Countless artists, authors and other sharp creative minds – from Manet and Peter Brook to Nabokov and Nietzsche – have drawn deep inspiration from Carmen. Ksenija Sidorova is the latest to reimagine the tragic heroine of Bizet’s opera. The Latvian accordionist, a massive musical talent with the blazing energy of a comet, marks her Deutsche Grammophon debut with an album driven by her identification with Bizet’s famously free-spirited femme fatale. Ksenija’s Carmen gives new life to some of the most popular of all classical melodies, presented here in seductively fresh arrangements. She describes the character of Carmen as, above all, “a projection of the heart’s most intimate desires”. In response, her album, influenced by Latin, Asian, European and North American musical styles, offers an intoxicating mix of tone colours and pulsating rhythms.
Ksenija’s Carmen, set for international release on 3 June 2016, presents an authentic reflection of the Riga-born artist’s charismatic personality. “Carmen fascinates me,” she notes. “Of course I wanted to bring something new to this music, to let Carmen speak with a different voice. The accordion doesn’t have to breathe like a singer, so there are no restrictions to what I can do with this music. I could be daring and passionate, just like Carmen, and share in the multicultural musical ideas created by my wonderful collaborators.” There’s much more Carmen to come from Ksenija thanks to a run of performances that opens in Dortmund in April and continues in Latvia and Chicago later in the year. “I feel that people of all ages are ready to connect with Carmen and so I want to take this project on the road.”
Her desire to connect with others clearly runs deep. She has already been crowned the “Princess of Accordion” by one critic and praised by another for her “ability to steal a musical heart”. Accordion aficionados, meanwhile, have hailed her interpretations of everything from original compositions by Piazzolla, Berio and Nordheim to arrangements of pieces by Bach, Mozart and Scarlatti. “I love performing modern works and new commissions,” she says. “But I feel it is my mission now to introduce the accordion to a large audience. My heart enjoys playing many different styles of music and I want to share this experience with as many people as possible.”
On 30 March 2016, Deutsche Grammophon announced Ksenija Sidorova’s exclusive signing to the yellow label. “We are delighted to welcome such a remarkable talent to our roster,” commented Ute Fesquet, DG’s Vice President, Artists & Repertoire. “Ksenija puts heart and soul into every performance. In her hands the accordion becomes more than an instrument – it is her voice and gives expression to her captivating personality. She is one of those genuinely rare performers who can transcend genre boundaries and beguile audiences with the intense beauty and vitality of her music-making.” (Deutsche Grammophon)