Our goal is to bring the finest artists to the finest theaters world wide, with careful attention given to establishing and maintaining professional careers. The Laifer Roster is divided among Americans, Europeans and Asians, stars and emerging talents.
I believe very strongly that it is of the utmost importance to find the “right manager” – someone who “guides and nurtures” careers, and helps the artist understand what is necessary in order to advance at the various stages that happen in the course of a lifetime career. This “marriage” between artist and manager is perhaps the most important professional decision that the artist will have to make alone – and this choice will shape what happens and when, in the natural evolution of a career. I maintain a very small and select group of singers and conductors, so that I can have the time and energy necessary to accomplish these goals.
There are two new artists on the roster starting with soprano Zoya Gramagin has been praised for her beautiful, vibrant voice with characteristically warm Slavic colors, while maintaining a very Italianate sound. The Petersburg-Concert (Saint Petersburg, Russia) called her a “true Verdian soprano, [with] fascinating richness of the voice and fiery musicality.” Following a recent performance at the Lowell House Opera at Harvard University in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades, the Boston Musical Intelligencer said: “The show was carried by excellent music-making. Zoya Gramagin as Liza achieved [a] major-league success…” Her most recent appearance was as Special Guest Artist at the annual Sergio Franchi Memorial Gala where she “wowed the crowd” with her “thrilling” interpretation of “Un bel di…” This coming season will see her in concert with orchestra performing the Mahler’s 8th Symphony. In June 2019 she will debut as Cio Cio San in St. Petersburg Opera’s new production of Madama Butterfly.
Russian-American Bass-baritone Grigory Soloviov was recently praised for his portrayal of the title character in Jay Reise’s 1988 opera Rasputin: “Grigory Soloviov’s deep booming bass is truly hypnotizing; it puts you into some kind of trance. It is chillingly beautiful.” For the same role, another reviewer said, “The character of Rasputin in this show was brilliantly portrayed by Grigory Soloviov, who [posseses a] splendid voice, rich in colors, and distinct, unique acting skills.” Before completing his studies with the Washington National Opera’s Young Artist’s Program in 2009, Mr. Soloviov attended the prestigious Moscow State Conservatory. He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, La Fenice, Washington Opera, Bolshoi Academic State Theatre, Helikon-Opera, Dallas Opera, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra de Tours, Opéra De Montréal, the Palm Beach Opera, and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. In addition to the contemporary Rasputin, he has received acclaim for performances in varied repertoire such as Polyphemus (Acis and Galatea), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Leporello and Masetto (Don Giovanni), Bartolo (Le Nozze di Figaro), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Sparafucile and Monterone (Rigoletto), Lodovico (Otello), Colline (La Boheme) and Frank (Die Fledermaus) to name a few.
Spanish mezzo-soprano Nancy Fabiola Herrera has performed in Mexico City, Paris, Montpellier, Madrid, the Metropolitan, Covent Garden, Verona, Tokyo and Las Palmas in recent seasons. 2014-15 featured her return to Los Angeles where she sang in Florencia. Recent highlights have included Dalila (Manaus Fest), Carmen w/LA Opera and her season-opening debut at the Arena di Verona as Carmen in 2009, Las Palmas for L’Italiana and Malaga for Carmen and the Musikverein in Vienna for her recital debut there. She was Carmen in Dresden, and in Berlin and München in ’11-12 and had recitals in Las Palmas, Tenerife, Valencia and Madrid. She was Giovanna Seymour in Barcelona, performed in joint concert with Placido Domingo in Santo Domingo and returned to Las Palmas as Carmen. Hollywood Bowl debut and Tanglewood’s La Vida Breve with the Boston Symphony and with Toronto, LA and Philadelphia orchestras in ’12-13. Charlotte in Oviedo’s season-opening Werther. She debuted with the Bayerische Staatsoper as Carmen to begin 2013 and returned to the Casals Festival in the Verdi Requiem and to the MET. Madrid in Il Postinoand last year with Opera Australia followed by her Bolshoi debut in Moscow, both as Carmen and then returned to Melbourne for more performances as Carmen which she then brought for her return to the Rome Opera. She brought her Maddalena to NY in her return to the MET last year, and performed her first Eboli in Teatro Catan in Madrid. Spring 2016 featured her singing Sara in Roberto Devereux at the Tchaikovsky concert hall in Moscow followed by La Vida Breve with the Cincinnati Orchestra. Last fall she brought her “powerful Herodias to the Met where she stole the show and followed this with a warm and powerful Fenena” . She performed Leonora in La favorita in Spain this past spring as well as returning to the MET for Maddalena. This fall began with Fenena in a new Nabuccoat Los Angeles Opera. She reurns to Las Palmas next spring in another new production. She will perform in Florencia En El Amazonas at Houston Grand Opera in January 2019.
Natasha Novitskaia is a dramatic mezzo-soprano on her way to an important career in the dramatic mezzo roles of Verdi as well as in repertoire such as Dalila, Santuzza, Lyubasha and many of the important Russian mezzo roles. Her early music education was in classical piano and singing and she received her degree from St. Petersburg University. She has performed Amneris, Fricka, Carmen, Azucena, and Santuzza and has given recitals in New York and Berlin as well as Russia. Last summer she was the vocal soloist in a concert with the Mercury Orchestra in the Alexander Nevsky Cantata by Prokofiev. Last fall she performed Azucena in a concert performance of Trovatore at the Liederkranz in NYC. This winter she sang a duo recital at the Opera Center in NY with soprano Olga Zhurvel Maselli and in April was a featured artist at the Giacomini Gala at Carnegie Hall. This summer she performed at the Franchi Gala before 4000 people to great success. The current season will have her performing in another Giacomini gala, this time in Italia and she will also debut with Maestro Daniel Oren in Italia. The following season will feature her debut at La Fenice, Venezia in a new production and she is on hold for NNTT Tokyo for Marina in a new Boris Godunov. She will also appear in concert with Zoya Gramagin in an all Russian song program next season and also upcoming is a Mahler 8 performance. As a result of recently winning the Taormina Competition in Rome, Natasha will perform Amneris at the Taormina Festival on August 24th in the Aida performance honoring the 10th anniversary of the passing of the great Giuseppe DiStefano and will also sing in their Mascagni gala honoring Fiorenza Cossotto in August and on September 1st in the Opera Gala Night, Taormina, Italy. Next season (2018-19) she is scheduled for Santuzza in a new Cavalleria with Opera Connecticut and will return to Taormina again to perform, repertoire to be finalized. She is on hold for Marina in a new Boris Godunov in Tokyo in 2020-21.
We have the following review: “The German conductor Rudolf Piehlmayer, born in Bavaria, was cheered loudly and rightly so. He gave the orchestra a great clarity with a warm and enveloping sound. He propels his musicians (68) with rigor, and a sensitively balanced focus and we note the quality of the brass section, especially congratulating the tuba!” The review was for the new Lohengrin in Rouen. In a career of more than 25 years he has conducted throughout the world, having made his opera debut in Regensburg in Hansel und Gretel in 1993. For 7 years he was the Gmusic director of Augsburg Philharmonic followed by his tenure as permanent guest conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Leipzig Opera. He has conducted at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Norske Opera, Musashimo Akademia Musicae Tokyo and with many orchestras throughout Germany. He has a number of recordings to his credit.
Tenor Dongwon Shin has sung Radames in Covent Garden and Vienna, Manrico in Dresden, Montreal and Ft. Worth, Samson and the Verdi Requiem in Trieste, and Tosca and Turandot in Seuol these past seasons. He also performed Manrico for Arizona Opera and for Opera de Montreal. In 2014 he performed with Opera Carolina in Il Tabarro and concerts in Korea. Last year had him performing at the Franchi Gala in the US. For 2017 he introduced Cavaradossi in Korea and performed concerts throughout Korea. Knoxville has his Radames in a new Aida in 2018
Mexican-born tenor Cesar Sanchez is an exciting new artist who is praised for his heroic intensity and rich passionate voice. He is a full lyric tenor whose voice is particularly suited to the late Romantic operas, especially the music of Verdi and Puccini. Cesar began his music studies as a boy chorister at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Tijuana, Mexico. Following high school, he was awarded a scholarship to the Escuela Superior de Musica in Guadalajara, México, and later was chosen as a full scholarship student at the Mozarteum Conservatory of Music in Salzburg, Austria.
Anastassiya Kozhukharova was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In 2013 she was graduated from the Vocal Art department of Kazakh National Conservatory named after Kurmangazy, cum laude. A winner of scholarship from The First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Foundation (2012-13). A winner of the Mythos competition in January 2018, she will be performing role of Violetta (“La Traviata”, Verdi) in Mythos Opera Festival, Italy, on August 5th, 2018.
Beier Zhao, soprano, is the newest member of the Laifer Artists Development & Management Program. Her specialty repertoire will include bel canto as well as Liu, Micaela and eventually Butterfly. She is a singer with lovely rich overtones, elegant phrasing, good attention to the text along with really fine musicianship. Her work ethic is second to none, and while she appears respectful and modest, her confidence and self-esteem provide her with the power to propel herself at every opportunity – she is beautiful and subtle actress.