Nora Sourouzian, mezzo-soprano

Biography

Hailed by Opera for her “warmly-rounded sound with ease and impact at the top” and “crystalline diction,” French-Canadian mezzo soprano Nora Sourouzian opened season 2021/22 with her first Amneris in Aida with Den Jyske Opera after Lied der Waldtaube in Gurrelieder with Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester in spring 2021. Before she was Ježibaba in Rusalka with Theater St. Gallen and Opéra National du Rhin and Azucena in Il trovatore at Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken in the 2020/21 season.

Nora Sourouzian now appears frequently in the more dramatic repertoire. In spring 2022 she sings Eboli in Don Carlo at Aaltotheater Essen as well as Amneris in Aida at Burgplatz Open Air in Braunschweig and in season 2022/23 Amneris again at the Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen.

She also sang Verdi Requiem with Aarhus Symfoniorkester in November 2019, after a series of Azucena in Il Trovatore with Seattle Opera, the Royal Danish Opera, Aaltotheater Essen, St. Galler Festspiele and Oper Graz. She made her company debut as Marguerite in La damnation de Faust with Opera Nacional de México at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Nora Sourouzian appeared at Bard Summerscape as Marfa in Dvorak’s Dmitrij, and as Anita in Massenet’s La Navarraise, sang Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Orchestra Sinfónica de Chile in Santiago, and Frank Martin’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke with the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève.

Nora Sourouzian has sung many roles by Massenet, such as Thérèse and Anita in a double bill of Thérèse and La Navarraise which was highly acclaimed at Wexford Festival. Dulcinée in Don Quichotte at Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Myrtale in Thaïs at Théâtre du Chatelet Paris and Charlotte in Werther at Latvian National Theatre in Riga. She is known for her numerous interpretations as Carmen in over 20 productions over the globe, amongst other at Welsh National Opera, Den Norske Opera, Opéra de Québec, Oper Leipzig, Oper Köln, Latvian National Opera, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona, Oper Klagenfurt, Opernfestspiele St. Margarethen, Teatro Sociale di Como, and Opéra de Lausanne, both in Lausanne and on tour to Japan.

Her repertoire includes roles of rarities like Michael Daugherty’s Jackie O where she interpreted the role of Maria Callas (DVD recording of Jackie O by Michael Daugherty released by Dynamic), the role of Zulema in Aben Hamet by Théodore Dubois, Phaedra by Benjamin Britten or Pénélope by Gabriel Fauré, Nefertiti in Akhnaten by Philip Glass or Hérodiade in Salome by Mariotte.

While in the ensemble at Staatstheater Kassel she sang Idamante in Idomeneo, Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Annina in Der Rosenkavalier, Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte. Prior to joining the ensemble in Kassel, Ms. Sourouzian was a young artist at the International Opera Centrum Nederland in Amsterdam where she sang the title role in The Rape of Lucretia. She was finalist in both the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition and Internationaler Gesangswettbewerb für Wagner Stimmen.

She has been working with conductors such as Michele Mariotti, Julia Jones, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Marc Minkowski, Leif Segerstam, Riccardo Frizza, Paolo Carignani, Andrea Sanguineti, Michael Balke, Srba Dinić or Modestas Pitrenas; and with stage directors such as David Pountney, Damiano Michieletto, Guy Montavon, Calixto Bieito, Roland Schwab, Nicola Raab, Vera Nemirova, Renaud Doucet, Rosetta Cucchi, Robert Carsen, Ben Baur or Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser.

Calendar
Repertoire
Opera roles

Vincenzo Bellini

I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI/Romeo

Hector Berlioz

LA DAMNATION DE FAUST/Marguerite

Georges Bizet

CARMEN/Carmen

Benjamin Britten

A MIDSUMMERNIGHT'S DREAM/Hermia
PHAEDRA/ Phaedra
THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA/Lucretia

Michael Daugherty

JECKIE O./ Maria Callas

Gaetano Donizetti

LA FAVORITA/ Leonora

Gabriel Fauré

PENELOPE/ Penelope

Umberto Giordano

ANDREA CHENIER/Maddalena
ANDREA CHENIER/Madelon

Pietro Mascagni

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA/ Santuzza

Antoine Mariotte

SALOME/ Herodias
SALOME/ Salome

Jules Massenet

LA NAVARRAISE/ La Navarraise
DON QUICHOTTE/ Dulcinee
THERESE/ Therese
WERTHER/Charlotte

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

IDOMENEO/Idamante

Jacques Offenbach

LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN/ Nicklausse

Amilcare Ponchielli

LA GIOCONDA/ Laura

Camille Saint-Saëns

SAMSON ET DALILA/Dalila

Richard Strauss

ARIADNE AUF NAXOS/Komponist

Giuseppe Verdi

AIDA /Amneris
DON CARLO/Eboli
IL TROVATORE/ Azucena

Richard Wagner

DAS RHEINGOLD/ Erda
DAS RHEINGOLD/Fricka
Concert repertoire

Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral"

