"a beautiful and physically fearless young singer..."
-New York Times
"...one of the most searingly painful and revealing operatic performances of recent times..."
-New York Times
"...luminous, expressive voice..."
-New York Times
-New York Times
-New York Times
-New York Times
-New York Times
ARIADNE GREIF, praised for her "luminous, expressive voice" (NYTimes), her "elastic and round high notes" (classiqueinfo), and her "mesmerizing stage presence" (East Anglian Daily Times), began her opera career as a ‘boy’ soprano in the Los Angeles area and at the LA Opera, eventually making an adult debut singing Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables with the American Symphony Orchestra. She starred in roles ranging from Therese/Tirésias in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, singing a “thoroughly commanding and effortless” run at the Aldeburgh Festival, to Sappho in Atthis by Georg Friedrich Haas, for which the New York Times noted her “searing top notes,” and “dusky depths,” calling it “a solo high-wire act for Ms. Greif,” “a vehicle for Ms. Greif’s raw, no-holds-barred performance,” “one of the most searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times.”
This season she sings three performances of Carmina Burana, debuted as Musetta in La Boheme with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, appeared with The Knights for the first time, and returned to the Orlando Philharmonic as Adina in The Elixir of Love, where she was praised as a "sassy" Adina, with "tonally pleasing high notes and a delightful sparkling quality to both her singing and acting." In the fall, she sang the main role of Rhinemaiden Melania in eleven performances of Matti Kovler's opera The Drumf and the Rhinegold, directed by Doug Fitch, returned to Metropolis Ensemble to perform solo Cage on roller-skates at their 10th Anniversary Musicircus. This spring she makes an appearance in Doug Fitch's Art Gallery Variety Show at National Sawdust, sings recitals of Crumb and Britten and 2nd Viennese School masterpieces, and will tour for a fourth time to the Middle East with SHUFFLE Concert.
Concert performances in 2015/16 included Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Mozart Requiem, and Mozart Vespers K.321, concerts of chamber music in venues from Carnegie’s Weill Hall to Le Poisson Rouge, across the US, Canada, and in the Middle East, as well as several contemporary music projects. She created and executed a twenty-composer commissioning project of her own, called DREAMS & NIGHTMARES, subject of an upcoming documentary, Only a Dream, by filmmaker Caroline Mariko Stucky. In 2016 she performed Milton Babbitt’s Solo Requiem with Joel Sachs and Robert Fleitz at the Juilliard Focus! Festival, went on a recital tour with the AW Duo in the American South, and made an American Midwest tour with the ensemble SHUFFLE Concert, with whom she has performed over 200 concerts. She made a repeat performance of Ricardo Romaneiro's Coarse Air with the Metropolis Ensemble, sang a concert with Gabriel Kahane of music by Kahane and David Lang at the Meidän Festival at the Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki. In April she sang the role of Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with the Orlando Philharmonic.
A champion of new music since her teens, she has premiered over fifty large-scale pieces and a half-dozen new operas, which most recently included Yaga the Witch in Matti Kovler’s Ami & Tami, where she played a villain for the first time, and a nameless main role in Gabrielle Herbst’s disturbing masterpiece BODILESS. Though the opera is hardly ‘new’ at a hundred years old, Ariadne sang the main female role, Lady Madeline, in the US premiere of Debussy’s unfinished opera La Chute de la Maison Usher in its most complete form, with the Opera Français de New York.
Other roles have included the title role in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges, Ivona in Jeff Myers' The Hunger Art, the title role in Rusalka, Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone, Sandmann in a concert version of Hänsel und Gretel, the title role in the workshop of Aleksandra Vrebalov's Mileva.
Ariadne sang a "riveting" recital on the 2013 Resonant Bodies Festival, where she sang George Crumb's Apparition for the first time, in a performance deemed "dramatic and seductive" by the New York Times, and returned to Resonant Bodies in 2014 to premiere her pet commissioning project, DREAMS & NIGHTMARES for a sold-out room. On the 2014 FERUS Festival, she premiered Albert Behar's evening-length song-cycle Calligrammes, where she returned 2015 with DREAMS & NIGHTMARES. In the spring of 2016, Calligrammes strikes again, with performances at Princeton University and Berkeley Art Museum in California.
Projects in recent seasons have included the role of Jesus in A Gnostic Passion by Brad and Doug Balliett with Cantori New York, after having premiered Dafne, a cantata by Doug Balliett. She was invited back by Contemporaneous to premiere her long-time collaborator Ryan Chase's Carroll Madrigals, and sang in the premiere of West 4th New Music Collective's Moby Dick Oratorio with Contemporaneous at a MATA Interval event at Issue Project Room. She gave a recital at Copland House with Gregg Kallor and the Bruno Walter Auditorium with Matthew Odell, joined Cantata Profana for the first time to sing Purcell, Vaughan Williams, and Birtwistle, and sang in the workshop of David Avshalomov's The Pearl in a concert at UnSung 2014 in California.
In 2012 she sang a week of ten concerts for children at Zankel Hall under the auspices of the Weill Music Institute, a series of semi-staged performances of La Testa di Santa Caterina, a mini-mono-opera by Matti Kovler, culminating in her Jordan Hall debut, and semi-staged performances of the first segment of Gabrielle Herbst's experimental opera BODILESS with Experiments in Opera and Hotel Elefant. She premiered The Jabberwocky, by Ryan Chase, in her first performance with Contemporaneous, and gave her debut performances with Manhattan-based Pierrot ensemble Lunatics at Large, the Millennials, and 20-21. She tackled Schubert's Winterreise and Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments for the first time and gave a shared recital of Barber's complete vocal works at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center; a shared recital of unaccompanied music with the avant garde's veteran champion, cellist Madeline Shapiro; a recital of Dadaist 20th century music; and a world premiere as Galileo in a piece by her dear friend Erol Gurol for eight cellos, soprano, and choir to the heretical text of Galileo's Starry Messenger.
In the summer of 2011 Dawn Upshaw invited her to perform at the 2011 Ojai Music Festival in California, where, Mark Swed wrote, “Greif, who sang an avant-garde piece by Georges Aperghis winningly, looks to be a boon to new music” (LA Times). In the same summer, Ariadne was the first resident young singer in more than a decade at Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont and sang as a Britten-Pears Young Artist in Aldeburgh, UK. Ariadne was invited to return to the 2012 Aldeburgh Festival as a Britten-Pears Young Artist and the 2012 Yellow Barn Music Festival, appeared in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella at the 2012 Greenwich Music Festival, and sang a concert at the Cape May Music Festival with the New York Chamber Ensemble, Alan Kay, and William Schimmel.
Ariadne founded Uncommon Temperament, a Manhattan-based baroque ensemble, with whom, among other things, she toured three times, created a traveling production of Bach's Coffee Cantata, thrown a birthday party for Telemann, and made her Poisson Rouge debut, hailed as "…accomplished and winning…" by the NY Times. She also performs and tours regularly with SHUFFLE Concert, with whom she has made more than six tours in North America and the Middle East, and has released a debut album.
With Uncommon Temperament, SHUFFLE Concert, and the concert accordionist Merima Kljuco, she has done teaching/performing chamber music residencies at the Gettysburg College Conservatory, Odessa College, Cal State Chico, Mirman School, Philips Exeter Academy, and the Detroit Institute of Art.
As a student, she won the Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition singing Witold Lutoslawski's Chantefleurs et Chantefables, and premiered The Door, by Ryan Chase, with the Mannes Orchestra.
A California native, in her early career as a "boy soprano," she toured internationally with the Los Angeles Childrens Chorus, performed as "Sem" in Britten's Noye's Fludde, and sang in the premiere of Tobias Picker's Fantastic Mr. Fox at the Los Angeles Opera under the baton of Peter Ash.
"... [Atthis] became a vehicle for Ms. Greif’s raw, no-holds-barred performance…”
“…a beautiful and physically fearless young singer ..."
“…Fragile but focused, with searing top notes and dusky depths…”
"ultimately, this was a solo high-wire act for Ms. Greif…”
“…one of the most searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times.”
--Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times (in two articles). Atthis with Opera Cabal.
"And the singing deserved the audience’s full attention. Ariadne Greif, as haughty Adina, has tonally pleasing high notes and a delightful sparkling quality to both her singing and acting.”
--Matthew J. Palm, The Orlando Sentinel. Elixir of Love with The Orlando Philharmonic.
"Opposite these men was Ariadne Greif as the sassy Adina. Greif's voice soars and trills though arias. She tells the story through all of her body language. In fact all of the lead performers fit their roles well."
--Kimberly Moy, Broadway World. Elixir of Love with The Orlando Philharmonic.
"...Two very talented American-born singers took the bull by the horns - soprano Ariadne Greif and baritone Matthew [Morris]. They excelled (and looked very comfortable) in their respective roles.
Greif radiated a rich and warm soprano voice, strong and accurate, while her stage presence was mesmerising to say the least. She put in a thoroughly commanding and effortless performance that thrilled a packed house while [Morris] equally matched her vocal skills and stage prowess in every conceivable way. They made a good double act..."
"The scene in which Thérèse takes on the masculine role of Tirésias was marvellously entertaining and highlighted Greif as a born actress too."
--Tony Cooper, East Anglian Daily Times. Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Aldeburgh Music.
"Ariadne Greif made a splendidly projected and vocally imposing Therese."
--Peter Dickinson, Musical Opinion. Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Aldeburgh Music.
"Greif has a voice of crystalline clarity and incision and a sparkling stage personality."
--Gareth Jones, Coastal Scene. Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Aldeburgh Music.
"In equal measures intelligent, playful, ambitious and moving, the [festival] program, performed by three gifted sopranos, illuminated the shape-shifting power of the human voice.
The most dramatic and seductive demonstration of this was the performance by Ariadne Greif, who possesses a luminous, expressive voice and an uncanny ability to imitate bird song. In George Crumb’s deeply affecting “Apparition,” bird calls and other wordless vocalizations link a song cycle on the subject of living and dying. With Jason Wirth spinning a gossamer web of unusual sounds on the piano, Ms. Greif was able to sing with a quiet intensity that approached prayerful ecstasy.
Before performing her own “Three Beloved, Old Songs, in a New Way” for soprano, toys and electronics, Ms. Greif enlisted the audience in a re-enactment of selected instructions from Yoko Ono’s “Grapefruit” (1964), including a reminder to breathe, instructions for folding a paper crane and a game of passing a whispered message from ear to ear. While listeners turned sheets of paper into odd approximations of winged creatures, she created hauntingly beautiful pieces with the help of a loop pedal, layering sighs, tongue clicks and whistled bird calls underneath melodies by Machaut, Monteverdi and Jean Baptiste de Bousset.
Her set ended with the charming “Two Selections From ‘Calligrammes,’ ” chansonlike settings of Apollinaire texts by Albert Behar, who accompanied Ms. Greif on accordion."
--Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times. Recital at Resonant Bodies Festival.
--Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times. "International Street Cannibals, Feasting on Schoenberg."
"Ariadne Greif began her set with the darkly dazzling Apparition: Eight Elegiac Songs and Vocalises by George Crumb. Perfectly at home in its brooding world, Greif was riveting. Each line seemed to come from the bottom of her; she seemed to taste the ash of each bitter word. She felt its silences too, never letting a lull sap the crackling tension of her presence, while Jason Wirth teased a black aura from the amplified piano. She followed Crumb with a trio of “Beloved, Old Songs,” by Machaut, Monteverdi, and Bousset. These were presented in highly personal loop-pedal reinventions, in which wails become ground basses, gasps become grooves, and wineglasses and birds serenade the serenader. It’s a new direction for her that I hope she continues to explore."
--Elliott Cole, Sequenza 21/. Recital at Resonant Bodies Festival.
--Susan Scheid, Prufrock's Dilemma. Recital at Resonant Bodies Festival.
"Enfin, Ariadne Greif, qui faisait son début à Carnegie Hall en mai, finissait d'ajouter une touche fantastique à un tableau déjà plus que convaincant. Spectre noir aux yeux relevés de fuchsia, elle flottait sur scène, tantôt sœur, séductrice ou goule alors que ses aigus élastiques et ronds remplissaient le Florence Gould Hall."
