|Artist of the Month: Audun Iversen|
Norwegian-born Audun Iversen is making himself quit at home in Britain these days. This spring saw the 34-year-old baritone make his Covent Garden debut as Albert in Werther opposite Rolando Villazon, and he'll be appearing as Marchello in La boheme and as Lescaut in Massenet's Manon at the same house this season.
Last season also saw Iversen on the road around the UK as Don Giovanni with Glyndebourne Touring, and he's back at the Glyndebourne Festival next summer as the Count in a new production of The Marriage of Figaro. Meanwhile, this autumn finds him at the English National Opera singing the title role in a new production of Eugene Onegin directed by Deborah Warner. 'I find Onegin an exciting character," he says. 'He's a blank canvas that directors and singers can paint in so many ways. So far, he's my favourite among the roles that I sing."
Audun Iversen and Elina Garanca sing "Là Ci Darem La Mano" from Don Giovanni:
Iversen has had several outings as Onegin, including a new production at the Royal Opera in Copenhagen in 2009 directed by Peter Konwitschny, and another on tour in Europe with the Bolshoi Opera last summer. His sonorous voice combines a rich lower register with a free top and a shimmering and flexible vibrato throughout. It's just perfect for Mozart, and it appears that he's already stepping into some big shoes: 'I was just dumbstruck when I was singing the Count in a revival of a vintage production of Mozart's Nozze di Figaro at Deutsche Oper in Berlin and finding the name-tag Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sewn into one of the overcoats I was wearing!'
Like his legendary predecessor, Audun treasures the Lieder repertoire. The voice, however, also holds the promise of more dramatic things to come, and the singer says that he is looking forward to tackling Verdi's mighty baritone roles. With his commanding stage presence and strong acting instincts, Verdi's overcoats are bound to fit him every bit as well as Mozarts when the moment comes.
Audun Iversen can next be seen at the English National Opera performing Eugene Onegin from November 12 through December 3. Visit their website for tickets and additional performance information.