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Mezzo-soprano Hilary Summers, who was born in Newport (South Wales) and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio in London, began her career in 1992 at the Scottish Opera. She sings a wide repertoire, spanning from the 17th century to music of today, and possesses an unusual vocal range that allows her to perform low contralto as well as mezzo roles. Not surprisingly, this gift has attracted the attention of several contemporary composers. In 1999 Summers performed the role of Stella in the world premiere of Elliott Carter’s music theater work What Next? at the Berlin Lindenoper and in 2002 the role of Irma in Peter Eötvös’s Le Balcon at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, while in 2006 she took part in the world premiere of George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill. She has worked with Pierre Boulez several times, performing in Le Marteau sans Maître—their recording of which won a Grammy—and in Le Visage nuptial in 2005 to celebrate his 80th birthday. At the same time Summers is a sought-after singer in the field of early music and has performed with William Christie, Thomas Hengelbrock, Christopher Hogwood, Andrew Manze, Paul McCreesh, and Christophe Rousset. She has also made a name for herself with her performances of music of the classical and romantic periods as well, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Dvorák’s Requiem, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, and de Falla’s El amor brujo. Summers has performed at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Nederlandse Opera, the Teatro Real Madrid, and the National Opera of Paris; her engagements for 2011-12 include appearances as Geneviève in Debussy’s Pelléas at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona and as Juno in Handel’s Semele at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 14 September 2002 in Le Marteau sans Maître by Pierre Boulez, conducted by the composer.