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BIOGRAPHY - OVERVIEW

REBECCA'S musical life has spanned many aspects of theatrical expression, foremost as an opera singer, then as singer/actress, author and director in theatre and opera. She has collaborated with director Robert Lepage in the writing and performing of original theatre pieces as well as being artistic consultant and assistant director to his work in opera. Since 2014 she has also been co-directing with her sister Beverly Blankenship.

Rebecca followed a traditional opera career from the early 80s until the late 90s. As Dramatic Soprano she soon became specialized in the Wagner repertoire as well as many of the early 20th century composers (i.e. Shostakovich, Janaček, Berg, Schoenberg, R. Strauss). She performed, amongst others, at the Vienna State Opera and Volks Opera, the opera houses of San Francisco, Fenice/Venice, Toronto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Liege, Amsterdam, Geneva, Basel, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the festivals Vienna, Edinburgh, Bregenz and Great Performers Festival New York such roles as Ariadne, Sieglinde, Elsa, Senta, Lady MacBeth von Mzensk, Marie/ Wozzeck, Die Frau/ Erwartung, Kostelnička/Jenufa and many others.

Rebecca met Robert Lepage when she sang Schoenberg’s ERWARTUNG for the Canadian Opera Company and followed his offer to take the leap into devised theatre. One of the characters she created was the singer Ada Weber who became a form of alter ego in two of the theatre pieces (THE SEVEN STREAMS OF THE RIVER OTA and LIPSYNCH). As singer/actress/author with Robert Lepage’s company Ex Machina she has toured most of the major theatre festivals worldwide until 2013 and has appeared in several of his films. A film version of 3 sections of Lipsynch, TRIPTYCH has been shown at the Montreal and Toronto film festivals and the Berlinale 2014.

At the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Rebecca was artistic consultant to Lepage on Wagner’s RING Cycle 2010 -2012 and assistant director on Thomas Adès’ THE TEMPEST 2012/2013.

2014 she started co-directing with her sister Beverly Blankenship:
May 5. 2014 a memorial performance at the Austrian Parliament of the children's opera BRUNDIBAR by Hans Krása (which had been preformed over 50 times in the concentration camp Theresienstadt) and was broadcast live on Austrian Television. Soon after Rebecca directed a cast of young singers in Mozart's DON GIOVANNI at the Mongolian Opera, Ulan Bator. 2015 she once again assisted Robert Lepage as musical consultant on THE TEMPEST at the Vienna State Opera. Summer 2016 Beverly and Rebecca co-directed Ella Milch-Sheriff's shattering opera BARUCHS SCHWEIGEN in its Austrian premiere for EntArteOpera. Their next joint project was Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER May 2017 for Theater Hagen, Germany. This production has consequently been bought by Opéra de Rennes, France to be premiered May 2019. May/June 2018 Beverly and Rebecca will direct TULIFANT (by the Austrian composer Gottfried von Einem) for the Wiener Sängerknaben (the Vienna Boys' Choir) in their Vienna theater (MuTh) and at Castle Esterházy.

Rebecca has also been directing showcase productions for young singers as well as teaching voice and vocal expression.


Contact: info@studioblankenship3.com

BIOGRAPHY - IN DETAIL

Rebecca Blankenship was born 1954 in New York but as daughter of tenor William Blankenship grew up in Austria. She later studied in New York, voice with Judith Oas-Natalucci and acting at the Herbert Berghof Studio. She now lives in Vienna.

Rebecca began her opera career as a Mezzo-Soprano in Ulm, Germany (1983-84) where she sang, amongst other roles Idamantes IDOMENEO, Nicklaus/Muse THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, Cherubino LE NOZZE DI FIGARO and Prince Orlofsky DIE FLEDERMAUS.

1985 she made the change to Dramatic Soprano and was engaged at the Basel Theatre for two seasons (1986-88). Her diverse roles there included the title role of Shostakovich’s LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK, title role ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Leonora IL TROVATORE, Elettra IDOMENEO (all conducted by Armin Jordan) and Female Chorus THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA.