Hector Berlioz

La mort de Cleopatre
Les nuits d'été

Johannes Brahms

Liebeslieder

Franz Joseph Haydn

Arianna auf Naxos

Gustav Mahler

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Symphony No. 3

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Requiem KV 626

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

Stabat Mater

Gioacchino Rossini

Petite Messe Solenelle

Giuseppe Verdi

Requiem

Richard Wagner

Wesendonk-Lieder
Review
CARMEN (Minnesota)
Startribune, Michael Anthonyght
It does have an illuminating performance by Nora Sourouzian in the title role, and that’s no small accomplishment… On the plus side was Sourouzian’s Carmen, a subtle portrayal of an attractive, sexy, confident young woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants. It’s clear, too, that this particular Carmen doesn’t love Don José and never did. She saw him as a challenge, someone to tease, but he became an irritant and then a threat. Sourouzian moved onstage with easy, tiger-like grace and brought to the vocal line a richly colored, evenly produced mezzo with sensitive inflections of the text.
CARMEN (Minnesota)
Aisle Say Twin Cities, Lyz Biron
…and Nora Sourouzian did an excellent job as the eponymous Carmen: quick, sultry, and saucy (and if you speak French, enjoy her French-Canadian accent!).
HÉRODIAS (Mariotte’s opera)
Opera Today, Claire Seymour
Strangely, Mariotte’s opera does not feature a soprano role; both Hérodias and Salomé are cast as mezzos. Nora Sourouzian (who made such a strong impression in last year’s Massenet double bill —) made much of Hérodias’ brief but characterful appearances. Similarly, the lunchtime recital that the French-Canadian mezzo-soprano offered with pianist Carmen Santoro show-cased Sourouzian’s affinity with tragic, lyrical repertoire: particularly impressive was Berlioz’s La Mort de Cléopatre (the first time that Sourouzian had performed the work in public) in which the mezzo soprano demonstrated her dramatic nous (especially her ability to ground Berlioz’s more histrionic tendencies) and velvety tone to splendid effect. As Mariotte’s queen, Sourouzian was a vibrant, emotionally intense Hérodias, and her vocal splendour was pleasingly complemented by Scott Wilde’s authoritative, attractive Hérode.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
Irish Theatre Magazine, Terence Blain
Both shows are dominated by the scintillating performances of Nora Sourouzian in the title roles. The French-Canadian mezzo is, on this showing, a force of operatic nature, singing from the outset of Thérèse with an attack and focused intensity which made you fearful she could ever make it to the brief but harrowing mad scene at La Navarraise's conclusion. Sourouzian turns out to be indefatigable. The voice itself is a vibrant, richly expressive instrument, thrilling when unleashed at moments of high emotional intensity (there are many in both operas), but retaining its poise and tonal plenitude in more introverted, quieter sections. Sourouzian acts superbly too, graphically tracing the conflicted loyalties of her love-triangle entanglement in Thérèse, and unleashing the raw passions of a wounded tigress in the blasted militaristic setting of La Navarraise. So well differentiated is her approach to the two characters that you wonder initially, when the curtain rises after the interval, whether it can possibly be one and the same singer.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
The Irish Times, Michael Dervan
French-Canadian mezzo-soprano Nora Sourouzian is full and forward in tone in the roles of the two heroines, her eager, committed immediacy sounding at its best in La Navarraise. This is the more effective of the two pieces, as Massenet provided colourful sounds of war as he aimed to take his listeners by the scruff of the neck and not let go until his heroine, having killed for money but still lost her lover, reaches the extremity of madness.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen
French-Canadian Nora Sourouzian fits the bill admirably: she does a terrific double as the nobly self-sacrificing Thérèse and the obsessive Navarraise outsider, her singing lush and firm in tone and phrase, her acting committed and uninhibited. A frenzied final mad scene would have made Janis Joplin at Monterey look demure.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
Opera pronto journal, Charles Jernigan
... but in Nora Sourouzian, a Canadian mezzo, Wexford has found a great singing actress who was able to offer a terrifying set of performances. Rightly, they programed the later opera (Thérèse) to go first, because the end of La Navarraise is so shocking and hair raising in Ms. Sourouzian's hands that it sent chills up my spine as Anita succumbs to grief-induced madness. It was a great performance. In fact, I could scarcely believe that the two heroines were portrayed by the same woman: Therese is beautiful young wife in a lovely empire gown and an elaborate be-ribboned coif based on a portrait of the Desmoulins by Jacques-Louis David. Anita is a poor, dirty, ill-kept peasant girl, clearly disturbed from her first appearance. Both operas rise to terrifying climaxes, but Navarraise's finale is overwhelming. Sourouzian's voice is very fine too, able to encompass the powerful emotion and also the few moments of quiet passion in Thérèse. It was tour-de-force.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
