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Helene Gjerris

mezzo-soprano
Sara Roland

You can master it all - Carmen, Baroque music and the latest avant-garde. At least if you are Helene Gjerris. Her all-embracing talent has captivated audiences and composers alike since the middle of the 1990s. Even before she made her official debut in 1997 she had emerged as an unusual figure in Danish musical life. Several new works have been written especially for her.

Helene Gjerris trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, but some of her professional secret may also come from several years of study at a London school for carnival and street performers. In contemporary music in particular, her charismatic performance comes into its own. At the beginning of her career Helene Gjerris sang Renaissance music in the vocal ensemble Ars Nova Copenhagen, and at the age of 24 she was a co-founder of the ensemble for contemporary music Figura Ensemble. On the European Baroque stages she has appeared in Handel's opera Teseo and Cavalli's opera Giasone. Among standard roles she has sung Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro and the title roles in Rossini's La cenerentola and Bizet's Carmen, on among other stages the Danish Royal Theatre. She also sings in oratorios by Bach, Handel and Mozart and appears with Marlene Dietrich's repertoire in the vocal group Kopenhagen Kabarett.

On CDs from Dacapo you can hear Helene Gjerris in Per Nørgård's opera Nuit des hommes and the cantata The Will-o'-the Wisps Have Gone to Town, in Rued Langgaard's Late Romantic mystery play Antichrist and in contemporary music by Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen.

Helene Gjerris has received many awards including the Aksel Schiøtz Prize, the honorary prize of the Danish Composers' Society and the Reumert Prize. Helene Gjerris is recently appointed professor at The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark.