American mezzo soprano Alice Baker made her US debut as Emilia in
Otello opposite Plácido Domingo at LA Opera in 1986 and her European
debut as Carmen opposite Josè Carreras at the Opera in Rome in 1987, thus beginning a career spanning 25 years on both sides of the Atlantic in leading mezzo soprano roles, and as soloist in the major symphonic works.
Collaborations with conductors have included Erich Leinsdorf, Giuseppe Patanè, Peter Maag, Leonard Slatkin, Anton Nanut, Pierre Derveaux, Carlo Frajese, John Nelson, Nicholas McGegan, Christopher Hogwood, John Mauceri, Lawrence Foster, Sir Neville Marriner, George Pehlevanian, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Sir Alexander Gibson, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and Gianfranco Masini; and with stage directors Gordon Davidson, Peter Sellars, Luca Ronconi, David Fielding, Götz Friedrich, Beppe di Tommaso, Peter Ebert, Alberto Fassini, Peter Mussbach, Robert Fortune, Stephen Wadsworth, Brian Deedrick, and Andrè Serbin.
In the course of her career, the mezzo has appeared in over 40 operatic roles, among them Carmen, Amneris,
Leonora, Rosina, Isabella, Angelina, Giulio Cesare, Hänsel, Suzuki,Quickly, the Zia Principessa,
Maddalena, Hermia, Orfeo, Preziosilla, and Arsace, and on the concert platform in more than 30 works, such as the Requiems of Verdi, Duruflè and Mozart; the Stabat Maters of Rossini and Pergolesi, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis; Mahler’s III Symphony and Des Knaben Wunderhorn; Händel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue; at Carnegie Hall, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, Seattle Opera, LA Opera, Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Detroit Opera, l’Opera di Roma, Teatro Regio di Torino, Gran Theatre Liceu of Barcelona, Wexford Festival Opera, Frankfurt Opera, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Festival Valentiniano, International Festival of Ljubljana, International Festival of Santa Margherita Ligure, Bear Valley Festival, Pittsburgh Symphony, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Performing Arts Centers of Niigata and Tokyo, and the Stavanger Symphony. She has appeared in recital in Rome, Long Beach, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Tokyo.
Ms. Baker appears in interviews and broadcasts with PBS, NPR (USA), CBC (Canada), BBC (London), RAI, Radio Vaticano (Italy) and ZDF (Germany), and as a protagonist in the documentary film "Masterclass" with the late Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, produced for PBS.
The mezzo holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Oakland University (USA) and a Master of Arts Degree from California State University Los Angeles, with both degrees in music performance. She completed apprenceships with Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Diego Opera, attracting the attention of the late Joel Bloch at Columbia Artists Management after taking top prizes in the Dallas Dealey Competition, the Baltimore Opera Competition, the
MacAllister Competition, and the Madison Opera Competition in the span of a month's time in 1985. She sang for Mr. Bloch in New York and he signed her, while still continuing study thanks to a grant from the William Mattheus
Sullivan Foundation in New York, and a Fulbright Scholarship for study in Spain.
This latter was never fulfilled: at the time she was to depart funding was no longer available. The "loss" however, turned out to be propitious good fortune, as the Astral Foundation in Philadelphia heard her in audition and came to the rescue with a grant which enabled her to travel to Italy for two months of intensive study in 1986. In November of that year she made an audition in New York for conductor Alessandro Siciliani who engaged her to cover Lucia Valentini Terrani as Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri and sing the final two performances in Rome, her debut in Europe. It came sooner than planned though, as during the rehearsal period she was asked to step in on six hours’ notice to relieve an ailing Elena Obratsova and sing Carmen opposite Josè Carreras, subsequently taking over the remaining performances of the run, then, ten days later, making her scheduled debut, ultimately singing five of the six performances of L’Italiana in Algeri. The success of this double debut brought her to international attention, and subsequent career as a leading mezzo soprano.
Since 1996, Ms. Baker has given numerous masterclasses and talks about the profession of singing to young singers in Europe, the USA, and Asia. Named one of Two Thousand Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century in the year 2000 (Who’s Who in Classical Music), she began in the same year an ongoing collaboration with CMI Arts as an Artist/Mentor, helping young singers polish their art and enter into career.
Recent performances have included the Ninth Symphonyof Beethoven at the Duomo of Orvieto with the Russian Academy Orchestra, and in October 2012, Ms. Baker will sing the Verdi Requiem at the 27th edition of the Festival Valentiniano with Maestro Carlo Frajese.
Off stage, Alice Baker has served since 2002 as a member of the Board of Directors of the documentary film production company Tribe of Heart www.tribeofheart.org which has produced award winning films
"The Witness" and "Peaceable Kingdom". She also works privately to help animals, abandoned cats in particular, a practice dating to her first engagements in Italy in 1987.
A passionate rose and flower gardener, she is married to Italian artist Paolo Crucili.
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