March 19, 2013

Biography

... leading coloratura soprano in the world.

New York Sun

Acclaimed as the “leading coloratura soprano in the world” (New York Sun), Diana Damrau continues to amaze audiences with her brillant voice and arresting stage presence. A regular guest to the most renowned opera houses and concert halls, she was awarded the title Bayerische Kammersängerin in 2007 and, in 2008, named “Singer of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine. A documentary on her life, directed by Beatrix Conrad entitled Diana Damrau – divine diva was first aired on the French-German TV channel arte in February 2011.

Diana’s 2012/13 schedule includes appearances as Gilda in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Rigoletto which is to be broadcast live in movie theatres worldwide. A few weeks later she makes her eagerly anticipated role debut in Verdi’s Traviata with the same company. In Europe, she will premiere the role of Violetta at Zurich Opera whilst still continuing to explore the bel canto repertoire further. This repertoire is set to figure prominently in her schedule during forthcoming seasons and includes the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at Munich’s Philharmonie this summer. Diana looks forward to future role debuts including Amina (La sonnambula) and Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) as well new productions of Manon, La Traviata, Les Pecheurs des Perles and Lucia di Lammermoor. Complementing her operatic engagements in 2013, concerts and recitals take her to Washington, Paris, Geneva, Lyon, London, Hamburg, Vienna, Bad Kissingen and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg.

Highlights of the past two seasons encompass Philine (Mignon) and Elvira (I puritani) with Grand Théâtre de Genève, Linda di Chamounix with Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Lucia in the Met’s tour of Japan, Manon at the Vienna State Opera and Donna Anna in a concert performance of Don Giovanni at the Baden-Baden Festival, a recording of which was commercially released by Deutsche Grammophon. In 2011, Diana scored a tremendous success with her stunning rendition of the three soprano roles in a new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Bavarian State Opera.

As a member of the ensembles at Mannheim National Theatre and Frankfurt Opera, Diana’s career gained momentum with much-praised guest appearances as Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta and Adele (Die Fledermaus) in Munich, Berlin and Vienna. Free-lancing since 2002, she took on the female lead in the world premiere of Cerha’s Der Riese vom Steinfeld at Vienna State Opera and was hailed by the critics for her UK debut as Queen of the Night (2003), as well as her spectacular rendition of the title role in Salieri’s L’Europa riconosciuta at the re-opening of Milan’s La Scala (2004). Other noteworthy engagements include Gym Instructress/Drunken Woman in the world premiere of Lorin Maazel’s 1984 at Covent Garden, Susanna at La Scala, Konstanze at Vienna’s Burgtheater, Zerbinetta at Teatro Real Madrid, Gilda at Semperoper Dresden, Gretel at Covent Garden, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) at the Baden-Baden Festival, and role debuts as Marie (La fille du régiment, San Francisco), Donna Anna (Geneva), Massenet’s Manon (Vienna) and Aminta (Munich).

A beloved artist to the audience of the Metropolitan Opera, Diana has returned to New York every year since 2005, tackling Zerbinetta, Rosina, Aithra, Konstanze, Gilda, Lucia, Marie, Adèle (Le comte Ory) and Adina, and causing a sensation by singing both her first Pamina and her last Queen of the Night in a 2007 run of Die Zauberflöte. In Europe, she has close ties with the Salzburg Festival, where her 2001 debut was followed by appearances as Queen of the Night, Konstanze, Blonde, Fauno and Susanna. The list of conductors who accompany Diana’s career includes Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, James Levine, Sir Colin Davis, Ivor Bolton, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, Fabio Luisi, Jérémie Rhorer, Dan Ettinger and Christian Thielemann.

In addition to her achievements in opera, Diana has established herself as one of today’s finest lieder singers, having given recitals with pianists including Helmut Deutsch and Julius Drake at renowned venues including Berlin’s Philharmonie, Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Salzburg Festival and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. Her extraordinary muscial partnership with harpist Xavier de Maistre is documented in the form of a CD release (Nuit d’étoiles) and a TV recording of a recital in Baden-Baden. Diana regularly performs songs by the British composer Iain Bell, whose first opera A Harlot’s Progress will open at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 2013/14, featuring Diana in the title role of Moll Hackabout.

Diana made her CD debut with Arie di Bravura, which received enthusiastic reviews and prestigious awards. Subsequent solo projects encompass discs with Mozart arias (Donna), coloratura pieces of the romantic period (COLORaturaS), orchestral songs by Richard Strauss (Poesie, awarded with the ECHO Klassik in 2011) and songs by Franz Liszt. Diana’s discography is rounded off by various opera, concert and recital recordings on different labels. TV broadcasts, most notably from the opening gala of the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Munich, have made her well-known to the broad public.

A native of Günzburg an der Donau/Germany, Diana studied voice with Carmen Hanganu at Würzburg Conservatory and with Hanna Ludwig in Salzburg. In 1995, she made her professional operatic debut at Würzburg’s Mainfrankentheater, later joining the company’s ensemble. Diana is married to the French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé, their son Alexander was born in 2010.