“What an entrance! …A pleasure for the eye and for the ear! …A first-class singer… The Israeli-born singer Bavat Marom was the focal point of this evening… “
(Recital, Lindauer Zeitung, Winfried Hamann)
I remember myself as a small child, daydreaming beneath the broad leaves of the wild mallow plants that grew in the orange orchards. I was intrigued by, and mothered all of the animals that I found, including ants, snails, cats, dogs and even a lost horse.
I grew up in what used to be a farming community near Tel Aviv. I was an only child, with divorced parents. Nevertheless, my mother gifted me with a special name: Bavat Marom, the apple of heaven’s eye – a perfect stage name. It was clear to everyone around me, that I was destined to become an artist. I was so absorbed when I painted, that time seemed to evaporate. I wrote poetry, I danced and I sang. The complex operas and symphonies that I heard in my head as a child determined that I belonged to a world of music. I tried to write this music, but I could not, because I didn’t have the tools. At the age of four I began to study ballet, and by the age of nine I supplemented ballet lessons with acting lessons.
At the age of ten I had my first solo painting exhibition and managed to compose the music for a puppet show. Painting was my first language, but the musical arts captivated me more. Nevertheless, my teachers provided enormous support for my efforts in all of my artistic tendencies: as a painter and as a musician, composer and performer. At age sixteen, I started studying composition with Chaya Czernowin, privately, and at the Telma Yelin High School for the Arts I majored in plastic arts. My final project of musical sculptures received the Ministry of Education’s Award of Excellency.
Urlicht / Des Knaben Wunderhorn & 2nd. Symphony – Gustav Mahler
During my mandatory army service in Israel, I was able to continue studying composition with the celebrated composer Abel Ehrlich, who urged me to take voice lessons as part of my education. The day I was released from the army, I was off to Salzburg, Austria to follow my new dream of singing. Professor Rudolf Knoll from the Mozarteum accepted me as his pupil. For an entire year, he generously granted me his time every day as a token of his belief that my untrained voice had tremendous potential. Our dedicated work won me a full scholarship at the Mozarteum. Apart from voice lessons, I studied Lied interpretation with Paul Schilhawsky, and immersed myself in the study of poetry. My stay in Austria was not limited to student activities. The Sony Corporation provided a work permit for me after discovering that I had exceptional hearing abilities qualifying me for work doing sound-checks at their Anif CD-plant. In my spare time I worked as a fashion and runway model for many prominent designers.
Three years later, I was invited to sing at a private concert in New York City. Without my knowledge, my accompanist at this concert, Eitan Pessen, urged Mikael Eliasen, the head of the Voice and Opera department at the Curtis Institute of Music, to listen to my unusual voice. The following morning, after singing for Mr. Eliasen, Curtis offered me a scholarship and the opportunity to accept the last available spot in their upcoming program. I accepted and with this started a new era of five wonderful years in my life. My classmates were so talented: Juan Diego Florez, John Relyea, Eric Owens, Rinat Shaham, Siphiwe McKenzie, Schuler Hensley, Marcel Rejans, Michael Dean and others. Every Friday afternoon we had tea at the Tea Room and homemade brownies were served by sweet Mrs. Graffman. We were like one big family, obsessed with music-making day and night. I participated in many master classes, with Anna Moffo, Regina Resnick, Mignon Dunn, Betty Allen, Todd Duncan, Tom Krause and John Norris. With the legendary Galina Vishnevskaya, we prepared Pique Dame in which I sang the part of Pauline. A special memory is kept for a beautiful masterclass with Luciano Pavarotti at the last round of the Luciano Pavarotti International Vocal Competition at the old Beacon Theater in New York. After five happy years, I completed my Bachelors degree in Voice and my Masters degree in Opera. I performed roles such as Orlofsky, The Sorceress, Arnalta, Berta, Meg, Lavinia and Jennie as well as many concerts and recitals of works by Mahler, Mozart, Bach, Schubert, and song cycles that Abel Ehrlich wrote for me. I sang with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera North, Rockland Opera and Memphis Opera.
Höre mit Sinn / Waltraute / Götterdämmerung – Richard Wagner
Then came this competition, the American-Berlin Opera Foundation, that changed the course of my career in the years that followed. That year, more than 4000 singers competed in the international competition out of which just one could win the challenge. I had a nasty cold on the morning of my audition, and called in to cancel. The secretary convinced me not to give up, and rescheduled me to the last place on the last day of the New York auditions. I sang, blowing my nose between the arias… and won the competition. Three months later I was singing leading roles at the Deutsche Opera Berlin.
As I came offstage from my first appearance at the Deutsche Oper I was greeted by Kammer-Sängerin Kaja Borris, a great singer who has performed all of the contralto and mezzo repertoire at the Deutsche Oper Berlin for more than 40 years. She offered to guide me, and asked for one thing only: my dedication. To this day I call her my angel. Her teaching and her guidance have been invaluable. She has become a close friend. In Berlin I sang, among other roles, Flosshilde and Rossweisse in Götz Friedrich’s famous staging of Wagner’s Ring, Hänsel, Sandman, Inez and more. After Berlin I sang Amneris in the immense open-air production of Theater Plauen-Zwickau and then toured the Netherlands as the mother in Stravinsky’s Mavra with Opera Spanga.
O don fatale / Eboli / Don Carlo – Giuseppe Verdi
It wasn’t long before my life would change again. During my debut at Carnegie Hall, where I was invited to perform a song-cycle by Astor Piazzolla, I met the film composer Ady Cohen, my future husband. Ady was responsible for the arrangements of the songs I was going to perform. He had mistakenly received the wrong musical keys and I had to call him in order to correct the error. We ended up speaking for hours on the phone. Then, after a blind date and four magical days in Rome, Ady expressed his wish to love me for life, and we decided to start a family. Now we have two beautiful children: a son, Lyle – which means “night” in Hebrew and in Arabic, and a daughter, Noot, who is named after the ancient Egyptian goddess of the upper sky, responsible for rebirth.
After giving birth, I continued my studies and had the luck to meet the great master of the Old Swedish/Italian School of Music, David Jones. David trained me both as a singer and as a teacher, teaching me the technique practiced by the renowned singers Kirsten Flagstad and Jussi Björling. Meeting him was a great personal experience and a tremendous technical revelation.
I returned to the stage, and created the leading role for The Rat Laughs, a modern opera by Ella Milch-Sheriff, which has been performed over 100 times at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater, the New Israeli Opera, the Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw, the Sibiu International Theatre Festival and the Bucharest National Theatre. Other roles I created are Aristophanes in The Symposium by Ron Weidberg, and the contralto soloist in Jonah by Boaz Ben-Moshe and in Der Gesang des Weizens by Katrin Vellrath.
Seguidilla / Carmen / Carmen – Georges Bizet
I have always loved being a soloist with an orchestra. I enjoy the reaction of my voice to the many colors of the different instruments, and the many shades that this interaction brings out of my voice. I had the great pleasure to perform classical song concerts such as all of Mahler’s Song Cycles, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, De Falla’s El Amor Brujo, Wagner’s Ring an einem Abend, Stravinsky’s Les Noces and other symphonic works with orchestras such as Nationaltheater Mannheim, The Deutsche Opera Berlin, Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra, Blutenburg Kammerphilharmonie München, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, The Kibbutz Orchestra, Haifa Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, The Tel-Aviv Soloists Ensemble, The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, Israeli Sinfonietta Beer Sheva and The Israeli Symphony Orchestra Rishon-Lezion, and in festivals such as Valery Gervgiev’s Red Sea Festival, Schloss Elmau Festival, The Israel Festival, The International Biennial for contemporary Music, The Jewish Arts Festival in New York and Philadelphia, Omanut Festival in Zürich, Ein Hod Festival, Keshet Eilon, Katzen Arts Center in Washington DC, Abu-Gosh Festival and the Israel Music Festival.
Apart from my love of singing with orchestras, singing chamber music is equally rewarding and enjoyable. I had the great honor to perform with many fabulous musicians, such as: Augustin Wiedemann, my good friend from the Mozarteum, with whom I had the pleasure to tour Germany with our program La maja dolorosa; the cellist Emmanuelle Bertrand and her pianist husband Pascal Amoyel, with whom I had the best time performing together in Paris; with Daniel Propper, Shiri Coneh, Shlomo Shem-Tov, Dan Deutsch, Gila Goldstein, Gil Shohat, Julia Rovinsky, Tali Glaser, Chagit Glaser, Wolf Harden, the Spectrum Ensemble, Eyal Kless, Kobi Rubinstein, Eckhart Lorenzen & Batia Steinbock-Lorenzen, Michal Schmidt, Sandrine Erdely-Sayo, Danielle Orlando, Mikael Eliasen, Susan Nowicki, Donald St. Pierre, Humberto Ridolfi, Tali Roth, Susan Ashbaker, Rudolf Meister, Goni Eshed, Boris Zobin and more.
Ständchen / Op. 106 No. 1 – Johannes Brahms
Since I started my musical path as a composition student, singing contemporary music presented a special pleasure to me. Abel Ehrlich, Leroy Osmon, Ofer Ben-Amots, Udi Horev and Ady Cohen dedicated compositions to me. I also had the pleasure to premiere music by Reinhard Flender, Ella Milch-Sheriff, Ron Weidberg, Ofer Ben Moshe, Yoav Gal, Gil Shohat, Sylvia Glickman, Boaz Tarsi, Ehud Pecker, Katrin Vellrath and more.
A few years ago I initiated a project that is close to my heart: The Geula Project, a recital of Yiddish songs, with the pianist and composer Eyal Bat. It started as an homage to my late grandmother and singer, Geula Gal-Ed, and it had since spread its wings and developed into a concert of contemporary musical settings of Yiddish poetry composed by myself as well as by Eyal Bat and Ady Cohen. Studying Yiddish for this project, I became enamored with the buried treasures I discovered, and developed a strong desire to contribute to the revival of this fascinating culture. Eyal and I toured Germany and Switzerland with this project and enjoyed many performances in Israel, and in 2022 we released our premiere album, which contains traditional songs with our unique interpretation. We plan to focus our second album, to be released at a later date, on our original compositions. Three of my Yiddish songs from our upcoming album have received a stellar performance at the Israel Music Festival 2022 by Palestinian soprano Nour Darwish and Arab-Israeli pianist Nizar Elkhater.
I was once asked in a competition’s questionnaire: why do you sing? Without thinking I answered, “to pour love into this world.” And to this day, my highest goal is to be a channel of love with my singing, my teaching and with everything I do.