"Last, Ariadne Greif, who made her debut at Carnegie Hall in May, added a fantastical touch to an already more than convincing tableau. Black specter with eyes outlined in fuchsia, she floated on stage, now sister, now seductress, now ghoul, while her elastic and round high notes filled Florence Gould Hall."
--Thomas Deneuville, Classique Info. La chute de la Maison Usher with the Opéra Français de New York.
"...young and attractive..."
--Anthony Tommasini, New York Times. La chute de la Maison Usher with the Opéra Français de New York.
"Greif, who sang an avant-garde piece by Georges Aperghis winningly, looks to be a boon for new music."
--Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times. Aperghis Récitations pour voix seule at the 2011 Ojai Music Festival.
"Soprano Ariadne Greif, who served as the voice of Saint Catherine, displayed an impressive level of engagement, moving effectively between sung and spoken portions of the text while remaining firmly engaged in the drama itself."
--Joel Schwindt, The Boston Musical Intelligencer. Matti Kovler's mini-mono-opera La Testa di Santa Caterina in Jordan Hall.
"...Ariadne Greif estampó su impronta personal en el multifacético grupo del poeta elegido por Britten. En vez de orquesta, la versión pianística exhibió complejidades que de otro modo quedan ocultas en la textura orquestal, una partitura ardua y laberíntica espléndidamente vertida por Marina Radiushina que rivalizó en calidad con la soprano. Aquella frase que se repite y que pinta el ciclo como ninguna – “Sólo yo tengo la llave de este desfile salvaje” – sirvieron a Greif como puntales de su personalísima interpretación de un ciclo a menudo cantado por voces masculinas y que adquiere inusitados matices a cargo de sopranos.
"Ariadne Greif stamped her own personal imprint on the multifaceted group of poems from the poet [Rimbaud] selected by Britten [Les Illuminations]. In the place of an orchestra, the piano version of the score exhibited complexities that in another mode would behidden in the orchestral texture, a difficult and labyrinthine score splendidly rendered by Marina Radiushina, who rivaled the soprano in quality. One phrase that repeats itself and that paints the cycle better than any other--"Only I hold the key to this savage parade"--served Greif like a prop for her extremely personal interpretation of a cycle frequently sung by male voices and that acquires unusual nuances in the charge of sopranos.
--Sebastian Spreng, Miami Clasica. "'Amor y Joventud,' Talento Joven para Mainly Mozart". Britten's Les Illuminations and Mozart duets in recital with John Moore and Marina Radiushina.
"Soprano Ariadne Greif followed this with the evening’s most compelling vocal performance in “From Sleepless Nights;” despite being an oddly-placed emotional beat, the piece for soprano and cello was a sophisticated showcase of intervallic vocal control. Grief’s mid-range gravity convinced the audience that “this is what I have decided to do with my life,” and Caleigh Drane on cello wove in and out of solo and support, mixing Baroque ornaments with modern dexterity as she played legato and pizzicato simultaneously."
--Lana Norris, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. From Sleepless Nights on a Daniel Felsenfeld retrospective with the Nouveau Classical Project.
"Soprano Ariadne Greif makes a sultry appearance in a superb arrangement by Jonathan Keren of the famous bossa nova song, “Desafinado” (which means slightly out of tune, but no one here is ever, thankfully, out of tune!)"
--Arts Fuse. Susan Miron. CD Review for SHUFFLE Concert's new album.
"The chorus/Jesus made its grand entrance with a startling call to John, who just as powerfully responded through soprano Ariadne Greif…Ariadne Greif, who first of all needs to be commended for bravely stepping in with a just a few days' notice, did not let anything like a very brief preparation time stop her from giving a fiercely committed performance, her supple and assertive voice ferociously rising above the chorus or harmoniously blending in. I thought she particularly distinguished herself in the mesmerizing aria "I Didn't Suffer", which had the immediately infectious power of a brilliant pop song while still projecting the haunting nature of unexplained divinity. "
--Classical Music Rocks. A Gnostic Passion by Brad and Doug Balliett with Cantori New York.
