CULTURE

Barbara Hendricks in German and French evening at the Herod Atticus

Renowned American soprano Barbara Hendricks comes to the Herod Atticus Theater tonight, in an evening dedicated to German lieder and French melodies. The daughter of a Southern Methodist minister, Hendricks was born in 1948 in Stephens, Arkansas. After studying mathematics and chemistry at the University of Nebraska, where she took her degree at the age of 20, Hendricks moved to New York City, where she began her musical training at the renowned Julliard School of Music. There she studied with mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel. The young singer made her operatic debut in 1976 with the San Francisco Opera in a production of L’incoronazione di Poppea. That same year she also appeared in Europe for the first time, participating at the Glyndebourne Festival in England. Two years later, she appeared in a critically acclaimed production of Le Nozzi di Figaro conducted by Daniel Barenboim, taking on the role of Susanna. It was a personal triumph for Hendricks, who later on repeated her triumph with conductors Karl Bohm and Sir Neville Marriner. The role of Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette led to her Paris Opera debut in 1982, while four years later she returned to New York, in order to make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier. La Scala opened its doors to welcome her in 1987, with yet another production of Le Nozzi di Figaro, this time conducted by Riccardo Muti. As other great opera houses followed, her repertoire broadened to include roles such as that of Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and the title role in Manon. Over the years, Hendricks has toured extensively. For example, her appearances in Japan have included concerts with Herbert von Karajan in 1977, Leonard Bernstein in 1985, the Vienna State Opera in 1986 and the Hamburg Opera in 1996. She has appeared in many of the world’s most prestigious festivals such as in Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Florence and Vienna. The spectacular career of this international opera star, however, has gone far beyond music and the stage. Since 1987, Hendricks has worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as a Goodwill Ambassador, visiting refugee camps all over the world. She is also special adviser on intercultural relations for UNESCO, as well as a participant in the Organization of European Youth’s campaign against xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance, launched by the Council of Europe in 1994. In tonight’s concert, Hendricks will interpret a number of works by Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Francis Poulenc and Richard Strauss. Barbara Hendricks at the Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou, tel 323.2771. Tickets from the Hellenic Festival box office, 4 Stadiou, in the Spyrou Miliou Arcade, tel 322.1459. ‘A Week of Theater’ at the Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou, tel 323.2771, 323.5582. Tickets are available from the Hellenic Festival box office, 4 Stadiou, in the Spyrou Miliou Arcade, tel 322.1459.