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headshots of Rihab Chaieb and Brian Zeger

RIHAB CHAIEB, mezzo-soprano


7:30 PM at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Tunisian-born Rihab Chaieb began 2022 with a scene-stealing local debut as Dorabella in Washington National Opera’s staging of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, followed by May appearances as Nefertiti in the Metropolitan Opera’s acclaimed revival of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, drawing praise from Joshua Barone in The New York Times for her “lush, vibrato-rich sound” and “assurance and ringing might.” A recent alumna of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, she performs Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro for both LA Opera and Canadian Opera Company in the coming season as well as Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. 2023 also marks the release of her performance as Penelope on a new commercial recording of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Ensemble I Gemelli led by Emiliano Gonzalez Toro.

Program to include Robert Schumann’s Maria Stuart-Lieder, Maurice Ravel’s song cycles Chants Populaires and Shéhérazade, selections by Georges Bizet, Louis Aubert, and Osvaldo Golijov, the world premiere of works by Canadian composer Matthew Ricketts and songs from Ms. Chaieb’s Arabic heritage accompanied by guitar. 

Artist Bios

Tunisian-born RIHAB CHAIEB is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program where she appeared in numerous productions, including L’italiana in Algeri (Zulma), Luisa Miller (Laura), Cavalleria Rusticana (Lola) and Hänsel und Gretel (Sandmännchen). Returning since as a guest in Don Giovanni (Zerlina) under Cornelius Meister, she appears there this season as Nefertiti in Phelim McDermott’s unforgettable production of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, conducted by Karen Kamensek.

In the 2021/22 season, Rihab Chaieb debuts at Washington National Opera in Così fan tutte (Dorabella), sings Penelope on a European concert tour and recording of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Ensemble I Gemelli and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, returns to Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier as Maddalena in Marie-Eve Signeyrole’s new staging of Rigoletto, and joins Palm Beach Opera in the title role of Carmen. In concert, Chaieb joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, and Les Violons du Roy for Mozart’s Requiem

Demonstrating strong repertoire versatility in recent seasons, Rihab Chaieb debuted as Charlotte in Werther at Opera Vlaanderen under Giedrė Šlekytė, at Houston Grand Opera in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Cincinnati Opera and as Offenbach’s Fantasio at Opéra de Montpellier. For Dutch National Opera, Chaieb sang Lola in Robert Carsen’s new staging under Lorenzo Viotti, Dorabella at Teatro Santiago de Chile, Kasturbai in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at Opera Vlaanderen, and received unanimous acclaim for her first Carmen in Lydia Steier’s intense new production for Oper Köln.

On the concert stage, Rihab Chaieb has performed with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under Johannes Debus in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and in a programme of Rossini under Kent Nagano; with both Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Otto Tausk and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Prieto in de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat; and at the Toronto Summer Music Festival in her first Das Lied von der Erde. Last season, Rihab Chaieb joined Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s line-up of soloists for an audiovisual recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with Orchestre Métropolitain for broadcast on DG Stage, Deutsche Grammophon’s new online platform.

A former member of both Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, where she earned major acclaim as Sesto (La clemenza di Tito), and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, where she debuted as Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Chaieb also enjoyed several summers at the Glyndebourne Festival as Mércedès (Carmen) under Jakub Hrůša, and Flora (La traviata) under Andrés Orozco-Estrada. 

The recipient of many major grants, Rihab Chaieb has also enjoyed competition success, taking Third Prize at the 2018 Operalia Competition, winning the 2016 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and taking prizes at both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2018 George London Foundation Competition. 

Widely recognized as one of today’s leading collaborative pianists, BRIAN ZEGER has performed with many of the world’s greatest singers including Marilyn Horne, Deborah Voigt, Anna Netrebko, Susan Graham, René Pape, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Frederica von Stade, Piotr Beczala, Bryn Terfel, Joyce DiDonato, Denyce Graves and Adrianne Pieczonka in an extensive concert career has taken him to the premier concert halls throughout the United States and abroad.

His numerous recordings are available on the EMI, Koch, Naxos and New World labels, with his most recent being for DelosAll Who Wander, a recital disc with Jamie Barton; Preludios – Spanish songs with Isabel Leonard; a recording of Strauss and Wagner lieder with Adrianne Pieczonka; Dear Theo: 3 Song Cycles by Ben Moore with Paul Appleby, Susanna Phillips and Brett Polegato; and A Lost World Schubert Songs and Duets with Susanna Phillips and Shenyang.

Recent seasons have taken him to Carnegie Hall, the Vilar Performing Arts Center,  the Bard Festival, the Frankly Music series in Milwaukee and the Schubertiade Festival with artists such as Anna Netrebko and Adrienne Pieczonka and have also included two concert series where he served as both pianist and curator for multiple seasons:  Juilliard Songfest at Alice Tully Hall and National Sawdust, and curated concerts themed to current exhibitions at Metropolitan Museum of Art, including Delacroix and Music with mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey.

A regular guest at many summer festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, Caramoor, Aldeburgh, and Santa Fe,  he has also enjoyed chamber music collaborations with the Borromeo and Brentano Quartets, An die Musik, the New York Philharmonic Chamber Ensembles and with Bernard Greenhouse, Glenn Dicterow, Eugene Drucker and Paula Robison. He has made concerto appearances with the Boston Pops, multiple concert appearances at the White House and United States Supreme Court and appeared with Deborah Voigt and Frederica von Stade on the telecast of the Metropolitan Opera’s Gala saluting Joseph Volpe.

In addition to his distinguished concert career, he also serves as Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Department at The Juilliard School. Previously he served for eight years as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Development Program and for many seasons as the director of the vocal program at the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival.  He has taught on the faculties of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, the Chautauqua Institute, the Mannes College of Music and the Peabody Conservatory and has given master classes for numerous institutions, including The Guildhall School of Music in London, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Tanglewood Music Center, the Marilyn Horne Foundation and Stanford University.

Some of his critical essays and other writings have appeared in Opera News, The Yale Review and Chamber Music magazine.  He has made frequent appearances on the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts both on the opera quiz and as intermission host and performer and has the distinction of creating, narrating and performing in five intermission features devoted to art song, a first in the long history of the Met broadcasts.  He has made numerous musical appearances on live-streamed broadcasts from WQXR’s The Greene Space and has adjudicated many prominent competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Concert Artists Guild auditions, the Walter W. Naumberg Vocal Competition and Richard Tucker Music Foundation Auditions.

Born in upstate New York, Mr. Zeger is now a resident of Manhattan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Harvard College, a master’s degree from The Juilliard School and a doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.  His important teachers have included Morris Borenstein, Sascha Gorodnitzki and Nina Svetlanova.

“The most compelling work came from Rihab Chaieb, who warmed up the stage at every turn. In addition to a supple technique, the mezzo offered an abundance of tonal warmth throughout the registers and wonderfully colorful phrasing. She proved a winning actress, too, relishing the character’s mischievous streak.”

Tim Smith, Opera News

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