The soprano Alexandra Berti (*1968 Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic) studied privately with Jiřina Stariatti during her years in high school. Upon completion from high school, she went on to study at the Prague Conservatory and took acting lessons from Vitězslava Fryntová at the Conservatory of Jaroslav Ježek. In 1989, she took classes from René Tuček and Jana Jonášová at the Musical faculty at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. The influence of the three above mentioned artists has been reflected in the development of her voice. Berti is most comfortable with dramatic characters using coloratura. During her study of classical opera and song repertoire, her interest in the historical technique of singing also brought her to observe baroque music. Because of her interest in baroque music, she was invited by Helmut Rilling to participate at the Bach Academy in Stuttgart in 1992. Under her former surname “Spurná”, she then became a founding member of the group Musica Salutaris in 1995.
Berti devotes herself with the same intensity to opera, oratory, concert, and song repertoire and focuses on historical replication of music from the 17th and 18th century. Her opera repertoire concentrates on Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, Meyerbeer, and Charpentier. On stage, Berti performed in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Martinů’s Comedy on the Bridge, Benda’s Barber of Seville (world premiere), Lortzing’s The Opera Rehearsal (recorded by Czech Television), Weber’s Abu Hassan, Peri’s Euridice (Czech premiere at the Smetana festival in Litomysl in 2000). Furthermore, she debuted in a scene of Martinů’s opera The Soldier and the Dancer at the National Opera in Prague.
Her oratory repertoire is comprised of numerous Italian baroque pieces: Scarlatti’s Agar ed Ismaele, Giuditta (both Czech premieres), Rossi’s Oratorio per la Setttimana Santa, Carissim Historia di Jephte. She also performs Czech oratories, including: Dittersdorf’s Esther (for German radio SWR), Zelenka’s Gesu al Calvario (recorded by Czech and French radio), and Horalek’s piece Opera Bohemica (staging by Czech Television)—both pieces were also modern premieres.
Berti’s song repertoire is unusually wide and encompasses not only classical (Mozart, Haydn) and romantic (Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Mahler, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Rubinstejn) pieces but also twentieth century works (for example Debussy). Czech music takes a special place among her song repertoire. She performed Koželuh’s and Tomášek’s cantatas in a modern premiere with a hammer piano. Besides Czech classics Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček and Martinů, she pays extensive attention to contemporary Czech authors (K. Slavický, P. Eben, I. Hurník, L. Hurník).
From Berti’s baroque repertoire, Italian authors dominate. The cantatas, motetos, and madrigals from the 17th and 18th century are equally represented—Anerio, Bononcini, Caldara, Cavalli, Carissimi, De majo, D’India, Durante, Graziani, Handel, Leo, Monteverdi, Porpora, Rossi, Sances, Scarlatti, Terziani, and Vivaldi. French music is represented with pieces by Couperin, Jacquet de la Guerre and Rameau. German baroque is embodied by the cantatas of Bach, Telemann (tour cantata for Czech Radio), Buxtehude, Boeddecker, and Schuetz. From Czech baroque composers, the singer concentrates on Zelenka, Plánický, Horálek, and Brixi.
Additionally, Berti often works with the media. For Czech Television, she repeatedly recorded solos for the TV shows Hello Music and Visits with Mrs. Music where she participated as a screenwriter and moderator. She also performed in a production of Horálek’s Opera Bohemica (modern premiere) and recorded a television version of Lortzing’s Opera Rehearsal made in the original historical space of the Litomysl châteaux theater from the 18th century. She has also performed for the German television ZDF and French radio as well as partook in a sound recording for a film designated for Czech exposition at the world Expo 2000 Hannover.
Berti has worked with Czech groups focusing on historical music (Capella Regia, Musica Bohemica, Prague Baroque group, Musica Salutaris, Collegium Marianum), Swiss Camerata Helvetica and Czech orchestras (Northern Czech Philharmonic, East Czech National Symphonic Orchestra, Prague State Opera Orchestra, Czech Chamber Philharmonic). With the Philharmonics of the city of Prague, she participated in recording film music.
In addition to working with the media, she has also recorded two solo CDs. The first is dedicated to Christmas music of European baroque of the 17th and 18th century under the title Natus est Jesus and includes cantatas, arias and, motetos of Bassani, Bach, Boeddecker, Carissimi, Foggia, and Handel. The second is dedicated to songs by Dvořák accompanied by Dvořák’s original piano. The CD includes the original German version of the Gypsy Melodies, and the early version of Cypress Trees.
Berti’s systematically engaged with studies of historical singing techniques and pedagogical activities. She hosts seminars and publishes in cooperation with the Sound design department at the Academy of Performing Arts’ Musical faculty in Prague. There, she also led research into the possibilities of the newest transferring technologies, usable for classical solo singing distance teaching.