1988 and onward Rebecca Blankenship performed regularly in Vienna. At first at the Volks-Opera where she sang Martha in d’Albert’s TIEFLAND, Agathe DER FREISCHÜTZ, title role THE MERRY WIDOW and title role LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK (directed by Christine Mielitz and conducted by Donald Runnicles), then at the Vienna State Opera where she appeared as Sieglinde DIE WALKÜRE, Marie WOZZECK (under Claudio Abbado), Foreign Princess in Dvořák's RUSALKA and Grete in Schreker’s DER FERNE KLANG (under Gert Albrecht). She made her American debut as Sieglinde in the San Francisco Opera RING-CYCLE 1990 (under Donald Runnicles) and toured Japan with the Vienna State Opera as Marie WOZZECK and as THE MERRY WIDOW with the Volks-Opera. Other engagements include Ariadne and Martha at the Deutsche Staatsoper East- Berlin, title role FIDELIO at the Enschede Opera, Netherlands and Stuttgart Opera, Elsa LOHENGRIN for Liège Opera, Senta DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER at the Bregenz Festival and Marie WOZZECK for Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

She first met Québecois director Robert Lepage when she sang Die Frau in Schoenberg’s monodrama ERWARTUNG at the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto. This production (together with Bartok’s BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE under the musical direction of Richard Bradshaw) received the Edinburgh Festival Prize for Music & Drama 1994 and was subsequently seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Geneva Opera (conductor Paul Daniel), the Melbourne Arts Centre and in Hong Kong. She began collaborating with Lepage and co-authored and performed the award winning theatre piece THE SEVEN STREAMS OF THE RIVER OTA (in which she first created the role of opera singer Ada Weber), she co-created and sang a piece around Mahler’s KINDERTOTENLIEDER and appeared in Lepage’s movie LE POLYGRAPHE. She also served as co- creator and dramaturge on THE GEOMETRY OF MIRACLES and as Music and German coach on Brecht/Weil’s DIE DREIGRSOCHENOPER (later to become THE BUSKER’S OPERA).

In 2001 Rebecca co-authored and performed the music-theatre-piece VIVACE at the Vienna Schauspielhaus. This event was a joint effort of six authors and four contemporary Austrian composers and was co-written, produced and directed by her sister, the director Beverly Blankenship. During this time she returned to the opera stage performing the role of Die Frau ERWARTUNG again at the Graz Opera and Kostelnička in Janáček’s JENUFA (directed by Christine Mielitz). 2004-2006 Rebecca took a complete break from performing and studied the therapy method Psychodrama in London.

In 2005 Rebecca joined Robert Lepage and 8 other actors in the creation of the 9-hour theatre piece LIPSYNCH, in which she sings the Sorrowful Songs of Gorecki’s 3. Symphony and continues to explore the fictional life of singer Ada Weber. LIPSYNCH opened at London’s Barbican Centre in 2008 and has since been touring festivals worldwide. 2009 Rebecca again sang Die Frau ERWARTUNG at the Aldeburgh Festival, UK. Parallel to this period of performance and creation Rebecca served as artistic consultant and assistant to Lepage on his groundbreaking RING CYCLE at the Metropolitan Opera, New York (2010-12), Stravinsky’s LE ROSSIGNOL for the Canadian Opera and Aix-en-Provence Festival 2010 as well as on Thomas Adès’ THE TEMPEST for Opéra de Québec and the Metropolitan Opera 2012/13 and the Vienna State Opera 2015/16. A film version of 3 sections of Lipsynch /TRIPTYCH was presented at Toronto International Film Festival September 2013, the Montreal Film Festival and will be shown at the Berlinale 2014 as well the film festivals of Santa Barbara, Hong Kong, Taipei and Istanbul.

2014 Rebecca  started co-directing with her sister Beverly Blankenship:
May 5. 2014 a memorial performance at the Austrian Parliament of the children's opera BRUNDIBAR by Hans Krása (which had been preformed over 50 times in the concentration camp Theresienstadt) and was broadcast live on Austrian Television. Soon after Rebecca directed a cast of young singers in Mozart's DON GIOVANNI at the Mongolian Opera, Ulan Bator. 2015 she once again assisted Robert Lepage as musical consultant on THE TEMPEST at the Vienna State Opera. Summer 2016 Beverly and Rebecca co-directed Ella Milch-Sheriff's shattering opera BARUCHS SCHWEIGEN in its Austrian premiere for EntArteOpera. Their next joint project was Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER May 2017 for Theater Hagen, Germany. This production has consequently been bought by Opéra de Rennes, France to be premiered May 2019. May/June 2018 Beverly and Rebecca will direct TULIFANT (by the Austrian composer Gottfried von Einem) for the Wiener Sängerknaben (the Vienna Boys' Choir) in their Vienna theater (MuTh) and at Castle Esterházy.

Rebecca has also been directing showcase productions for young singers as well as teaching voice and vocal expression.

Contact: info@studioblankenship3.com