Anna Kasyan is considered one of the most promising singers of her generation. Laureate of many great international singing competitions, she made her debut on various prestigious stages, with renowned orchestra conductors. She established herself within a large repertoire that ranges from opera to sacred music, from chamber music to melody and lied, from Baroque to contemporary.
I discovered a very beautiful voice, that of Anna Kasyan, who sings like an angel. Her performance, splendid and stunning, with great style and sublime pianissimos, marked by a deep interiorization as well as strong intensity of interpretation, remain unforgettable… As president of the Julien Gayarre Competition, I created a special prize carrying my name to express my recognition of her talent.”
Education: from Tbilisi to Paris
Anna Kasyan began her musical training very early at the Tbilisi Special Music School for Gifted Children (Republic of Georgia). She quickly attracted the attention of the public: the young musician participated in many recitals as pianist and violinist at the age of 8, and she made her debut as soloist with an orchestra. She continued her studies at the Tbilisi State Conservatory in violin. It was at this time that she became interested in singing and she began studying voice in 2001 at the same conservatory.
Over the next two years, she played in many performances. She interpreted, among other roles, Gilda (Rigoleto, Verdi), Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto, Cimarosa) and Norina (Don Pasquale, Donizetti) with the Conservatory Opera Studio.
Piano, violin, voice and scenic art… Following this well-rounded musical training in Tbilisi, Anna Kasyan moved to Paris in 2003. She joined the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris Alfred Cortot (pr. Anne-Marie Rodde). A scholarship holder at Fondations Zygmunt Zaleski and Juan Beistegui, she obtained three higher-education degrees: Opera (2004), Performance (2006) and concert artist/soloist (2008). She also worked with Jean-Philippe Lafont and Mireille Laroche in role study. Anna Kasyan was 22 years old when she was accepted at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris (CNSMDP), where she perfected her art (pr. Mireille Alcantara).
During her years of training, Anna Kasyan prepared the roles of Cleopatra (Julius Caesar) and Armida (Rinaldo) by Haendel, Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Despina (Cosi fan tutte) by Mozart; and Snegourotchka (The Snow Maiden, Rimski-Korsakov), Leïla (The Pearl Fisher, Bizet), Juliette (Romeo and Juliette, Gounod), Adina (L’Elisir d’amore, Donizetti).
In addition to her studies, she also took masters classes with Tom Krause, Raina Kabaivanska, Viorica Cortez, Janine Reiss and, in Baroque music, with Nicolau de Figueiredo and JoryVinikour.
Anna Kasyan’s repertoire reaches across various styles, periods, and languages. Her voice can be heard in Baroque or contemporary music, from opera to theater.
Anna Kasyan is among those musicians on whom hopes are founded in the domain of opera. She possesses all the qualities necessary for a grand international career: a voice of rare beauty with clear timbre, a firmness in her low notes and splendor in her high notes; a perfect technique which allows her to perform coloraturas with a light allure and to be sure to have a very nuanced phrasing; sublime musicality, desire to succeed, stunning charisma and great personality”.
Anna Kasyan was a huge success when she incarnated Norina (Don Pasquale, Donizetti) at the San Marino Opera Theater (A. Ciavatta/ D. Uscello) in 2007. Several French opera houses have already entrusted her with the role of Zerlina (Don Giovanni, Mozart): Montpellier (H. Niquet/ J.P. Scarpitta) in 2008, Metz (J. Mercier/ N. Sadoul) and Rouen (G.-J. Rumstadt/ L. Laffargue) in 2009.
She performed her first Rosine (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini) in the festival “Opéra en Plain Air” in Paris and on tour in Ile-de-France (P. Hui/ J. Migenes). This show was selected by the French press in the category of “Best Opera Performance of the Season” for the third session of “Globes de Cristal des Arts et de la Culture” (2007, France).
Anna Kasyan, a Rosine who happily takes on and confronts the full range of the role. Julia Migenes’s mise en scène in the best opera bouffe tradition allows the opera singer to fully express Rosine’s joy and humor as well as her determination and will to succeed. The famous cavatina “Una voce poco fa,” amusing and full of mischief, shines and carries us away. One can’t help but be reminded of Maria Callas and Cecilia Bartoli.”
