Danae Bletsa is a greek-born composer, lyrical soprano and music researcher. Being an active contemporary opera creator and an opera singer whose repertoire ranges from early to modern music, Danae is proving herself to be a significantly versatile artist committed to the creation of a bridge between the classical and the contemporary.
Having been admitted with scholarship and 1st prize at the University of Music Science and Art in Thessaloniki, Greece, she obtained her Bachelor of Music (BMus) in Composition from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA) with Wim Henderickx and Richard Ayres. For her Master of Music (MMus) at the same institute, she was the first to combine the study of opera composition (Prof.: Richard Ayres) with opera singing (Prof.: Claron Mc Fadden) in a pioneering, self-designed curriculum. She continued her classical singing education with Ks. Elena Filipova in Vienna. She enriched her musical vision attending masterclasses with the composers Stefano Gervasoni, Misato Mochizuki, Tristan Murail, Steve Reich and Brian Ferneyhough and the singers Dame Emma Kirkby, Margreet Honig, Cheryl Studer and Ks. Edda Moser.
As a composer, Danae is interested in experimenting with new opera formats, rearranging the parameters of speech, music and action in a new imaginative context. She has composed the operas “Semèle” for Yo-Opera Festival (Neuköllner Oper Berlin and Utrechtse Stadsschouwburg) and “One legatura to be plucked” for Amsterdam Composers’ Festival, for a combined ensemble of baroque and modern instruments. Her music theatre piece “Anème” was premiered in Orgelpark Amsterdam for a mixed cast of classical and jazz singers and three church organs. She has also worked for the Alternative Stage of the National Opera of Greece, composing “Vocalise on Mantras” for soprano and electronics (production: “Mantras”) and “A suite for cotophones” for dancers and motion-responsive sound speakers (technology by Coti K., production: “Synthesis”). As a part of her cross-art, experimental opera projects she has composed music for the 1st Biennale of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki (Greece) and the film “Asterion Market” by Evi Minou. Her commissioned works include “Carosello” for the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, “Atalante” and “Neaera” for Atlas Ensemble Amsterdam as well as “Kynorodo” for the Athens Concert Hall and the Hellenic Group of Contemporary Music (conductor: Theodore Antoniou).
With the dual role of composer-soprano, Danae has performed the premiers of her own monodramas “Absinth” in Amsterdam Composers’ Festival and “Dandelion cupcakes” in Senate House London.
Danae’s versatility as an opera singer qualifies her for performing both classical repertoire but also contemporary scores that are composed for her in world premiere. She sang and directed a sold-out world premiere of Wim Henderickx’s contemporary opera “Mantras” for soprano and electronics in Operadagen Festival Rotterdam to great critical acclaim. After the success of “Mantras” in Rotterdam she was further invited to perform the piece at the National Opera of Greece (Festival “At the limits of human voice”). She sang Récitations by G. Aperghis (a selection) at the Onassis Foundation in Athens, as part of a tribute to the composer’s life work. She performed the role of “Pamira” from Rossini’s “L’Assedio di Corinto” in extracts at the Alternative Stage of the National Opera of Greece as part of the cross-art project “Synthesis”. She was selected for the first role of “Celia” in Haydn’s “La fedelta premiata” at the Vienna International Opera Academy (conductor: Karolos Trikolidis). She performed a Portrait Concert at the Rotterdamse Schouwburg as a member of the young ensemble of the Operadagen Rotterdam. She has recorded Dmitri Shostakovich’s Greek Songs for Musicology Research Journal. Danae is also interested in historically informed practice and she is in the process of recording a CD with repertoire by B. Strozzi, L. Luzzaschi, G. Carissimi and J. B. Lully (Haute école de musique de Genève, HEM).
Danae currently works as a Research Assistant in the project “Rhetorica” at the Haute école de musique de Genève (HEM). As part of her research she examines the rhetorical connections between early music and contemporary music performance and composition, and she delivers masterclasses to the singing and composition students of HEM. She has been Visiting Lecturer at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerpen.