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Now to Oscar: the page, with whose quality many critics suggest that Ballo rises or falls, was sung by Munich-born Stefanie C Braun. It did not take her long to become everyone's darling and the declared audience favorite: a crystal-clear soprano voice that masters even the most difficult passages with seeming ease and, most importantly, absolutely faultlessly, a perky appearance at times, intensely dramatic at others, depending on what was called for, she got the most clapping at the end. Not only that, but after the performance when, charmingly, the singers gather at the hospitality tent to mix with their audience, guess who got the most cheers and congratulations when she walked in?

Stefanie Braun (Oscar) and Enrique Ambrosio (Riccardo) in Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' at Gut Immling. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin
Stefanie Braun (Oscar) and Enrique Ambrosio (Riccardo) in Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' at Gut Immling. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin

Everybody, but everybody, loved her, including the critics who have thus far reviewed the production. Many people asked: 'Why did she not sing Amelia?' So we asked her. 'I thought of trying out for the part of Amelia, originally', Stefanie said, 'But it was Oscar who fascinated me most about this opera. Oscar really wants to make things right for everyone, wants to save, rescue, cheer up, turn things around, eventually must resign to the tragedy that is about to happen -- the part goes from cheerful to dramatic, from perky to tragic, which gives such a rich range on which to display your vocal nuances that I wanted to take it on at all costs. Oscar, to me, is the big challenge of Un Ballo in Maschera.'

Everyone's darling - the German soprano Stefanie C Braun, who sang the part of the page, Oscar. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin
Everyone's darling - the German soprano Stefanie C Braun, who sang the part of the page, Oscar. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin

Since Braun has true star quality in her voice, her stage presence, audience handling, looks and diction, as well as in her highly disciplined approach to her work, one would be very surprised if this young graduate from the Munich University and the Venice Conservatory, who has already sung in London, Tel Aviv and Venice, would not make her way very far one day soon.

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Copyright © 16 August 2007 Tess Crebbin, Munich, Germany

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