About

mars
© Michael Pöhn

A discourse with Juliette Mars is by no means a run-of-the-mill interview. It is no simple ask-reply game, lazily checking the boxes, but so much more: from the beginning, it is about finding purpose in life both professional and personal. And yet it all started so simple. Mars discovered her passion through film, more precisely George Cukor´s rendition of The Lady of the Camellias, which fascinated her as a child. Shortly thereafter, her sister gifted her with a copy of La traviata´s libretto, as well as Ingmar-Bergman´s The Magic Flute. And since making music had always been part of her family life,

 

She started taking choir and cello lessons, following in the footsteps of her older sister, a professional cello player: “School was always keeping me, but playing on the weekends liberated me. It was fantastic.” Asked what other professions she would consider, she said “Mailman, for he has people´s trust, and baker, because it is an artisan job.” Both are, of course, rather down-to-earth prospects, whereas being an opera singer is a somewhat loftier proposition: “As an opera singer, you don´t work your throat to make songs come, out, you work, as Louis Jôuvet put it, your emotions, and you try to communicate those emotions through your voice and your eyes. Of course I also think about what comes after a singer´s career. But believe, without trying to grandstand, that singing, that opera at large, has a purpose. I may not make a breakfast, I may not deliver letters, but my colleagues and I can help people to spend a few good, beautiful hours. Would I lose my ability to sing, I would not be sad because I can no longer sing; I would be sad because I would no longer be able to share my singing with others.” For this reason, an audience is an absolute must for Juliette Mars: “For me, Music ought to be shared like a good meal, no matter whether with family or an opera´s audience. And with the same quality.” Though singing for her is a very elemental, personal means of expression, uniquely qualified to formulate and communicate her emotions: “Who I am, what I feel, I cannot express better than through music. I can serenade life´s beauty through music, I can convey how I feel. Of course I might try the same with words, but it would never have the same precision, the same quality as my singing. And most importantly: If I express something through music, I am true to myself as I am through no other form of communication.” Through this, so Mars, music is also a search for one´s self, an experience of one´s self: “Whatever I experience onstage, I do not experience as the character, I experience it as myself: As Juliette Mars.”

This also ties into the singer gaining impressions onstage: “The feelings and situations that you experience, you take with you. As Suzuki, for example, when you have to explain to your girlfriend that there simply is no more money. Or as the second dame. It rekindles the magic you experienced as the child in The Magic Flute. And such moments are everywhere.”

For her, these moments especially make her occupation fun and worthwile: “I started as Giovanna in Rigoletto, and when I look back today, I see how I have evolved, in things both big and small. Sometimes when I´m in costume, I think: This costume, that I´m wearing, I would not have measured up to four weeks ago, before the rehearsal. (…) Preparing for a role is time consuming, up to two years. A costume only weaves itself within oneself, you have to earn it. The best part for me is: there is no stagnation! There are always roles to fill, and as long as you have the curiosity for it, you always find something new, find something to develop yourself. After every hour of practice with a rêpêtiteur, I can feel how I change. I can feel how something enriched me.”

And yet: Juliette Mars stays Juliette Mars. Even when she is onstage and sings with all her passion, she differentiates: “With growing experience, you start to get some distance from your job. It is, after all, exactly that: a job. And it can never be your only purpose in life. With emotions, too, you have to keep some distance. If I may quote Diderot´s Paradoxe sur le comêdien: You have to personally keep your distance, so that the emotions may reach the hearts of your audience.”

But the interview also brings up a few contemplative, if not cautionary subjects. Like the fact that “singers more and more have to look like mannequins. You have this pressure, and many in the audience don´t even know how hard this pressure can be! Onstage, your age disappears, to be replaced by an unattainable ideal contrary to the theater´s original purpose! I for one believe that theater should stay a mirror of society. “ Still, a smile crosses her face every time she talks about her occupation, and she finds happiness and purpose in it. Every day, every performance, and in life. And that, as Juliette Mars says, is in the end the most important thing.

 

This is a translation of an Interview originally held in german by Mag. Oliver Láng, Dramatic advisor of the Vienna State Opera.

