The following excerpts of press reviews and articles show, how Eva Vogel's performances and recordings are received by critics. If you want to find out more in Eva's own words read this short interview.
Hansel and Gretel as lovely tradition
...Thanks to Eva Vogel (Hansel) and Silvia Hamvasi (Gretel), both leads appeared as if embedded in a blanket of beautiful sound, which both of these smooth voices let out in a mixture of youthful fire and sacral warmth culminating in
In an ever more connected world, it should be no surprise that more and more young artists can be seen performing in their native countries for the first time - while already having amassed a sizeable amount of experiences in an entirely different corner of the world. Such is the story of German Eva Vogel, who studied at Mannes and Yale in the USA and snapped up some of the biggest roles for a mezzosoprano during her American stint. When she returned to Cologne, her reputation preceeded her and quickly enabled her to become a member of the "Opernstudio" and to sing with the Essen Philharmonics. Still a relative newcomer, she has now made her debut at the prestigious "Klavierfestival" and is to appear at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam next year. This success on both sides of the Atlantic just goes to prove once again that while tastes may differ, superb quality will always prevail. It also befits an artist, who always feels like "carrying her instrument" around with her, that she has no problems travelling freely between the continents. So, while planes and ships may connect the world in geografical terms, it is artists like Eva Vogel, who connect it culturally.
Hi! How are you? Where are you? Hi! I'm sitting at my kitchen table in Cologne after having cooked and devoured a very yummi meal.
What's on your schedule right now? Having performed my song recital with Irwin Gage in Duisburg just recently, I am now concentrating again on operatic roles such as Hansel, which I will sing at Duesseldorf Opera,as well as Flowermaiden in Parsifal, a role that awaits me in a concert version at Concertgebouw Amsterdam early next year. Also, I am traveling to New York City, my old hometown, in a few days, to do some auditions and catch up with my friends from College. I can't wait!
If you hadn't chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now? I don't really think I chose music, it was natural for me to go into that field. To be a musician.. It had to be music. Music chose me, i guess. I really can't imagine doing anything else.
What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? My teacher Christa Ludwig definitely influenced me a lot and still does. Having the chance to learn from such a great and experienced artist is really a treasure! I feel truly blessed and take every opportunity to go see her in the south of France, where she lives with her husband.
What's the hardest part about being a musician and what's the best? Tough question. I guess the discipline and hard work, day in, day out, and the solitude that comes with it are hard sometimes. Most people who aren't in the business don't understand what it takes to be a successful singer. There is no such thing as a lazy weekend or off work or holiday. Another thing to consider: you always carry your instrument around, within yourself and it wants to be treated carefully. The voice has to be trained and kept in shape constantly. On the other hand - and here comes the best stuff - it is the most wonderful feeling to make music with other people, acting on stage, having an orchestra carrying you and colleagues to work with and establishing a connection with the audience.
What's your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis? I guess the present situation is tough, with not enough money for the opera houses and culture in general. Also the fact that the audience is becoming older and older doesn't help. At Cologne Opera, I performed many operas for children and sometimes went to elementary schools to teach young kids what classical music is about and what it means to be an opera singer. The children were all very much interested and inquisitive about the subject and I believe that this kind of approach is essential in raising appreciation for classical music in a younger audience that will eventually become supporters of the opera and music lovers.
Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it's all been done before. What do you tell them? Every artist is unique.
What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What's your approach to performing on stage? Intense preparation of the performer, positive attitude of all the musicians and a spark that can ignite the audience. For myself, I always try to have enough time beforehand, obviously I am as prepared as possible. This means that I have found the character that I am portraying, I have made up a story of their former life, I become this person, I speak his or her language, I act with what I understand as their personality. I try to be concentrated, yet relaxed. Once I am on stage, it is important that I get along with my colleagues and that we know that we can have fun together. I think it reflects on the audience, if we, as performers, are energetic and work well together. Then the audience can connect and therefore can be more involved in the piece. This separates a good performance from a boring one in my opinion.
What does the word interpretation mean to you? Interpretation is a way in which we as musicians perform the particular piece of music so as to convey our understanding of the work. Our understanding comes from having studied a piece theoretically, then analyzed it and on top putting our unique, personal note into all of that. In a way, it is a reflection of a opinion if you'd like, which is illuminated through the instrument. I hope that makes sense.
True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays. I am not sure whether there is a true or false response to this question. In my opinion every true artist automatically puts his or her personal emotion into the music. I don't know how one would be able to separate one's personal emotions from the performance. In opera, one tries to become the character that one interprets and find the emotions that one presumes this character would have and express, but I think there will always be part of oneself mixed into this interpretation.
True or false: Music is my first love Ansolutely true. Cruel to some, but true!
True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it. Mostly true. That doesn't mean that people shouldn't go and listen to concerts or operas or some such without being educated or well prepared. Sometimes music just grabs you without prior preparation. Though in general I would recommend listening to recordings and reading a bit about the composer or the storyline of an opera beforehand. This way, the appreciation will be almost guaranteed.
