American soprano Brenda Rae melds high-flying vocal pyrotechnics with keen emotional commitment, creating memorably detailed characters and irresistibly engaging performances.
Praised by Opera magazine as “virtuosic and sensual, capable of both power and nuance,” Brenda is a regular guest at the world’s leading opera houses in a portfolio of demanding principal roles. This season she makes several high-profile debuts, including her first appearances as Adina in Daminao Michieletto’s production of L’elisir d’amore at Teatro Real Madrid, her Salzburg Festival debut as Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, and her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut as Poppea in a new David McVicar production of Agrippina, to be simulcast in cinemas worldwide via Met Live in HD.
Elsewhere this season, Brenda returns to Wiener Staatsoper to reprise the title role in Laurent Pelly’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, for which the Washington Post praised her as “incandescent, creating a three-dimensional character whose fluid coloratura mirrored the passionate meanderings of her mind.” She also returns to Bayerische Staatsoper as Aminta in Barrie Kosky’s production of Die schweigsame Frau and Opera Philadelphia as the featured artist in their Festival O19 Celebration. Future projects include her Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut as well as appearances in New York, Madrid, Vienna, Munich, Chicago, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and Philadelphia.
As a former member of the ensemble of Oper Frankfurt, Brenda Rae amassed an impressive repertoire including Violetta (La traviata), Lucia, Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Amina (La sonnambula), Giulietta (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Zdenka (Arabella), and Gilda (Rigoletto) which she added in Hendrik Müller’s new production. Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) has become one of her most celebrated roles, leading to house debuts at the Staatsoper in Berlin and Hamburg as well as further performances at Bayerische Staatsoper.
She debuted at Opernhaus Zürich as Konstanze under Riccardo Minasi, English National Opera as Berg’s Lulu in the William Kentridge production, Opéra national de Paris as Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress), Seattle Opera as Semele, and the 2011 Glyndebourne Festival as Armida (Rinaldo), which was part of the BBC Proms and released on DVD by Opus Arte. Further roles include Elvira (I puritani) at Oper Frankfurt, and her first Amenaide (Tancredi) at Opera Philadelphia.
Brenda Rae made her US operatic stage debut at Santa Fe Opera as Violetta and has since returned as Norina (Don Pasquale), both Mme Vladimirescu and Mme Herz (The Impresario), Cunegonde (Candide) and Lucia. Brenda’s collaboration with Harry Bicket has brought her house debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Ginevra (Ariodante), and performances as Handel’s Semele on tour with The English Concert in London, Paris and New York.
On the concert platform, Brenda Rae joined the orchestra of Teatro alla Scala on two occasions singing Mozart, most recently under Zubin Mehta, and this season joins the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum and Riccardo Minasi in a European tour singing Beethoven’s Ah! Perfido and Haydn’s Scena di Berenice. In recital, Brenda Rae is a regular guest of the celebrated Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg and Wigmore Hall in London, and returns to Wigmore this season.
Brenda Rae appears on several recordings including Wagner’s Die Feen and Ariadne auf Naxos (both on Oehms Classics), Milhaud’s The Oresteia of Aeschylus (Naxos; nominated for a Grammy award), Lowell Liebermann’s Little Heaven (Albany Records) and Offenbach’s Fantasio released by Opera Rara.