Claire Primrose, Australian dramatic soprano, was acclaimed recently by international critics for her sensational Elektra at the Taiwan Festival of Arts by the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan under the baton of Shao-Chia Lü in 2011:
“The soldout performance of Elektra by the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan may have been semi-staged, but props and set would have been a distraction: the drama sprang straight from the music. The effects on the audience in the National Concert Hall was electric. They jumped up applauding and cheering as soon as the last note died away. Her powerful, dark-edged dramatic soprano was perfectly suited to Strauss’s demands: during her 90 minutes on stage, the tone didn’t waver for an instant. Quite the contrary – the voice grew in beauty and bloom through the evening. And Primrose can act too – she managed to create a driven, desperate character just with a black dress and a wild black curly wig. Casting directors should be queuing up to sign her.” OPERA, May 2011.
“Claire Primrose, an Australian dramatic soprano with a spine-tingling voice, in the title role. At the opera’s climax, as Elektra dances herself to death, the music jolts between creeping unease and heart-stopping horror. Thunderous applause, a standing ovation, and an amazing five curtain calls later, the audience drifted out of the hall.” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 2011.
“The title role was taken by the Australian soprano Claire Primrose whose opening “alleins” sent shivers of excitement through the Hall. Here was a true Elektra voice, rich in nuance, emanating a sense of reserved power, capable of projecting to the back of the hall without force. In keeping with Lü’s lyrical approach, there was much beauty in Primrose’s delivery, yet no lack of power when needed, the gleaming high notes hurled forth with the ease and accuracy of a Nilsson.It is unlikely any house in Europe or America has mounted a better Elektra in recent years, and I felt privileged to be there.” AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May 2011
Claire Primrose has sung on many roles on opera stages around the world with some of the world’s leading conductors including Sir Richard Armstrong, Mario Bernardi, Carlo Felice Cillaro, Jonathan Darlington, Iván Fischer, Olivier Knudsen, Jorge Mester, Marc Minkowski, Donato Renzetti, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Sir Jeffrey Tate and Shao-Chia Lü.
Claire Primrose will be the special guest artist with the Manila Symphony Orchestra in an All-Wagner Gala Concert on November 10, 2012. Following the Manila Wagner concert, she is returning to Sydney for a one-off vocal recital – “Legacies of Love and Loss”- featuring Wagner’s exquisite Wesendonck Lieder, Strauss’s soul stirring Allerseelen, Morgen!, Zueignung, Wiegenlied, and Ruhre, meine Seele!, and songs by Duparc and Bolcom on November 25 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
She sang her first Strauss Elektra with One World Symphony in New York in 2009 to celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of the opera’s premiere performance in Dresden in 1909. Her Elektra was highly praised – “a tour de force that would grace any opera stage. Vocally, she sang with great power and beauty and with an even vocal line from the bottom to the top of her voice. The ascending top notes were sung with gleaming clarity and precision. Dramatically, she also gave an intensely emotional performance that included a mesmerising death scene.”
Prior to the move to dramatic soprano, she made an outstanding North American debut as Chrysothemis in Vancouver Opera’s landmark production of Elektra with Maestro Mario Bernardi. Her performance was admired for “the sumptuous beauty of her singing and her poignant, visceral characterisation of the role.”
Following her North American debut she made her international role debut singing Turandot in Athens with Maestro Donato Renzetti. This was followed by her US debut singing Turandot for Austin Lyric Opera and Tosca for the National Lyric Opera.
Her auspicious soprano debut came singing Leonore, Fidelio in Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production for Kent Opera with Maestro Iván Fischer. Other roles followed including the Sister, world premiere of Holloway’s Clarissa for English National Opera with Maestro Olivier Knudsen; Cio Cio San for Bromsgrove Festival; Medea, Teseo at Sadler Wells and Athens for English Bach Festival; title role, Alceste at Champs Elysees, Monte Carlo, and Covent Garden for English Bach Festival; Elettra, in Tel Aviv, Helsinki and Valencia; Senta for Chaliapin Festival, and Opera Ireland, Dublin; Leonore, La Forza del Destino for Scottish Opera, Glasgow; Fiordiligi for Opera Queensland; Leonore, Fidelio for Opera Australia, Sydney; Santuzza, Lady Macbeth, Giorgetta, Il Tabarro for Opera Australia, Sydney and Melbourne; Chrysothemis, Elektra, Australian premiere with Maestro Sir Richard Armstrong and Wagner’s Ring with Maestro Sir Jeffrey Tate for State Opera of South Australia and Braunschweig Staatstheater; and Tosca for Scottish Opera.
Claire Primrose is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts where she studied violin and voice. A protégé of Dame Joan Hammond, she won many awards and prizes including the ABC Vocal and Instrumental Competition, and Metropolitan Opera Auditions Regional Winner. She also studied in London and New York with some of the world’s most renowned coaches, including Marilyn Barnett, Thomas Lausmann, Anthony Legge, Bradley Moore and David Syrus. Now based in Manhattan, she studies voice with internationally acclaimed American teacher Bill Schuman with whom she made the significant move into the dramatic soprano repertoire to include Elektra and Brünnhilde.
Claire also sings regularly in concerts throughout the world. Highlight appearances include Recital at Wigmore Hall with Roger Vignoles, London; Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette, Salle Pleyel, Paris; Gala Opera Concert, Barbican Hall, London; Diemut in Strauss’s Feuersnot, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; and Minnie in Pucinni’s La Fanciulla del West, Opera Orchestra of New York, Patrons and Friends Concert, Manhattan.