Le Figaro, July 2007
Recital and Concert
Anna Kasyan regularly performs in concert and in recitals around the world: at Carnegie Hall in New York as well as at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva, at the Hermitage Theater and in the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, at the Herkulsaal in Munich and at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, at the Flanders and Quebec Operas. She has also performed in Zurich, Liège, Osnabrück, Bale, Warsaw, Siena, Pampalona, Almaty, Pretoria, Madrid, Bruges…
However, France has not been forgotten by this adopted Parisian. She has performed in the series “Concerts de Midi” at the Salle Cortot, Concert Scarlatti-Haendel at UNESCO, Italian opera aria concerts at the Cité de la Musique and at the Russian Cultural Center in Paris, Mozart concerts in Toulouse, Baroque music concerts in different cities in the Ile de France region. She interpreted arias and duos of Italian-French operas at the Opéra Comédie and the Opéra Corum in Montpellier, the Théâtre Comédie des Champs-Élysées and at the Marigny Robert Hossein Theater in Paris.
Anna holds on to her roots and to her musical culture. Beautiful pages of Armenian, Georgian, and Russian music are very much present in her repertoire. She has recently given a recital to present this very repertoire at the Rouen Opera for the “Voix du Monde” series.
Anna Kasyan sings under the direction of famous conductors such as Placido Domingo, Kazuchi Ono, Daniele Callegari, Günter Neuhold, Alexandre Rudin, Michael Schonwandt, Michel Piquemal, Hervé Niquet, Stefan Klingele, Christoph Poppen, James Meena…
In concert, she was soloist in Stabat Mater by Pergolèse, Dixit Dominus by Haendel, Bach’s Magnificat en D, Die Schöpfung by Haydn, Messe Solennelle and Stabat Mater by Rossini, Mozart’s Requiem, Symphonie op.52 Lobgesang by Mendelssohn, the concert scene Die Seejungfräulein by Albert, Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne.
Anna Kasyan has also performed with leading orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of the Opéra de la Monnaie, Quebec Opera Symphony Orchestra, the Romansch Switzerland Symphonic Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, the RTVE Orchestra in Madrid, the “Concert Spirituel “ Orchestra, the Flanders Opera Symphony Orchestra, the Geneva Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Orchestra of Wallonia. She sang in Germany during a tour with the “German Radio Philharmonic” as well as in Belgium with the Baroque orchestra, “La Petite Bande,” and with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic.
Anna Kasyan has been invited by the Festival of the “Orangerie de Sceaux” and the Draguignan Summer Festival, the Pablo Casals Festival and the Tours Florilège Festival (France), the Mosan Summer Festival (Belgium), the Brescia Festival (Italy), the Saint Petersburg Olympus Musical Festival (Russia), the Radio France Festival for the production Don Giovanni (Zerlina) by the Musicora salon in Paris.
France Musique recorded programs with her participation: La Cour des Grands, Le Mardi idéal and Jeunes Interprètes. The Belgian television station RTBF invited her to its program 50 degrés Nord and the U.S. Russian television station “RTN” and SWR2 (Germany) list her in their documentaries.
In 2007, Eric de Belleval created a theatrical piece for Anna Kasyan: Contretemps, whose creation took place at the Salle Cortot in Paris that same year.
Anna Kasyan has been invited to several events in France, notably for a recital at the 38th Saint-Lizier Festival, Concert “Malibran: the Life and Death of a Diva” at the Antibes ‘Musiques au Cœur’ Festival. She will leave on tour in Benelux with the Auvergne Orchestra, s.l.d. A.Van Beek, in a work by Haendel. She will also be in Germany with the Southwest German Philharmonic of Constance, under the direction of Vassilis Christopoulos, to interpret works by Mozart.
Anna Kasyan will sing the role of Egle in the production Niso, Egle and Eurilla, directed by Antonio Florio, at the Chaise-Dieu Festival. Spectators will have the opportunity to admire her in Carmen at the Toulon Opera, Cosi fan tutte at the Clermont-Ferrand Opera, the leading role in La Callisto by Cavalli at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva (Switzerland)…
Prizes and awards…
Anna Kasyan has received awards in the greatest international singing competitions. The stability of her victories and the number of special prizes she has received allow her to shine as one of the most promising and talented sopranos of her generation.