Vita

Juliette Mars
© Michael Pöhn

French mezzo-soprano, Juliette Mars started her musical education playing cello from an early age and obtained her certificate of end of Studies in 1999 with Roland Pidoux.
She graduated in voice from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Lyon (France) and the Schola Cantorum in Paris. She has studied with Jacqueline Bonnardot, Tom Krause and Yvonne Minton.
She was invited to join the Young artists programme at the CNIPAL in Marseille from 2003 to 2005 and was distiguished in many international singing competitions, such as « les voix nouvelles » and Operalia.
Juliette made her début on stage in 2000 in Saint-Etienne (France) performing the role of Gala in Roma by J.Massenet. She was then invited again to sing the part of the second Lady in the Magic Flute. She was also heard as Marie-Louise in L’Aiglon by A.Honegger and J.Ibert at the opera of Marseille.
As a Young artist at the CNIPAL, Juliette made her début as Angelina in La Cenerentola by G.Rossini, conducted by Dominique Trottein. In 2009, she was Nicklausse and the Muse in les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Nice opera house where she also performed the part of the cook in Rusalka, conducted by Claude Schnitzler.
She then received an immense success with the critic as Carmen with Opera en plein air, in 2010. Juliette sang the role of the second lady in the Magic Flute at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in 2011 and more recently performed the leading part of Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel by Humperdinck at the Wiener Volksoper during the season 2014/2015.
Since 2006, she has performed over fourty different operatic roles, mostly on the stage of the Wiener Staatsoper, as a member of the ensemble. Her repertoire contains characters such as Meg Page (Falstaff), Mercedes (Carmen), Berkenfield (La Fille du Régiment), the governess (The Queen of Spades), Madame Larina (Eugene Onegin), Barena (Jenufa), the second lady (The Magic Flute), Orlowsky (Die Fledermaus), Dryade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette), Tisbe (Cenerentola), The Page (Salome), Siébel (Faust), Thibauld (Don Carlos), Flower Maid (Parsifal), Flosshilde (Rheingold and Götterdämerung), Second Norn (Götterdämerung), Waklee (La Fanciulla del West), Smeton (Anna Bolena)…

Juliette particulary enjoys singing sacred music and song repertoire.She was greatly honored to perform the « Folksongs » by L.Berio under the conducting of the composer himself in 2005 when she was granted the award of « révélation classique » by the ADAMI.
She is also an internationally successful Lied and concert singer and regulary performs in various festivals, such as the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades (France), and many concert halls throughout Europe…
She sang on February 2016 on the stage of the Wiener Staatsoper the role of the cook in Rusalka under the direction of Tomas Netopil. In fall 2016, she sang with success Nicklausse and the Muse in a new production of les Contes d’Hoffmann, this time in german language, in the Vienna Volksoper, conducted by Gerrit Prießnitz and staged by Renaud Doucet-André Barbe. She will sing this Part again in the same Production in the Vienna Volksoper in May 2018. In March 2017 she made her Debut as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte for the Laxenburgs Castle Festival (conducted by David Aronson and staged by Bernd Bienert ). In July 2017 she experienced with the best Reviews her first contemporary Opera as Hemma in Hemma wrote by Bruno Strobl, conducted by Simeon Pironkoff and staged by Kristine Tornquist for the Carinthischer Sommer Festival.

On the 15th of Oktober she makes her Debut as Margret in Wozzeck in the Theater an der Wien conducted by Leo Hussain and directed by Robert Carsen. In April 2018, for the 200 Gounods Birthday, Juliette will sing two Concerts with Gounods Operas extracts and Lieder in Venice in collaboration with the Palazetto Bru-Zane. In the same Collaboration, in June 2018, she will sing Siébel in The first Version of Faust of Gounod in le Théâtre des Champs Elysées, conducted by Christophe Rousset and his Orchestra: Les Talents Lyriques.

