Varda Kotler (born in Tel Aviv, Israel) is an Israeli soprano, who in recent years has been performing and recording mainly in France.
Kotler is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music (now known as Buchmann-Mehta School of Music), Tel Aviv University. She began her professional career at the New Israeli Opera, and continued in the opera houses of Zürich, Monte Carlo, Lausanne, Messina and the Wiener Operntheatre in Vienna, performing operas and concerts with the conductors Pinchas Steinberg, Siegfried Köhler, Lawrence Foster, Kees Bakels, Arthur Fægen, Steven Sloane, Mendy Rodan, and Hugo Weisgall with the New York Chamber Symphony Orchestra. Among the opera roles she has performed are Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Siebel in Gounod's Faust, Stéphano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, and Flora in La traviata.
In recent years Kotler has turned to the genres of oratorio, lieder and chamber music of various ensambles, including piano, harpsichord, flute, cello, violin and guitar. Among the works she has performed are:
Kotler has also performed, among other places, at The Théâtre de Beaulieu in Lausanne, the opera house of Opéra de Monte-Carlo, the Conservatoire de musique de Genève in Geneva, and at The Y Hall in New York City with the New York Chamber Symphony orchestra.
Honoring Paul Ben-Haim
In dedication and honor to Paul Ben-Haim and his compositions, Varda Kotler and Alex Ansky appeared in 2005 in the concert "Songs of the Lost Treasure" as part of the Holon Theater's festival of "Women Creators in Art". In this show, Kotler performed works by Paul Ben-Haim, together with Mozart arias and melodies by Vivaldi, Berlioz and Schubert – poetic texts with poetic music. Kotler sang in the original languages, and Ansky read Hebrew translations.
Kotler is active in quest for unique works of music, and she performs such music in recitals and chamber music concerts. Some of these works have also been recorded and published:
- The album "Melodies" of Paul Ben-Haim compositions, many of which are first performances of manuscripts she found in the National Library of Israel archives.
- Previously unknown English melodies by Charles Gounod found in London library.
Two of Kotler's albums won the annual French Victoires de la Musique Classique prize:
- 2002: the album "Charles Gounod (1818-1893): 19 Mélodies londoniennes" accompanied by the pianist Veronique Barraud.
- 2005: the album "Melodies", of Paul Ben-Haim compositions accompanied by the pianist Jeff Cohen.
With Veronique Barraud – Piano:
- Récital, works by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Georges Bizet, Maurice Ravel, Francis Poulenc and Joaquín Rodrigo, REM 311326 X.C.D, 1999
- Charles Gounod (1818–1893): 19 Mélodies londoniennes – Chants d'amour et d'exil / Love and exile songs, REM 311333 XCD (Austria), 2000
With Jeff Cohen – piano:
Two of Kotler's video clips were aired on the "Sequences Classic" strip of the French television channel Mezzo TV:
- "My Beloved Spake", from her 2001 album of Melodies by Charles Gounod. The lyrics of this clip are from King James Version translation of Song of Songs – chapter 2, verse 10. Gounod wrote this piece and all others in the album when living in England, between 1870 and 1874.
- Maurice Ravel: "Vocalise Etude en form de Habanera", from Kotler's album "Récital".
- Varda Kotler – official web site
- Varda Kotler's - official European web site
- Charles Gounod: Mélodies Françaises
- Archives have a Life of their Own—New Discoveries in Ben-Haim’s Legacy
- Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984) German and Hebrew lieder
- American and Israeli Jews Performing Together
- Radio Canada: Varda Kotler in the program musique classique avec Sylvia L'écuyer
- Radio France: Varda Kotler in the program Le Magazine par Lionel Esparza
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