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Edwin Crossley-Mercer Bass-Baritone Talented French Bass-Baritone, Edwin Crossley-Mercer attended conservatory in Clermont-Ferrand followed by studies at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and with Hanns Eisler at the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin. In 2007 he was an HSBC foundation award winner at the 2007 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and first prize winner of the Lili and Nadia Boulanger International Voice Competition in Paris. In 2006, he made his debut at the Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden (Der Freischutz and Doktor Faust. This was followed in rapid succession with debuts at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (Cosi fan Tutte), the Netherlands Opera (La Juive) , the Opera-Comique in Paris (Beatrice et Benedict) and the Komische Oper in Berlin (La Boheme). In the 2010-11 season he made his debut at the Paris Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos) where he has since appeared regularly. In the 2012-13 season, he made his US debut in the title-role of Nozze Di Figaro with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Dudamel. Subsequently, he made his debut at the Glyndebourne Festival singing Leporello in Don Giovanni. This season, he returns to the Paris Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Zauberflote) and will sing in a new production of Castor

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Edwin Crossley-Mercer Bass-Baritone

Talented French Bass-Baritone, Edwin Crossley-Mercer attended conservatory in Clermont-Ferrand followed by studies at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and with Hanns Eisler at the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin.

In 2007 he was an HSBC foundation award winner at the 2007 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and first prize winner of the Lili and Nadia Boulanger International Voice Competition in Paris.

In 2006, he made his debut at the Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden (Der Freischutz and Doktor Faust. This was followed in rapid succession with debuts at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (Cosi fan Tutte), the Netherlands Opera (La Juive) , the Opera-Comique in Paris (Beatrice et Benedict) and the Komische Oper in Berlin (La Boheme).

In the 2010-11 season he made his debut at the Paris Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos) where he has since appeared regularly. In the 2012-13 season, he made his US debut in the title-role of Nozze Di Figaro with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Dudamel. Subsequently, he made his debut at the Glyndebourne Festival singing Leporello in Don Giovanni.

This season, he returns to the Paris Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Zauberflote) and will sing in a new production of Castor et Pollux at the Theatre des Champs-Élysées.

2014 – 2015 Season

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Reviews

"En distinction de chant, en précision d’expression, en simple beauté de voix, le jeune Edwin Crossley-Mercer nous fait renouer avec la grande école des barytons français, un souvenir du premier Gérard Souzay passe dans ce timbre, c’est tout dire.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer makes us appreciate the great French baritone tradition again with his original singing, precise expression and simple vocal beauty. His timbre reminds us of a young Gérard Souzay; one need say no more.]"

Jean-Charles Hoffelé, Concert Classique

"Son Don Ramiro a de l'allure, tout comme le Dandini remarquable d'Edwin Crossley-Mercer, qui fait une démonstration de grande classe: vocalises parfaites, port stylé...
[His Don Ramiro has the perfect look, just like Edwin Crossley Mercer's remarkable Dandini, whose performance was a demonstration of pure class with perfect vocals, and excellent style...]"

Jean-Luc Macia, Opéra Magazine

"Carton plein – et ce n’est pas une surprise – pour le Dandini épatant du baryton Edwin Crossley-Mercer, dont nous avons déjà loué haut et fort les immenses qualités. Le timbre sonne toujours aussi beau, la tessiture facile et étendue, la mezza voce enchanteresse, atouts auxquels s’ajoutent une vocalisation d’une rigueur et d’une aisance rarissimes dans ce rôle. En outre, le comédien n’est pas en reste, débordant de charisme, virevoltant en scène, attirant tous les regards, dans une performance mémorable.
[The winning hand – and this comes as no surprise – went to the dazzling Dandini sung by baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer of whose immense talent we have often unreservedly spoken so highly. The timbre rings out as finely as ever; his comfortable wide tessitura and delightful mezza voce are assets to be added to his vocalization delivered with a rigor and ease most rarely encountered in this role. As a comedian he does not lag behind either, overflowing with charisma as he spins about the stage, with all eyes focused upon him in an unforgettable performance. ]"

Nicolas Grienenberger, Classique News

"We are likely to hear a great deal more of this superb artist in coming years [...] Crossley-Mercer, whose baritone is an instrument of lustrous individuality and suppleness. He is capable of scaling the voice down to a focused whisper or projecting with stentorian force. Words are paramount to Crossley-Mercer, as are inflections that heighten the drama in each song. The 30-year-old baritone, singing everything from memory, opened with works by Beethoven and Brahms. There were moments when his approach in this repertoire brought to mind the probing intellectuality and subtlety of the late German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, with whom Crossey-Mercer studied in master classes. But these performances were no acts of imitation. Crossley-Mercer brought distinctive touches to the six odes to love and nature in Beethoven's "An die ferne Geliebte,"altering vocal colors and employing physical gestures to enhance the moods. In six songs by Brahms, Crossley-Mercer applied warmth to placid lines, dreamy nuances where the texts portray a blissful world and ecstatic potency to passages of amorous flight [...] Crossley-Mercer. Remember the name."

Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer

"La voix pleine aux riches harmoniques, la présence scénique et la noblesse de ton du chanteur participent de cette impression de bonheur parfait relayé avec tact, poésie et sens de la phrase, par un pianiste amoureux du chant. Les pages les plus sombres (Doppelgänger, Fahrt zum Hades, Der Zwerg, Der Wanderer), comme la grâce des mélodies (Abschied, An Silvia) sont portées par une interprétation où l’élégance et l’introspection le disputent à l’évidence et au naturel. Captivé par la qualité de ce récital, le public reste silencieux et concentré avant de libérer sa joie.
[The singer’s full voice with rich harmonics, stage presence and nobility of tone contribute greatly to our impression of utter happiness relayed by a pianist in love with singing with tact, poetry and great phrasing ability. The darkest pieces (Doppelgänger, Fahrt zum Hades, Der Zwerg, Der Wanderer), as well as the graceful melodies (Abschied, An Silvia) are interpreted not only elegantly and introspectively but also easily and naturally. The public, which is captivated by the recital’s quality, stays silent and concentrated before expressing its joy.]"

Michel Le Naour, Concert Classique

"La France est prodigue en belles voix de baryton. Nous en avons donné à tous les répertoires d’opéra, italien, allemand, et au nôtre bien sûr, mais le Lied nous a toujours quelque peu échappé, à quelques très minimes exceptions près. Edwin Crossley-Mercer est l’une d’elles. Ce chanteur paraît tellement chez lui dans le répertoire germanique qu’on en oublierait presque qu’il est bien de chez nous, même si l’Allemagne lui est une seconde patrie musicale, puisque c’est là qu’il a débuté et s’est imprégné de cet art si particulier dont son récital Schubert était perfusé de bout en bout.
[France has an abundance of beautiful baritone voices. They have been excellent in all operatic repertoires – Italian, German and French, of course – but the Lied has always been somewhat difficult for them, except for a very select few. Edwin Crossley-Mercer is one of them. This singer seems so at ease in the Germanic repertoire that we almost forget that he actually comes from here, even though Germany is his second musical homeland, since that is where he began his career and absorbed this very particular art, which is present in his Schubert recital from beginning to end.]"

Frédéric Norac, Musicologie

"Edwin Crossley-Mercer [...] dont l’instrument épanouit sa pâte veloutée, mûre pour les demi-dieux, avec un naturel confondant.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s vocal instrument, which could have been a demi-god’s, extends its velvet timbre with bewildering ease.]"

Mehdi Mahdavi, Altamusica

"Chez les jeunes officiers, notre préférence ira à l’impeccable Guglielmo du séduisant Edwin Crossley-Mercer, chanteur raffiné, au legato admirablement maîtrisé, qui rend sympathique un personnage auquel il confère aussi une bonne dose de lyrisme.
[Our favourite young officer is the charming Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s impeccable Guglielmo. He is a refined singer with admirably mastered legato and makes his character sympathetic while giving it a good dose of lyricism.]"