She regulary works with some of the most prestigious conductors in the world such as Christian Thielemann, Franz Welser-Möst, Fabio Luisi, Bertrand de Billy, Peter Schneider, Bruno Campanella, Simon Rattle, Graeme Jenkins, Michael Güttler, Alain Altinoglu, Constantinos Carydis, Friedrich Haider, Frédérique Chaslin, Ivor Bolton, Patrik Lange, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Christophe Rousset, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Evelino Pidò, Simone Young, Ingo Metzmacher, Eun Sun Kim, Thomas Netopil, Leo Hussain…

Repertoire

Owing to her curiosity, Juliette Mars maintains a very diverse repertoire, including classical, clerical and chansonal  music. She believes that every new piece helps her to develop her voice, develop her musical skillset and enrich her performances. Thusly, maintaining such a diverse collection of parts is not contradictory, but rather serves to benefit and enrich her and her performances .

  • Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel/ Humperdink)
  • Carmen und Mercédès (Carmen/ Bizet)
  • Nicklausse/Muse (lHoffmann’s Erzählungen/ Offenbach)
  • Smeton (Anna Bolena/ Donizetti)
  • Siébel (Faust/ Gounod)
  • Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette/ Gounod)
  • Suzuki (Madama Butterfly/ Puccini)
  • Küchenjunge (Rusalka / Dvorjak)
  • Flosshilde (Rheingold/ Wagner)
  • Thibault (Don Carlo französische Fassung / Verdi)
  • Flosshilde (Götterdämmerung/ Wagner)
  • Tisbe (Cenerentola/ Rossini)
  • Dryade (Ariadne auf Naxos/ R.Strauss)
  • Berkenfield (Régiments Tochter/ Donizetti)
  • Larina (Eugen Onegin/ Tschakowski)
  • Zweite Dame (Zauberflöte/ Mozart)
  • Meg Page (Falstaff/ Verdi)
  • Frau Reich (Lustige Weiber von Windsor/Nicolai)
  • Zulma (italiana in Algeria/ Rossini)
  • Waklee (Fanciulla del West/ Puccini)
  • Page (Salome/ R.Strauss)
  • Glasa (Katja Kabanova, in tschechiche Sprache / Janacèk)
  • a Musician (Manon Lescaut/Puccini)
  • La Gouvernante (Pique Dame/ Tschaikowski)
  • 3 Mädchen (Mahagonny/ Kurt Weill)
  • Barena (Jenufa in tschechische und deutsche Sprache/ Janacek)
  • Zweite Magd (Elektra/ R.Strauss)
  • Drittes Blumen Mädchen II Gruppe (Parsifal/ Wagner)
  • zweite Knape (Parsifal/ Wagner)
  • Stimme von Oben (Parsifal/ Wagner)
  • Rossweisse (Walküre/Wagner)
  • Dangeville (Adriana Lecouvreur/ Cilea)
  • Flora (Traviatta/ Verdi)
  • Eine Kranke und die dritte Solo Stimme (Moses und Aron Schönberg)
  • Orlowsky (Fledermaus/ J.Strauss)
  • Zweite Norne (Götterdämmerung/ Wagner)
  • Annio (la Clemenza di Tito/ Mozart)
  • Bradamante (Alcina/ Haendel)
  • Krista (Makropoulos version tchèque/ Janacek)
  • Der Hund (die schlaue Fuchslein/ Janacek)
  • Bersi (Andrea Chénier/ Giordano)
  • Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana/ Mascagni)
  • Thibault (Don Carlo in italienische Sprache/ Verdi)
  • ein junger Hirt (Tannhäuser/ Wagner)
  • dritte Kinder Stimme (Frau ohne Schatten/ R.Strauss)
  • Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte/ Mozart)
  • Oktavian (Rosenkavalier/ R.Strauss)
  • Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro/ Mozart)
  • Olga (Eugen Onegin/ Tschaikowsky)
  • Charlotte (Werther/ Massenet)

BACH

  • Actus Tragicus BWV 106:" Christ lag in Todes Banden" BWV 4
  • Messe h-moll BWV 232
  • Wehnachts-Oratorium BWV 248
  • Matthäus-Passion BWV 244
  • Kantate BWV 35 : « Geist und Seele wird verwirret »
  • Kantate BWV 110 : « Unser Mund sei voll Lachens »
  • Kantate BWV 170 : « Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust »

BEETHOVEN

  • Messe C-dur op. 86 Anton

DIABELLI

  • Pastoralmesse op 147

J.A.HASSE

  • Regina coeli in D

    HAYDN

    • Missa brevis in F Major « Jugendmesse » Hob.XXII : I
    • Missa « Nicolaimesse » Hob. XXII : 6
    • Missa in Tempore Belli « Paukenmesse » Hob.XXII :9
    • Missa in Angustiis « Nelsonmesse » Hob.XXII :11
    • Missa B-Dur « Theresienmesse » Hob.XXII :12

    HÄNDEL

    • Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne HWV 74

    JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL

    • Messe Es-Dur op.80

    MOZART

    • Requiem in d-moll KV 626
    • Sub tuum praesidium, offertorium KV 198
    • Missa brevis in F KV 192
    • Missa in C « Credo-Messe » KV 257
    • Missa in C Major, « Missa solemnis » KV 337
    • Missa in C, « Krönungsmesse » KV 317
    • Missa in C « Orgelsolo-Messe » KV 259
    • Vesperae solennes de Dominica KV 321
    • Vesperae solennes de Confessore KV 339

    OTTO NICOLAI

    • Messe in D-dur

    PERGOLESI

    • Stabat mater

    FRANZ SCHUBERT

    • Messe in C-dur D 452-op.48
    • Messe in F-dur D 105

 

Audio

You can listen here to some of the good Concert memories of Juliette:

“Werther … Werther”: Aria Charlotte. Werther by J. Massenet.

Piano: Jendrik Springer

“Tu fosti traditio”, Aria Annio. La Clemenza di Tito by W. A. Mozart.

Piano: Cécile Restier

“É Gelosia”, Aria Bradamante. Alcina by G. F. Haendel.

Pianistin: Cécile Restier

“Aria Olga” by P. I. Tchaikowsky

Piano: Cécile Restier

“Die Taubenpost”by F. Schubert.

Piano: Cécile Restier

“Quand la nuit n´est pas étoilée” by R. Hahn.

Piano: Vinzenz Praxmarer

“Je te veux” by E. Satie.

Piano: Cécile Restier

“A chloris” by R. Hahn

Piano: Vinzenz Praxmarer

“Lettre de la Périchole”, La Périchole by J. Offenbach.

Piano: Vinzenz Praxmarer

Videos

“Les Poètes” from a performance of “Léo Ferré and the Poets”.

Staging: Béatrice Lachaussée

Accordeon: Nikola Djoric

Piano: Willy Constantin

“Brumes et pluies” from a performance of “Léo Ferré and the Poets”.

Staging: Béatrice Lachaussée

Accordeon: Nikola Djoric

Piano: Willy Constantin

The Part of Wawkle from a Performance of La Fanciulla del west of Puccini.

Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst

Billy Jackrabbit: Jongmin Park

Minnie: Nina Stemme

Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Calendar

Critical acclaim

Hemma, Uraufführung, B.Strobl / Stiftskirche Ossiach Juli 2017.

“Juliette Mars begeistert als intensive, selbstbewusste Titelheldin, die ihre Seelenqualen grandios auslotet”. (Kleine Zeitung)

“Unglaubliche Leistung der in jeder Richtung glaubhaften Juliette Mars.” (Kleine Zeitung)

Cosi fan tutte, Mozart/ Schloß Laxenburg 2017.

“Juliette Mars als Dorabella ist großartig und erinnert an eine Krista Ludwig in Bestform” (Neue Merker).

Hoffmanns Erzählungen, Offenbach/ Volksoper 2016.

„Virtuos und wendig wechselt Juliette Mars als mit Goldpatina umhüllte Muse bzw. als Niklaus die Tonfälle“ (der Standard).

„Juliette Mars als Muse/Niklaus spielt gut, singt kultiviert“ ( Kurier).

Hänsel und Gretel, Humperdinck / Volksoper Wien 2014.

