cuts a striking figure. He projects his substantial but agile countertenor to good effect, often with touching expressiveness...
“Lawrence Zazzo, that most manly and forthright of counter-tenors, as a handsome Orlando whose insanity was expressed with graphic and moving power.”
“In the title role, Lawrence Zazzo’s rich countertenor turned from biting fury to melting beauty with ease…his portrayal of Orlando’s madness was one of enormous power.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix en Provence
Lawrence has just finished a dreamy anniversary revival of Robert Carsen’s iconic production of Britten’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" in Aix en Provence
“Reigning over the fairies are Oberon and Tytania, Lawrence Zazzo and Sandrine Piau, stylish and elegant but also rakish and manipulative. Their elegiac musicality also doubles as a playful game, joined by the rest of the singers to form a coherent and exciting whole” La Croix
“American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo boasts a male coloured alto voice that he used to musical perfection” Opera Today
Brooklyn Academy of Music, with Christopher Moulds and the orchestra of the Canadian Opera Company, March 2015
St. John Passion
Chicago Bach Project, with John Nelson, March 2015
“Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo’s inward rendering of “Es ist vollbracht!” was the vocal highlight of the evening, aided by equally sensitive obbligato support by Craig Trompeter on viola de gamba” Chicago Classical Review
I was delighted to finally make my Concertgebouw debut last weekend, in a semi-staged concert version of Giulio Cesare, directed by Michael Chance, and led by Rebecca Huber and Sinfonie Atlantique, along with the wonderful Anna Christy, Patricia Bardon, and Tania Kross, with impressive role debuts by Abi Edward Grint, and Li Meili
You can listen to the broadcast from the Concertgebouw here:
"Lawrence Zazzo came, sang, and conquered" Bachtrack.com
A Royal Trio has been selected as Gramophone’s Editors Choice for November
“Zazzo’s limpid delicacy, and control of nuance within a long-spun line, is as impressive as his bravura exuberance...A nature theatre animal, Zazzo ‘lives’ each phrase, always alive to the sound and meaning of the words...Zazzo and the players—not least the fabulous horns—have all the boldness and virtuoso panache one could wish for in the extrovert arias, culminating in a show-stopping ‘Vivi tiranno’.” Richard Wigmore, Gramophone, November 2014
“the exuberant Vivi, tiranno rounds things off in style,
with Zazzo in glorious voice throughout” Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian
“Genius” The Whole Note, November 2014
Lawrence’s recent world premiere of Rolf Riehm’s "Sirenen" at Oper Frankfurt
"A brilliant performance from Lawrence Zazzo , stunningly traversing the extremes of his voice from high-virtuoso countertenor to baritone."
Frankfurter Allgemeine , September 2014
Giulio Cesare at English National Opera 2012
"Lawrence Zazzo is one of those rare countertenor voices capable of vivid colouring and strong projection, and his singing of the title role is positively fruity in its richness."
"Lawrence Zazzo's outstandingly imperious title-hero is the best sung and acted countertenor performance of the part (Giulio Cesare) I've encountered."
"Keegan-Dolan’s approach allows the singers to concentrate on delivering those fiendish arias. In particular the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo hurls out the title role with terrific swagger." The Times
Mitridate at Bavarian State Opera 2011
“Brillante” Frankfurter Allgemeine
“mit Sexappeal und ironischer Brechung, einen der weltbesten Conter-Stimmen, mit der er den Farnace einprägsam zeichnete”
“Vor allem Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo vergisst gern alle gute Vokalerziehung und lässt sämtliche Sicherungen Farnaces durchbrennen: Natürlich könnte auch Zazzo ebenmäßiger singen.”
“Vater und Sohn, Barry Banks und der Counter Lawrence Zazzo, unerschrockene Bühnentiere. Stimmlich allesamt in etwa so, wie man sich eine Aufnahme des Stücks wünschte. Dazu eine fabelhafte Spiellust.”