Recently, Anna Kasyan received the Grand Prize in the 3rd International Opera Competition of the 71st Strasbourg Music Festival, presided by Barbara Hendricks. At the beginning of 2009, she won the first edition of voice at the Vibrarte International Music Competition in Paris.
The first prize attributed to Anna Kasyan, breathtaking in dramatic strength as Lucrezia Borgia, as in Russian melodies where a powerful Tatiana appears, is indisputably deserved. The Georgian soprano has made incredible progress since her second prize at the Geneva Competition 2007, and has increased in clarity, delivery, and precision as well as in vocal range.”
Opera Magazine, March n°39, 2009.
In 2008, Anna Kasyan participated with great success in the Queen Elisabeth International Musical Competition in Belgium, where she was named First Soprano, laureate of Fourth Prize and the winner of the public award “CANVAS TV” (voted by the audience, Internet, TV and Radio).
In 2007 she won First Prize in the Rocca delle Macìe International Opera Competition, presided by Renato Bruson (Italy) and was deemed winner of Third Prize (the first non-attributed prize) at the 62nd Geneva Competition (Switzerland) as well as the Special Prize “Cercle du Grand Théâtre de Genève.
A year before that, she received First Prize and the Special Prize from Teresa Berganza at the Julian Gayarre International Singing Competition (Pampalona, Spain) as well as a contract from the Flanders Opera. That same year, Anna was the quadruple laureate at the 55th ARD International Music Competition (Munich, Germany), where she obtained 3rd Prize in the “Opera” category as well as the special prizes “Best Opera Singer,” the “Osnabruck Symphony Orchestra Prize” and “Best Mozart Repertoire Interpretation.” She also won the 5th Unisa International Musical Competition (Pretoria, South Africa) and special prizes “Best Interpretation of Baroque Music,” “Best Mozartean Repertoire,” and “Best Interpretation of Arias of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries.”
“The Women’s First Prize awarded to Anna Kasyan was indisputable and uncontested. From the first eliminations, she showed true professionalism in vocal line, theatrical expression, communication, phrasing, in interpretive richness of each fragment, rounded off in clear timbre, in the precision of each range – for example, in Norina (Don Pasquale) by Donizetti; in the intensity of recitatives, as in Weber’s Ännchen (Der Freischütz). And lastly, in her great musicality which plays a role in her undeniable vocal gifts. XI Concours International de Chant, Julian Gayarre, Diario, Spain, September 2006.
In 2005 she took First Prize in both the 17th Marmande International Competition and in the 20th National Opera Competition in Béziers, the Award of Honor at the European Music Competition in Picarie and at the Fall Music Festival (France). She is the first laureate of the first edition of the Renata Tebaldi International Competition (Second Place, first non-attributed prize) at the Republic of San Marino, as well as at the International Opera Competition in Marseille.
Anna Kasyan received the public award “Best Artist” at the Olympus Music Festival 2008 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
She was named Opera Revelation of the ADAMI for the year 2006 (France).
Anna Kasyan is the winner of Fondations de France de Meyer in 2005 and of Nadia and Lili Boulanger in 2007.
Anna Kasyan was born in Tbilisi, in the Republic of Georgia, to a family of musicians. Her father, Ovanes Kasyan (Kassian), an established, well-known Georgian artist, was a famous interpreter of the clarinet and the doudouk. He played a very important role in the artistic development of the doudouk in Georgia and in the Caucasus. Ovanes Kasyan founded a school of doudouk in Tbilisi for young apprentices passionate about this art. He was also artistic director for the Sayat Nova Group. Under his conducting, the group participated in numerous cultural productions. This allowed for the development and the transmission of the work of the great achougue Sayat (Saïat) Nova, who was a troubadour born in the Caucasus, in Tiflis (ancient spelling of Tbilisi) at the beginning of the 18th century, and who wrote in three languages – Armenian, Georgian, and Turkish. Sayat Nova was killed by the army of Agha Mohammed Khan. Ovanes Kasyan’s life was also brutally ended – a strange coincidence with the life of another artist which he spent his life teaching others about… Anna’s mother, Lili Lasarev is a pianist and piano instructor. Anna Kasyan’s two older sisters are also musicians: Susanne is a musicologist and pianist; Ianna is a violinist and conductor.
From her early childhood, Anna Kasyan witnessed musical parties “at the Kasyans’” where one could often meet the celebrities of the time and hear both classic and folkloric repertoires.