“Juliette Mars als Hänsel bietet viel: ein burschikose Spiel, eine schontimbrierte Stimme, Musikalität, Piano und Forte.”
(Neue Merker)

“Als burschikoser Lauser von leicht herben Zuschnitt gelingt Juliette Mars ihr erster Hänsel”
(die Presse)

Don Carlo, Verdi / Wiener Staatsoper 2013.
“Juliette Mars ist ein temperamentvoller Thibault”
(Kronen Zeitung)

L’Italiana in Algeria, Rossini / Wiener-Staatsoper 2013.

“The Comprimario parts were exquisitely cast, with the Ladies (Ileana Tonca as Mustafa’s wife, and Juliette Mars as her Servant Zulma) singing ravishingly”
(Bachfrack.com).

Anna Bolena, Donizetti / Wiener Staatsoper 2013.
“Juliette Mars (als Einspringerin für die erkrankte Zoryana Kushpler), war hervorragend als der in Anna verliebte Page Smeton.”
(Kronen Zeitung)

“Für die kurzfristig erkrankte Zoryana Kushpler sprang am ersten Abend das Ensemblemitglied Juliette Mars verlässlich als naiv verliebter Smeton ein.”
(Wiener Zeitung)

Faust, Gounod/ Wiener-Staatsoper 2012.

“Juliette Mars als Siébel füllt ihre Partie recht solide aus”.
(Kurier)

“Ein vokaler Lichtblick war in jeden Fall aber Juliette Mars als Siébel.”
(der Standard).

“Juliette Mars sucht und findet als Siébel Ausdruckskraft in Details”
(Wiener Zeitung)

Madama Butterfly, Puccini / Wiener Staatsoper 2011.
Suzuki played by Juliette Mars came off well. Mars was consistent throughout, providing a mezzo-soprano tone that was rich in the lower ranges and sweet in the top. This allowed her to play a strong Suzuki against Dessi’s Butterfly”
(Christopher R.Skinner, the Passion of Opera Magazine)

Carmen, Bizet / opéras en plein air, France 2010.
“Saluons bien bas la prise de rôle flamboyante de la jeune Mezzo Juliette Mars dans le rôle titre. Non seulement le personnage de la cigarière est pleinement assumé vocalement(…) et toutes les notes sont là, assurées, colorées par le timbre chaud et rougeoyant de la chanteuse, mais il est incarné, vécu, habité pleinement, figure brûlante d’une belle interprète et d’une grande actrice, dans une conception traditionnelle du rôle, sensuelle et séductrice.”
(classiquenews.com)

Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Offenbach/ Opéra de Nice 2009.
“Juliette Mars gestaltet die Rolle mit starken Konturen und grossem Engagement. Bisweilen erscheint sie, so im Giulietta Akt, wie eine Rivalin zu Hoffmanns grossen Geliebten. (…).Die Mezzosopranistin Juliette Mars hatte als Muse neben ihrer lebendigen Darstellung auch stimmlich viel zu bieten, eine leuchtende Mittellage. Herrlich dann ihr Schlussmonolog an Hoffmann, der -am Ende mit sich selbst im Reinen- in den Orchestergraben entschwindet…”
(der Neue Merker)

“La mezzo Juliette Mars, qui est la musique même, est une magnifique découverte”
(Nice Matin)

“La mezzo-soprano Juliette Mars campe une Muse et un Nicklausse justes et énergiques.Elle sait alterner légèreté et gravité, en particulier dans la sublime scène finale où sa voix se fait porteuse d’une éternelle espérance”
(Nice Premium)

La Fille du Régiment, Donizetti / Wiener Staatsoper 2007.
“Aber auch die beiden kleinen Rollen der Marquise de Berkenfeld (Juliette Mars) und Clemens Unterreiner als Hortensius waren blendend in den kurzen Sequenzen und verdienen höchstes Lob.”
(Mittelloge.de)

Ariadne auf Naxos, R.Strauss / Wiener Staatsoper.
“Herausragend aus dem Ensemble, Dryade Juliette Mars.”
(Kronen Zeitung)

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