Dutch conductor Kees Bakels conducts the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and violinist Richard Lin next November the 15th at the Victoria Concert Hall. The program includes Rossini’s Overture of La Cenerentola, Korngold’s violin concerto and excerpts from Chaikovski’s The Sleeping Beauty.
Kees Bakels has held numerous titled positions with major orchestras, most recently with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Music Director from 1997 to 2005. Other positions have included Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Adviser to the Quebec Symphony Orchestra or Chief Guest Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for 10 years and still works with the orchestra each season. He also works regularly in France with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and Orchestre National de Lille. Kees Bakels has conducted all the major Dutch orchestras, as well as orchestras in Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan.
Kees Bakels’ guest-conducting engagements have included the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Berne Symphony Orchestra, Het Brabants and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. Kees Bakels has always concentrated as much on opera as on symphonic repertoire and has regularly appeared with the Netherlands Opera and the Vancouver Opera and in the UK has conducted new productions of Aïda and Fidelio at the English National Opera and La Bohème and Carmen at the Welsh National Opera. He has conducted concert performances of opera for the famous VARA Matinee Series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam regularly over 25 years, most recently Donizetti’s La Favorita. He has championed the lesser known operas of composers such as Mascagni and Leoncavello including Mascagni’s Zanetto, Amica, Il Piccolo Marat,Isabeau, Iris, Nerone and his Messa di Gloria, and Leoncavello’s La Bohème, Edipo Re and Zaza.
Kees Bakels’ recordings include the complete Vaughan Williams symphonies, recently re-released as a box set and complete Nielsen Concerti with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for Naxos and four recordings with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra for NM Classics. He has also recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra for ASV, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra for Denon, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. Recordings with the MPO for BIS include works by Dvorak, Sibelius, Khachaturian, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov. Kees Bakels’ recording of Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto with Jean-Jacques Kantorow and the Tapiola Sinfonietta was nominated in the orchestral category of the BBC Music Magazine Awards.
Kees Bakels was born in Amsterdam, beginning his musical career as a violinist. He studied conducting at the Amsterdam Conservatory and at the Academy Chigiana in Siena. During his studies he became Assistant Conductor of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently held the position of Associate Conductor with that orchestra. At that time he also became Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra which he took to festivals in England, Finland, Belgium and Spain and on a coast-to-coast tour across the USA.
Soprano Berna Perles debuts at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in the role of Angustias de La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Miquel Ortega, conducted by the composer himself, together with Rubén Fernández-Aguirre and directed by Bárbara Lluch, which will be performed on the 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 20th and 22nd of November. She shares the limelight with Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Bernarda Alba), Carmen Romeu (Adela), Luis Cansino (Poncia), Carol García (Martirio), Marifé Nogales (Amelia), Belén Elvira (Magdalena), Milagros Martín (Maid) and the recent Premio Nacional de Teatro prizewiner Julieta Serrano as María Josefa.
The best of the night was Berna Perles, a delicate, lyrical and emotional Micaela, with an impeccable singing voice and great expressive sensitivity (Andrés Moreno, Diario de Sevilla)
The best voice of the night was the Micaela of the Malagueña Berna Perles: delicate, emotional, expressive and with clean projection (José Luis López, ABC de Sevilla)
Berna Perles was born in Malaga, where she obtained a Título Superior de Canto en el Conservatorio Superior de Música de Málaga con Matrícula de Honor y Premio Extraordinario Fin de Carrera – the highest awards. She studied a postgraduate course at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and completed her training at the “Santa Cecilia” Opera Studio of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. She then studied in Vienna with Glenys Linos, a disciple of Elvira Hidalgo. She has received master classes from Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Mariella Devia, Teresa Berganza, Monserrat Caballé, Isabel Rey and Carlos Álvarez.
Berna has been awarded prizes in numerous singing competitions (First Prize, “Muestra de Jóvenes Intérpretes de Málaga”, First Prize, “Juventudes Musicales de España”, First Prize “Nuevas Voces Ciudad de Sevilla”, First Prize “Concurso Internacional Mozart de Granada”, First Prize “Concurso Internacional de Canto de Logroño”) and finalist in many others (“Concurso Internacional de Canto de Toulouse”, “Concorso Lirico Internazionale Umberto Giordano“ “Concurso Internacional de Canto Manuel Ausensi”, “Concurso Internacional de Canto Villa de Colmenar Viejo”, “Concorso Lirico Internazionale di Portofino”). In 2016 she received the award for Best Musical Work of the Year in her hometown of Malaga.
His professional career has led him to perform, both in opera and zarzuela productions and in lyrical recitals, in theatres such as Teatro dell´opera (Rome), Auditorio Santa Cecilia (Rome), Konzerthaus (Vienna), Teatro Comunale (Bologna), Teatro Garibaldi (Lucera), Royal Opera (Versailles), Théâtre du Capitole (Toulouse), Opera de Massy, Le pin galant (Mérignac), Théâtre de Sète, Teatro Avenida (Buenos Aires), Le pin galant (Mérignac), Théâtre de Sète, Teatro Avenida (Buenos Aires).
He has sung under the baton of John Axelrod, Andrea Marcon, Giarcarlo Andretta, Dominique Rouis, Martin Mázik, Lorenzo Mariani, Edmon Colomer, Santiago Serrate, Pablo González, Mario Menicagli or Manuel Hernández-Silva and under the stage direction of Lindsay Kemp, Emilio Sagi, William Orlandi or Riccardo Canessa. Berna has played, among others, the roles of First Lady and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Contessa and Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Bastienne (Bastien und Bastienne), Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Gilda (Rigoletto), Anna Bolena (Anna Bolena), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Musetta y Mimì (La Bohème), Liù (Turandot), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Micaela (Carmen), Costanza (L’isola disabitata), Sandrina (Un avvertimento ai gelosi).
In zarzuela Berna has also played the roles of Ascensión (La del manojo de rosas), Carolina (Luisa Fernanda), Katiuska (Katiuska) and Marola (La tabernera del puerto). In the field of symphonic and oratorio, she has performed, among others, The Messiah (Handel), Stabat Mater (Pergolesi), Requiem (Fauré), Requiem (Mozart), Requiem (Verdi), Elijah (Mendelssohn), Ninth Symphony (Beethoven), Coronation Mass (Mozart), Miserere (Ocón) and Carmina Burana (Orff). Among her recent commitments are: Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte, Teatro Cervantes de Málaga), several recitals with the ROSS, OCG, RFG, OSN and OFM, and interesting debuts at the Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid) in La casa de Bernarda Alba by Miquel Ortega, at the Teatro Campoamor, Teatro del Liceu and Teatro Real. She has participated in the recording of a CD of duets, together with baritone Carlos Álvarez, on the DNRecords label. (Translation: John Eastham)