Wexford Echo, Tom Mooney
... Sourouzian’s acting is the equal of her singing, and as both the parts of Therese and Anita mirror the descent into societal mayhem, she had to dig deepest to unfurl the sacrifice of one and the madness of the other. By my estimation, she was only off stage for ten minutes for the duration of both operas, which were also gifted by the presence of Philippe Do, Brian Mulligan and Damien Pass. Taken as a whole, I don’t think I have ever seen as complete a performance at Wexford as Sourouzian, certainly not since Biriucov, or even Notare, but to segue two contrasting roles in one evening was a remarkable and, if you were fortunate to be present on Saturday, frankly miraculous undertaking. In the last scene of Therese, Sourouzian appropriates her death while defiant to the violence that spurred it. She gave us beauty, rapture and madness. That ability to morph from one to the other as seamless as water, from Revolutionary France to Civil War Spain, transfigured Therese in particular which looked – on paper – as exciting as chess.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning
Both works prove ideal vehicles for the Canadian mezzo Nora Sourouzian, whose powerful voice always serves the drama. She was hardly recognisable as the same artist in roles of strikingly different temperament.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
Opera Today, Claire Seymour
At the heart of the score are the passionate exchanges of Thérèse and Arnaud, and French-Canadian mezzo soprano Nora Sourouzian and French tenor Philippe Do prove that they possess the stylishness, lyricism and sensitivity to convey the poetry of these scenes most beautifully... ... Thérèse’s Act 2 aria, ‘Jour de juin, jour d’été’ was deliciously sweet and exquisitely phrased... The singing was, however, as committed as before the interval, with Do and Sourouzian once more a formidable duo, as Araquil and La Navarraise. Sourouzian’s lustrous high register was in evidence, in her Act 1 lament that she will not be able to marry her beloved Araquil; and she had real presence in the fiery outbursts which result in her mad demise.
LA NAVARRAISE/ Thérèse
Auditorium Mag, Ben Pateman
Vocal laurels went emphatically to the mezzo-soprano of Nora Sourouzian (Thérèse), though the men who surrounded her were all of the good-to-high standard that one nowadays expects at Wexford... The chief merit of the performance was, once again, Nora Sourouzian. Her stage persona moved so seamlessly from elegant French dame to crazed Spanish peasant that one was forced to check the programme to be sure it was the same singer.
WESENDONCK, LES NUITS D'ÉTÉ
Lynda DiMartino Wetherill
Sourouzian, who recreated the magic of midrichness nineteenth century Romantic lieder. Programming the exquisite Songs d' Eté from the pen of Hector Berlioz, as well as the great Wesendonk Lieder of Richard Wagner, Ms. Sourouzian handled potential excesses of the Berlioz compositions with exquisite phrasing and understatement, and was expertly accompanied by her pianist Frederico Nicoletta. The Wesendonk Another Friday evening at 9, on 15 June, we were served the charming and world class mezzo soprano Nora, named for the poetess of the texts, wife of his host in Zurich, delivered the lavish and more chromatically complex sculpting of themes that Wagner would further develop in his beloved Tristan and Isolde. Ms. Sourouzian adeptly inferred the powerful inspiration that the composer received from this muse, in an effortlessly yet dramatically poised generosity. The effect of these songs was stunning and intoxicating.
PÉNÉLOPE
Financial Times, Andrew Clark
N.S. was Pémélope of one’s dream, with her external beauties of physique and voice (a lustrous, high mezzo) communicating an inner beauty and resolve.
PÉNÉLOPE
Irish Independent, Pat O’Kelly
Canadian soprano N.S. perfectly captured the emotional confusion of the title role…
PÉNÉLOPE
The Independent, Roderic Dunnett
The Canadian-Armenian mezzo NS makes an ideal, touching Pénélope : She moves wonderfully, her phrasing is acutely sensitive, while the voice transforms to a musical fieriness apt for pained outburst.
PÉNÉLOPE
Opera news
There were strong performances, despite all the extra-curricular goings-on, from the Canadian mezzo Nora Sourouzian as Penelope and American tenor Gerard Powers as Ulysses.
PÉNÉLOPE
The Times
…and musically the performance was fine indeed, eloquently conducted by Jean-Luc Tingaud, with thrilling singing from Nora Sourouzian and Gerard Powers as the reunited husband and wife.
CARMEN
Henning Hoholt, kulturkompasset
Nora Sourouzian is a first class, sensual Carmen.
Press Service

Representation:
DK, NO, SE, FI, IS, DE