PROM 68: September 5
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 a high-profile role debut as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera and makes her much anticipated return to Wiener Staatsoper as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
Elsewhere this season, Brenda appears with both Oper Frankfurt and Washington Concert Opera as Elvira in I Puritani, which she delivers “with a technical brilliance in which nothing gets cheated and everything sits like immaculately placed pearls,” per Frankfurter Rundschau. She also sings Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in her return to Teatro Real Madrid and makes her Opera San Antonio debut as Lucia in 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.” Future projects include her Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut as well as appearances in New York, Madrid, Munich, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
As a former member of the ensemble of Oper Frankfurt, Brenda amassed an impressive repertoire including Violetta (La traviata), Lucia, Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Amina (La sonnambula), Olympia (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 the Metropolitan Opera as Poppea in a new David McVicar production of Agrippina, Teatro Real Madrid as Adina (L’elisir d’amore), 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 made her US operatic stage debut at Santa Fe Opera as Violetta and has since returned as Norina (Don Pasquale), Mme Vladimirescu, usually known as 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 joined the orchestra of Teatro alla Scala on two occasions singing Mozart, most recently under Zubin Mehta. In recital, she is a regular guest of the celebrated Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg and Wigmore Hall in London. Brenda 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.