Orfeo et Euridice at the Canadian Opera Company 2011
"Lawrence Zazzo was a magnificent Orfeo. On stage for the whole 80 minutes without an interval, he combined beauty of tone with a searing intensity and unbearable pathos.” Opera magazine
“exquisitely sung by counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo, in a riveting performance”
“This is why we go to music theatre; this is why it exists...It's almost a one-man show, and countertenor Lawrence Zazzo made the hero's journey to the underworld feel like a real-time adventure in the psychology of desperate measures. Orfeo's most famous aria, delivered after he loses Euridice a second time, is often criticized for being too light and pretty for the situation, but for once it felt mysteriously deep, as if beyond mere sorrow - an impression prepared by all that came before, and by Zazzo's shapely, intelligent singing.” Globe and Mail
“nothing short of sensational vocally and dramatically” Toronto Star
“Particularly impressive was the magnificent performance of American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, who was on stage virtually the whole 80 minutes with no intermission. His Orfeo was a tour-de-force, combining beauty of tone with a searing intensity that left one breathless.” La scena musicale
“Most contraltos I’ve heard could eat the average countertenor as appetizer only. This is not the case for Lawrence Zazzo, who is Orpheus indeed. What is so appealing about Zazzo’s Orpheo is the combination of the devoted, unwavering love, tessitura and texture the role calls for, mixed with Zazzo’s overall manliness. He has created the strong-but-sensitive guy, filled with beautiful songs, willing to do the dirty work or die trying. That’s hot.” The Epoch Times
Radamisto at English National Opera
Critical acclaim for Lawrence's recent performances of Radamisto at ENO 2010
"Lawrence Zazzo sings the title role with such beauty, all the while acting like an Oscar winner, that he deserves to be known as the king of countertenors." Financial Times
"Best of all was the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in the title role, which must originally have been written with a castrato in mind. In Handel's day, the castrati were the true stars of the opera, but hearing the surgically unmodified Zazzo reaching the same notes in a powerful, clear and totally natural-sounding high voice is surely just as gripping as anything the 18th century could offer." Express
"But the star "international" turns come from Lawrence Zazzo (Radamisto) and Christine Rice (Xenobia), dramatically and musically a really telling alliance of male and female altos. "Soul and Shadow" was soulful and searching, his opulent and beautiful countertenor at the service of heartfelt musicality. Very special." The Independent
“l'autre contre-ténor de la soirée, le magnifique Lawrence Zazzo, moins virtuose mais d'un lyrisme et d'une émotion qui conviennent au plus introverti
des deux frères.” Le Figaro, July 2014
“Wem das alles zu ausgeflippt war, der kam beim konzertanten "Amadigi di Gaula" auf seine Kosten, wo der berühmteste unter den zahlreichen vor Ort vertretenen Countern, Lawrence Zazzo, zum hellen Entzücken des Publikums sich allenfalls selbst inszenierte.” Die Welt, June 2014
“Lawrence Zazzo überzeugt als Ruggiero mit beweglichem Countertenor und lässt vor allem seine große Arie "Sol da te, mio dolce amore", wenn er zur virtuosen Begleitung der Querflöte seine Gefühle für Alcina besingt, zu einem musikalischen Höhepunkt des Abends werden.” OMM, March 2014
"Lawrence Zazzo's Ottone, sung with beguiling tonal beauty, was a joy throughout."
Beaune Festival International D'Opera Baroque/Agrippina - Opera Magazine, November 2012
"questo magnifico cantante sa bene come far risultare sorprendentemente naturale e facile un'emissione sempre omogenea e dense di ombreggiature ambrate di colore bellisiimo. Il controllo del fiato é perfetto.."
Alessandro Mormile, L'opera, December 2010
"the evening only really comes into its own when counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo's exquisitely sung shepherd Endimione and Monica Bacelli's elegant and irresistibly funny Diana begin their tortuously protracted foreplay. Zazzo's seductive aria atop Mount Lycaeus...is the evening's musical highlight"
Independent, September 2008
"Un César hors normes, un timbre aux reflets dorés, souple et intense"
Le Soir, January 2008
"Amare la sua voce è facile, ammirarla per la bellezza del timbro assolutamente malioso non basta"
L'opera, April 2008
“The semi-popular notion of countertenors is that they are somewhat floaty and thin-toned, more curious than vocally substantial. Zazzo put the lie to that conception in about three seconds. There was nothing reticent about how he projected sound throughout the sanctuary, nothing vague about the precision of his attacks and intonation, his exceptional dynamic control or the detail of his colouratura…All told, this was a performance to hold up, lusciously.” Louisville Courier-Journal, May 2006
“Lawrence Zazzo sings the Refugee[in Glyndebourne’s Flight]…with amazing technique: this is a ballsy, direct voice that brings strange emotions to his yearning music”
The Times of London, August 2005
“Lawrence Zazzo’s Ottone[in Poppea] was that rare thing, a free, easy, open, silky counter-tenor with a truly beautiful sound and a nicely understated performance as the moral centre of this equivocal piece.”
The Times of London, Oct 2004
“Sur lui, René Jacobs est intarissable: Sur scéne, il est le meilleur du monde dans ce répertoire.”
Le Figaroscope, Oct 2004
“Zazzo‘s bright, eloquent, virile and properly operatic counter-tenor now seems set to eclipse the rest of his generation” The Independent of London
“Lawrence Zazzo... shows himself a countertenor of gorgeous tone, superb control throughout the range, excellent musicianship and handsome bearing” New York Times
“the American counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo sang Arsamene [in Serse] with panache, nobility, and terrific power” The Times of London, Dec 2004
“Maybe the best countertenor now on the stage” René Jacobs, interview in Gramophone, May 2003
“A la fin du second acte, la beauté du timbre, l’articulation idéale, le raffinement du contre-ténor Lawrence Zazzo, touchent au coeur” La Liberation
“...There is already a touch of James Bowman’s beguiling artistry in Zazzo’s rich but never forced delivery...and signs of a keen dramatic sense in his interpretation...” The Independent of London
“...a pure and matchlessly well-modulated voice” Svenska Dagbladet
“the wonderful countertenor, Lawrence Zazzo...is spellbinding in the final song” New York Times
“le contre-ténor Lawence Zazzo témoigne d’un bouleversant lyrisme” Le Figaro