Biography

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The Dutch mezzo soprano Cécile van de Sant is a charismatic musician, with a sound recently described by the conductor Nicholas McGegan as having the quality of a fine dark chocolate with 80% cocoa.

The critics have praised her “impressively cultivated voice with a colour one seldom comes across”; and particularly noted her “warm tone” and “luxuriant phrasing”.

Cécile van de Sant studied with Cora Canne Meijer at the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam where she graduated Cum Laude and continued her studies in New York with Marlena Kleinmann Malas.

She won prizes at numerous competitions amongst others the Internationaal Vocalisten Concours ‘s Hertogenbosch, the Concours de Chant in Toulouse and the prestigious Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna.

Her operatic roles include the Messagiera and Proserpina in L’Orfeo (Monteverdi) with the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and Speranza at the Teatro Liceu, Barcelona (recorded on DVD with Opus Arte); Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice (Gluck) with Scottish Opera; Iphigénie en Tauride at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Liceu, Barcelona, Die Walküre with The Netherlands Opera, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte for Opéra National de Paris, Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart) with the Orquestra Simfònica de Balears in Palma, Erda in Das Rheingold in Rheingold op de Rijn, Juditha in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans in San Francisco, Mother/Mrs. Lincoln in Philip Glass’ The civil Wars in The Holland Festival.

The title role of La Cenerentola in Kaiserslautern and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) in London; Die Zauberflöte and Dido and Aeneas at Opèra de Lausanne.

Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdink) in Vredenburg and with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Concertgebouw, Scipio in Glanert’s Caligula, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Tamiri in Il re pastore, Kate in Owen Wingrave (Britten) in NTRMatinee in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Olga in Eugene Onegin at the Nationale Reisopera and with Opera North; Geneviève in Pellèas et Mèlisande; Suzuki in Madama Butterfly in Sweden and Zweite Knappe and Blumenmädchen in Parsifal in Monte Carlo.

And she sang numerous roles in Händel operas including Cyrus in Belshazzar and Irene in Atalanta with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco; Tauride in Arianna in Creta, Unulfo in Rodelinda, and Goffredo in Rinaldo with the Göttingen Händel Festival; Second harlot and the Queen of Sheba in Solomon with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Cornelia in Giulio Cesare with Opera Ireland; the title role in Tamerlano in Utrecht and Amsterdam and Medea in Teseo at the Britten Theatre in London.

Cécile also performs extensively in concerts and oratorio such as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion under the baton of John Nelson and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder under the baton of Neeme Järvi with the Residentie Orchestra, Brahms’ Alt-Rhapsody in Het Zondagochtend Concert in the Concertgebouw.

Bach’s Hohe Messe under Jordi Savall in Cuenca, Händel’s Messiah with the Residentie Orchestra under Paul McCreesh, Berlioz’ L’Enfance du Christ in Bergen, Norway, Frank Martin’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke in Germany, Mahler’s Rückertlieder with Holland Symfonia, Mahler’s Symphonie nr. 3 with NNO, Symphony nr. 9 of Beethoven under Marc Soustrot, Weihnachtsoratorium with the Combattimento Consort under Jan Willem de Vriend, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with RTE in Dublin and the Dutch premiere of Deus Passus by Rihm with the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest under Marcus Stenz.

She has worked with conductors including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Ivor Bolton, Frans Brüggen, Michael Schønwandt, Lawrence Cummings, Alan Curtis, Richard Farnes, Claus Peter Flor, Hans Graf, Hartmut Haenchen, Marek Janowski, Armin Jordan, Raymond Leppard, Nicholas McGegan, Kenneth Montgommery, Arnold Östman, Edo de Waart, Thomas Zehetmair and Jaap van Zweden.

Recent and upcoming engagements include a.o. Boulez Le Marteau sans Maître with The Nieuw Ensemble under Ed Spanjaard, Frank Martins In Terra Pax with the Radio Filharmonic Orchestra. The title role in Falco’s oratorio Santo Antonio at the Misteria Paschalia Festival with Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi. Hindemith’s Requiem for those we loved, Willem Jeths Selige Sehnsucht under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Berg’s Wozzeck with Markus Stenz, all in the NTRMatinee at the Concertgebouw. Rihm’s Deus Passus with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Vrijdag van Vredenburg under Marcus Stenz.

Martin’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke with the Residentie Orkest under Jaq van Steen, Strauss’ Elektra and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov in the NTRZaterdagmatinee and Händel’s Atalanta with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at the Caramoor Festival.

A tour with La Tulipa and Johannette Zomer performing Pergolesi’s Stabat mater.

She recorded Mitridate (Farnace) and La Clemenza di Tito (Sesto) for Brilliant Classics, Hotel de Pékin, Willem Jeths and the Matteus Passie (Bach/Jan Rot) for Deutsche Gramophone.

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