Lefkada Agnes Baltsa

The Greek Soprano Agnes Baltsa, born in Lefkada: Agnes Baltsa is a renowned Greek Mezzo-Soprano. She was born on the 19th of November 1944 on the Ionian Island of Lefkada. She began playing piano at the age of six. However, in 1958 she moved to Athens and began concentrating on her singing. In 1965, she graduated from the National Conservatoire of Greece. After that, the Maria Callas scholarship was conferred upon her so that she could continue her studies in Munich, Germany. She made her debut as Cherubino in the play Le nozze di Figaro, which was staged at the Frankfurt Opera in 1968.

In 1970, she performed the role of Octavian at the Vienna State Opera in a play called Der Rosenkavalier. This play was the turning point in her career as a soprano, as it won her tremendous critical acclaim and from then on she began performances in leading opera houses all across the globe. Some of the eminent operas, which staged her performance, were the Deutsche Oper Berlin. There were several operas all around the world where she performed, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Royal Opera House in London, the Paris Opera, etc.

Agnes Baltsa became a regular guest at the festival of Salzburg. Her repertory included works by legendary composers, like Mozart (Le nozze di Figaro, Requiem, Cosi fan tutte, etc.), Verdi (Aida, Il trovatore, Don Carlos, La forza del festino, Requiem), Bellini (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Rossini (La Cenerentola, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L'Italiana in Algeri), Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana), Donizetti (Il Campanello, Maria Stuarda), etc.

Her enthralling performance as Carmen, sung with Jose Carreras, won her fame and made her the most coveted soprano. After that, she tried out new roles like Fedora (Giordano), Herodiade (Massenet) and Fides (La Prophete - Meyerbeer) at the Vienna State Opera and each time she outperformed many prominent Soprano contemporaries. In 1999 at Wiener Festwochen, she sang Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus - Strauss), a role she had given up playing for a long time. In February 2000 at the Zurich Opera, alongside Cecilia Bartoli, she performed Despina in the play Cosi fan tutte.

This performance was repeated in the tour in Japan undertaken by the Vienna State Opera. The organizers made a request to the artist since her performance of the same role in 1985 was a huge success. The star-studded cast of Ariadne included artists like Edita Gruberova and Cheryl Studer. The entire performance was conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. It was not known why she did not sing at the Vienna State Opera season in 2000-2001, which has been the custom for 30 years.

In 2001 she declined the offer to sing the much-coveted role of Macbeth in Zurich, but in the same year in March, she successfully performed the role of Kundry (Parsifal) at the Teatro Real (Madrid). At the Vienna State Opera in 2002, she also sang the role of Kostelnicka in Janacek's Jenufa and also throughout 2001-2002 she sang in L'Italiana in Algeri (Isabella) and Carmen.

She became a Kammersängerin (a German honorific title for singers of classical music and opera) at the Vienna state opera in 1980. Since 1988 she has been an honorary of the Vienna Opera House. It was in 1991 that she last recorded duets with Jose Carreras and since then, unfortunately, Agnes Baltsa has not made any studio recordings. Moreover, she starred in a full-length movie named Duett in 1992, playing the role of an opera singer.

Her last appearance in Greece was in Elektra by Richard Strauss (2017), where she was cast as Klytaemnestra and stunned the audience with her phonetic skills for one more time.