Magdalena Kozena

Voice/Instrument: Mezzo soprano


Magdalena Kožená (born 1973) is a Czech mezzo-soprano.

In 2003, Kožená was awarded the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. She was formerly married to the French baritone Vincent le Texier, and is the domestic partner of Sir Simon Rattle, with whom she has two children.

Kožená was born in Brno, the daughter of a mathematician father and a biologist mother. Her original goal was to be a pianist, but she broke her hand at the age of six and switched to singing, starting in the Brno Philharmonic children's choir.She studied at the Brno Conservatoire and at the College of Performing Arts in Bratislava, and graduated in 1995. In 1995, she was a prize winner at the International Mozart Competition. From 1996–97, she was a member of the Vienna Volksoper.

Kožená's first recording was of Bach arias, recorded in the Czech Republic. Upon hearing the recording, Deutsche Grammophon (DG) signed her to a recording contract.Later recordings include Handel’s Roman Motets and Italian Cantatas and Messiah with Marc Minkowski for DG/Archiv, and her first solo recital disc (Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů with Graham Johnson – Gramophone Solo Vocal Award, 2001) for Deutsche Grammophon. Further recordings include recitals of arias of Mozart, Gluck and Mysliveček (with the Prague Philharmonia and Michel Swierczewski), of French arias with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Minkowski, Gluck’s Paride ed Elena under Paul McCreesh, a recital disc with Malcolm Martineau and an acclaimed disc of cantatas by members of the Bach family (“Lamento”) with Musica Antiqua Köln and Reinhard Goebel. She is the 2004 Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year. Among her latest recordings are a disc with opera arias of Handel and one with opera arias by Antonio Vivaldi, both with the Venice Baroque Orchestra conducted by Andrea Marcon and released on DG/Archiv. 

Kožená appears regularly at the Prague Spring and at the Concentus Moraviae Festivals. She has given recitals in London, the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Brussels, Paris, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Munich, Prague, Tokyo, Yokohama and Sapporo, Carnegie Hall, in San Francisco and in London, Brussels, Lisbon, Vienna, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Prague.

Her operatic engagements have included several notable debuts: at the Chatelet, Paris in the title role in Gluck's Orphée with John Eliot Gardiner; at the Vienna Festival as Nerone (“L'incoronazione di Poppea”) with Minkowski; at the Edinburgh Festival (Sesto in La clemenza di Tito); at the Leipzig Opera (Mélisande with Minkowski); at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as Cherubino; at the Netherlands Opera as Sesto (“Giulio Cesare”) and at the Salzburg Festival as Zerlina under Harnoncourt. She sang the centenary performance of Pelléas et Mélisande at the Opera Comique, Paris under Minkowski and most recently Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare under Minkowski.

Recent engagements include the roles of Idamante at the Glyndebourne and Salzburg Festivals, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro for both the Bavarian State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, Dorabella in Mozarts Cosi fan tutte (Salzburg Easter Festival and in Berlin) and her return to the Metropolitan Opera as Varvara (Katja Kabanova) and Dorabella. She sings Zerlina with the Metropolitan Opera in Japan, returns to the Salzburg Festival for Idamante and to the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées for Melisande.

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Composers' compositions

Gustav Mahler
Boulez conducts Mahler

Symphony / Symphonic music