Richard Letawe, Classique Info

"D’emblée, le chanteur semble avoir compris et fait sien ce cycle redoutable, sombre et d’une intériorité déchirante. Chaque mot est savouré, coloré, chaque nuance pensée et ciselée, et rien ne semble avoir été laissé au hasard, révélant une maturité artistique exceptionnelle. Chaque sentiment apparaît vécu, ressenti profondément, dans la chair même, et pourtant jamais l’interprète ne se laisse déborder par l’émotion, gardant toujours un parfait contrôle de son instrument, la marque des très grands. Un tel degré de perfection artistique, à cet âge, voilà qui laisse pantois. Il est rare de n’avoir rien à redire au sujet d’une technique vocale ou d’une caractérisation dramatique, ici, on ne peut que s’incliner, et savourer ces forte timbrés, moirés, ces piani délicats, cette élégance de tous les instants [...] Rompant avec la tradition, Edwin Crossley-Mercer s’est aventuré dans des bis, dans un style contrastant fortement avec la noirceur du cycle schubertien, des mélodies françaises. Passé un rapide temps d’adaptation à l’esthétique française si particulière, intime et parfumée, la magie opère, laissant l’auditoire sous le charme. Romance de Debussy, Clair de lune de Fauré, et enfin Elégie de Massenet, trois miniatures servies avec un bonheur et une délectation visibles par le jeune chanteur, magnifiquement exécutées, avec une maîtrise dans la voix mixte, les variations de couleurs et l’élégance racée de la diction, qui, une nouvelle fois, laisse sans voix [...] Un récital somptueux, qui a vu l’éclosion parisienne d’un immense artiste, à suivre de très près, et promis sans aucun doute à de grandes destinées.
[From the very outset, the singer exhibited his comprehension of this Lieder cycle and fully identified himself with it as it stands out fearfully challenging, dark and replete with personal agony. He drank the dregs of every single word, gave it the required colour, ensuring that every thought held its subtlety, so that it was smithed and chiselled accordingly; the exceptional maturity of his artistic development showed that he did not overlook any facet or leave anything to chance. Every emotion came across as having been personally perceived and experienced within the very depths of his own body, and yet the singer never allowed his emotion to outstrip him, by maintaining constantly balanced vocal control, the hallmark of only the most distinguished of artists. Such a degree of artistic perfection in one so early in his career left the spectator speechless. It is a rare event indeed to be able to say unhesitatingly that a singer’s vocal technique or dramatic characterization is beyond reproach, but in this instance one can only bow and accept, and relish the musical quality of the fortes in their silken smoothness, the delicate piani and the ever-present elegance. [...] In his encores, Edwin Crossley-Mercer broke with tradition by daringly choosing a style which provided a sharp contrast with the darkness of the Schubertian Winterreise and ventured into French melodies. Adapting quickly to the ever so singular, intimate and fragrant French aesthetic, the audience fell spellbound to the magic of the moment. Romance by Debussy, Clair de lune by Fauré, and lastly Elégie by Massenet were the three miniature portraits which the young singer chose to offer his public with such obvious enjoyment and pleasure; they were magnificently delivered, with a fully comprehensive mastery in the vocal range containing colour variations and a fine distinction and natural elegance of diction, which yet again, left the audience speechless. [...] This sumptuous recital marked the discovery by the Parisian public of an astounding artist of immense promise and indubitably headed for an exceptional career.]"

Nicolas Grienenberger, Classique news

"D’une clarté de diction exemplaire, totalement engagé dans les visions schubertiennes de larmes glacées, d’illusions, de tempêtes intérieures, parfaitement accordé aux pas d’un pianiste excellent et attentif aux inflexions du texte, Edwin Crossley-Mercer n’hésite pas à dramatiser le propos parfois aux limites de la dimension théâtrale. Si le geste parfois accompagne le chant, il ne nuit jamais à la qualité de la ligne vocale d’une grande unité, bien timbrée, aux graves somptueux et à la projection des aigus maîtrisés. La riche palette de couleurs est assortie aux états d’âme ondoyants et divers et aux sentiments variés qui envahissent le narrateur. Les bis, que l’on n’attendait pas après une telle marche vers le néant, sont consacrés à la musique française : Romance de Debussy, Clair de lune de Fauré, Elégie de Massenet. Ils confirment le grand art de cet artiste qui, âgé de vingt-huit ans, est déjà en possession d’une expérience de la scène hors pair.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s diction was a paragon of clarity, whilst he displayed total identification with, and commitment to the Schubertian visions of glaciated tears, illusions and inner tumults, which provided a perfect match to the accompaniment of an excellent pianist who paid the keenest attention to the inflectional contours of the text. The singer had no hesitation in dramatizing the words, sometimes to the limits of the theatrical dimension. Nonetheless, the gestures accompanying the singing never once encroached upon the quality of the vocal line, which constantly maintained its unity and fineness of timbre with sumptuous bass notes and projected top notes held in perfect control. The rich palette of colours matched the wavering moods and the wide spectrum of feelings flooding the narrator’s thoughts. After a journey such as this towards emptiness, the encores were unexpectedly devoted to French music: Romance by Debussy, Clair de lune by Fauré and Elégie by Massenet. The encores were a confirmation of the artistic greatness of this performer, who, at the age of twenty-eight, is in full possession of an unparalleled experience of stage-sense.]"

Michel Le Naour, Concert Classique

"Anciens de l’Académie du Festival, Judith van Wanroij et Edwin Crossley-Mercer ont l’exact profil physique et vocal de Despina et Guglielmo. Lui, timbre superbe, verbe fier, ligne gaillarde, elle, parfaite styliste et idéalement piquante.
[Judith van Wanroij and Edwin Crossley-Mercer, who are Académie du Festival alumni, have perfect physical and vocal Despina and Guglielmo profiles. He has a superb timbre, confident way of speaking and manly figure and she has a perfect singing style and is ideally charming.]"

Mehdi Mahdavi, Altamusica

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Discography

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