You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season? I guess all my favorites, some of which are operas like Werther, Walkuere, Carmen, Massenets Don Quichotte (all of them with an absolutely stunning cast, of course) as well as Recitals including repertoire such as Wesendonck Lieder, Mahler Rueckert Lieder, Winterreise etc. you see, mostly singers stuff and almost all of it having something to offer for mezzo.a bit bias or partial...but what can I say...
What's your favourite classical CD at the moment? Die Walkuere, with Birgit Nilsson as Bruenhilde and George London as Wotan. London Symphony Orchestra. Old stuff but fabulous!!! I could sit on my sofa and listen forever.
Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it? I still try. I play the piano. I used to be better at it before I tore a ligament in my thumb while playing volleyball in highschool. Ever since, I used the healing process as a nice excuse not to practice anymore. My piano skills are good enough to help me learn new repertoire, but far from performing seriously in public.
Liederabend was a delight
To begin a Liederabend with the convincing exclamation "Vergiftet sind meine Lieder" [My songs are poisoned] shows courage and a great sense of humor. Clearly, Heinrich Heine (lyrics) and Franz Liszt (music) were implying the expression of disappointed love with this first song- the concert however turned out to be one more highlight of the Klavier Festival Ruhr and only just took place in Duisburg.
Stage Presence The young Mezzosoprano Eva Vogel, a member of the Opera Studio at Cologne Opera, possesses a warm and clear flowing voice, a striking stage presence and a wonderful musicality. And with Irwin Gage she certainly has a solid accompanist. Already within the introductory group of Liszt songs, both artists show their eccentric expression, without false pathos. Fitting, almost operatic for example Heine-Liszt's "Lorelei". Robert Schumann's song cycle "Frauenliebe und -leben", op.42 after Adalbert von Chamisso is seldom heard in the low version, but here it sounds even more infatuating and maternal, altogether emotionally more meaningful. Too bad that Irwin Gage played the accompaniment a little pseudo-romantic at times, otherwise it would have been an exemplary performance. Then came the favorable selection of the last five of the originally eight "Poemes Juifs",op.34, which Darius Milhaud composed 1916 after anonymous lyrics he found in a magazine. The carefully worked out but not artificial seeming expression of this music, was brilliantly communicated to the audience in the sold out Lehmbruck Museum.
Lyrical, lightly ironic With similar discipline Eva Vogel and Irwin Gage approached the subsequent six songs of Sergei Rachmaninow. The only divergence [to the preceding group] was the expression of the Russian romantic pessimism that flowed softly and lyrical (and only on one occasion lightly ironic) - a real treat with this Mezzo. There was an immense response from the audience. As a fitting encore they performed "Rückert-Schumanns "Widmung" (Du meine Seele, Du mein Schmerz").
Thin and (almost) still she stands in the Lehmbruck-Museum in Duisburg, comparable to the "Tall Standing" Stone Statue to the left of her on stage. But as soon as the young Mezzosoprano Eva Vogel opens her mouth on this Friday evening, she was all voice and fascinated the sold out audience, which came to hear her Liederabend at the Piano Festival Ruhr, with the power of music. The notes poured from within her with great expression and intensity, honored with a steady organic vibrato...
The song selection of Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Darius Milhaud and Sergej Rachmaninow suited the soloist very well, since there were many slower pieces, in which the voice was able to bloom....such as in the beginning of the Liszt Songs like "Poisoned are my Songs" or in the superior espressed "Loreley"...As beguiling the sound of Eva Vogel was, as articulate and clear was her diction. There was no need to read along the lyrics of the booklet ...
Final concert in the Baroque Auditorium at Bernried
Music builds bridges and is international, said the head of the association "Elysium" during introductory greetings. The 6th Summer Academy in Bernried concerned itself exactly with these boundaries of the international. It concluded on Friday with a first-class final concert in thh baroque auditorium of the convent.
The participants, young singers from the USA, had finished a week-long seminary of German song and opera works and presented the fruits of their labor at the concert. The first part of the program consisted of songs by Fanny Hensel and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and was headed by soprano Jeannie Im. Her voice is pleasing and powerful, very secure and seems suitable for dramatic roles. The shaping of her phrases was clean and well crafted, even if still somehwat restrained in presentation. She made the same impression in the scenically performed part of the evening.
Gretchen Farrar has a leaner, more lyrical soprano, which might develop into an ideal Lieder voice. But one got the impression that the pieces chosen for her were slightly too difficult. In a few lines she took refuge into the melodramatic, which became too aria-like.
The German-American Eva Vogel possesses a pleasing dark mezzosoprano. In "Daemmrung" (Dawn) she was able to show the large volume of her voice. She was completely persuasive all the way down the line, in, what were perhaps the most difficult works presented this evening. When singing the arias, she stood out not only as an excellent singer, but also as a lively actress. Especially "Wanderer's Nachtlied and "Vom Jaeger Herne" from The Merry wives of Windsor were extremely successful and full of suspense.