Lina Orfanos

Lina Orfanos

 New York City, New York, USA
BandWorldJazz

Every Greek generation needs a rich, sensual and strong female voice. In Lina Orfanos we have such a vocalist. Lina was born to sing and she does so in many languages and with a nuanced understanding of not only Greek melodic lines, but English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish.

Biography

Lyric soprano Lina Orfanos was born in New York City where she grew up immersed in the sonorous cultures of the classical, ethnic, popular, and theater musical worlds of the city. As a child she performed with the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus and appeared in eight different operas singing in French, Italian, German, and Russian. In adolescence, she studied cabaret and musical theater at the Herbert Bergoff School in Greenwich Village and performed with the Montclair Operetta Club appearing in Evita and Kismet. In addition, she performed with the Montclair High School Madrigals and the Jazz Ensemble. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music with a specialty in vocal studies from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. She performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir at Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall. She studied voice for several years with Anne Akley Gray of Princeton, New Jersey and currently studies with Lori McCann of Montclair, NJ.

Lina made her solo debut in 2001 for the World Languages Program at the Donnell Library Center in Manhattan performing selections from the Theodorakis song cycles Epiphania, The Mauthausen Cantata, and The Ballad of the Dead Brother. She made numerous appearances in the next few years in various New York City concert, civic, and cabaret venues. Her debut CD Greek Songs for Romantics and Realists: The Songs of Manos Hadzidakis and Mikis Theodorakis was released in 2004 by One Soul Records and has received high praise from music lovers on both sides of the Atlantic. The internationally famed singer Maria Farantouri says that Lina has a "remarkably beautiful voice." The legendary Mikis Theodorakis considers her an "artistic singer with solid technique, a beautiful voice with lyricism, sensitivity, and interpretive perfection."

In 2004, Lina formed the Poetica Ensemble in order to interpret her favorite Greek blues, folk and art song cycles. The Poetica Ensemble is composed of enormously talented musicians under the direction of Spiros Exaras. While their repertoire focuses on a wide range of musical styles, they particularly excel at interpreting songs based on the poetry of Manolis Anagnostakis, Brendan Behan, Paul Eluard, Odysseus Elytis, Nikos Gatsos, Federico Garcia Lorca, Yannis Ritsos, and George Seferis. In addition, they are responsible for the North American premieres of Theodorakis' French songs, his cycles Lirikotera and Beatrice on Zero Street, as well as a number of his sublime arias from the operas Electra and Antigone. Although best known as an interpreter of Greek music, Lina also enjoys singing the American songbook and particularly jazz standards.

In 2005 and 2006, Lina's solo appearances impressed audiences at the Humanities Concert Hall of San Francisco State University, the LeFrak Concert Hall of Queens College, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Concert Series. She possesses consummate recital skills, a repertoire of high quality, and a vocal expressiveness beyond her years. She was a special guest for the Hellenic Music Foundation Concert "Unforgettable Greek Melodies" at the Hellenic Cultural Center of the Archdiocese of New York and the Saint Peter's Church, Citigroup Center. In the spring of 2006, she appeared with other singers at the thrilling Contemporary Greek Music Festival held at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University.

Lina sang for the first time in Greece in June 2006 where she was invited to perform at the Cultural Center of the northwest city of Ioannina and the Anagnostiki Recital Hall of the Ionian island of Kerkyra. Her concerts included the songs of Bernstein, Gershwin, Hadzidakis, and Theodorakis. Her impeccable craft, rich, deep colorings, and emotional presence dazzled audiences. By special invitation, Lina was coached by Mikis Theodorakis at his home in Athens. He expressed delight and pleasure at her emergence as an exciting vocal talent especially well-suited for his lyrical song c

Lyrics

Song of Songs

Written By: Iakovos Kambanellis, Hebrew translation by Eliinoar Moav Veniadis

How lovely is my love
in her everyday dress
with a little comb in her hair.
No-one knew how lovely she was.

Girls of Auschwitz,
girls of Dachau,
did you see my love?

We saw her on a long journey;
She wasn't wearing her everyday dress
or the little comb in her hair.

How lovely is my love
caressed by her mother,
and her brother's kisses.
Nobody knew how lovely she was.

Girls of Mauthausen
girls of Belsen
did you see my love?

We saw her in the frozen square
with a number on her white hand
with a yellow star on her heart.

Discography

Greek Songs for Romantics and Realists: Lina Orfanos sings Manos Hadzidakis and Mikis Theodorakis

Enchanted Night: Lina Orfanos sings Mikis Theodorakis