"Ariadne Greif’s lush, powerful voice gorgeously illuminated the unabashedly poetic evocations of some of nature's many wonders while Jason Wirth readily provided understated but pitch-perfect accompaniment...The performance, which was essentially a profound meditation on life and death, was compelling for its unusual sounds, such as piano chord plucking and bird-like singing, and no less unusual arrangements, like silence being used in a most effective way. The effortless chemistry between Ariadne Greif's exquisitely expressive singing and Jason Wirth's endlessly adaptable playing vastly contributed to making the complex work organically flow and slowly turn into a fascinating experience."
--Classical Music Rocks. Recital with Jason Wirth: Berg Sieben Frühe Lieder, Crumb Apparition, Sorabji Movement, Du Yun's "I must survive."
"Soprano Greif, praised by the New York Times for her “luminous, expressive voice,” drew on a wide range of emotions to brilliantly capture the bothersome mother and the not-too menacing witch."
--Penny Schwartz, The Times of Israel. Matti Kovler's Ami & Tami.
"If this concert had one other star is was soprano Ariadne Greif. The vocal works here were more suitable constellations around Mr. Schoenberg. But the selections were, with few exceptions echt-Romantic, music which was pulling at the yokes of the diatonic scale, sometimes breaking through, but always retaining its passion."
"Ms. Greif was not afraid to pull out the Romantic steps from Mr. Korngold, a Schoenberg student whose own genius was in opera and film. Nor did she hold back in the first version of Alban Berg’s Close Both My Eyes."
"Even the songs of Webern became dramatically intense, as sung by Mr. Greif, with pianist Conor Hanick. One thought of dodecaphonic tone-rows as bagatelles, little jewels which were held up somehow on their delicate strings."
Whatever the title “Air Schoenberg” might have meant, she helped it soar on wings of song, while the others of International Street Cannibals brought the mesmerized audience the extremes of fire, ice and frequently even warmth."
--Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet. Schoenberg String Quartet II and various Second Viennese School songs with the International Street Cannibals.
"And then all hell – or at least tonality – broke lose during the last two movements, during which Greif brought her blazingly expressive singing to the two heart-wrenching poems anchoring them. Bold and insightful, the performance strongly emphasized the intrinsic beauty and the emotional resonance of the game-changing quartet."
"The last work on the program was Franz Schubert's animated song "Erlkönig". Based on a famous poem by Goethe, which was itself inspired by a Scandinavian folktale, this four-minute ballad shows an inordinate sense of drama and impressive compositional sophistication from the 18-year-old youngster that Schubert was at the time. The sharply defined four characters gave Greif a priceless opportunity to display her remarkable gift for spellbinding narrative and on-the-spot shifts in rhythmical nuances."
--Classical Music Rocks. Schoenberg String Quartet II and various Second Viennese School songs with the International Street Cannibals.
"...voraciously versatile and monstrously talented..."
"Ryan, as is evident in the vocal writing in this most recent of their collaborations, has become familiar with the elasticity and ample technical capabilities of Ariadne’s voice. He captures the bizarre nature of the text of the Jabberwocky with deft precision, sharp wit, and staggering intricacy largely through the breadth of unusual vocal effects for which he calls throughout the score. These effects include stuttering consonants, long slides, rapid-fire glottal stops, speaking, gurgling, lip and tongue trills, and even a choking sound. Needless to say, these are far beyond typical vocal techniques that are required in standard repertoire, but Ariadne has risen to the challenge that the composer laid out specifically for her. She navigates this complex score not only with ease, but also an unbridled enthusiasm and a taste for the dramatic."
--David Bloom, Contemporaneous Blog. Ryan Chase's Jabberwocky.
"The program also included a Monteverdi setting of Psalm 150, which Ariadne Greif sang energetically if perhaps with slightly more power than the circumstances (a small ensemble and a small hall) required."
--Allan Kozinn, New York Times. Monteverdi's Psalm 150 sung at age 16. Bwahahaha!