American soprano Brenda Rae is a highly sought after artist who regularly performs in many of the world’s leading opera houses, concert halls, and recital venues. At home in a wide range of repertoire, Brenda has been praised for her “tireless, golden soprano” (The Times), “dazzling, pinpoint coloratura” (Opera News), and “breathtaking mastery” (Frankfurter Rundschau).
This season Brenda Rae takes on a number of new roles: the title role in Berg’s Lulu for her debut with the English National Opera in the William Kentridge production, the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Bayerische Staatsoper, Amenaide in Rossini’s Tancredi with Opera Philadelphia and Gilda in a new production of Rigoletto as well as Zdenka in Arabella, both with her home company, Oper Frankfurt. She also returns to the Santa Fe Opera to sing the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor and to Carnegie Hall for a recital with pianist In Sun Suh. Future projects include debuts with the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Oper Zurich among others.
Last season’s engagements included concerts in Brenda’s home state of Wisconsin, first as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with the Milwaukee Symphony and Edo de Waart, then in a solo concert with her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With the Bayerische Staatsoper Brenda sang Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, both in Munich and on tour in Paris, as well as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She returned to the Berliner Staatsoper as Zerbinetta and to Oper Frankfurt in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor. In the summer she was heard in a chamber concert with the Schumann Quartet at the Schubertiade in Hohenems.
The 2014-15 season began at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich where Brenda performed the title role in Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau. She then went to Oper Frankfurt for a new production of Bellini’s La Sonnambula. In February Brenda made a house and role debut at the Seattle Opera in the title role of Handel’s Semele. She returned to the Bayerische Staatsoper for Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, a role she performed again in April at the Hamburgische Staatsoper. In May she made her role debut as Aithra in a concert performance of Strauss’s Die Ägyptische Helena at Oper Frankfurt before going to the Berliner Staatsoper to make another house debut singing one of her signature roles, Zerbinetta, in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos. Brenda rounded out the season in Munich with more performances of Die schweigsame Frau as part of the Bayerische Staatsoper’s summer festival, and in August returned to the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Austria to perform a recital with renowned pianist Wolfram Rieger.
In the fall of the 2013-14 season, Brenda sang Zerbinetta in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos at Oper Frankfurt, which was directed by Brigitte Fassbaender and conducted by Sebastian Weigle. Also at Oper Frankfurt that season, Brenda added two new Mozart roles to her repertoire: Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte and Donna Anna in a new production of Don Giovanni directed by Christof Loy. Performances outside of Frankfurt included Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Elsbeth in Offenbach’s Fantasio with Opera Rara and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and a special gala concert in Carnegie Hall to celebrate Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday. Brenda ended the season at the Santa Fe Opera with Madame Vladimirescu (Mme. Herz) in Mozart’s The Impresario and, on short notice, learned and performed the role of Norina in Don Pasquale.
At Oper Frankfurt during the 2012-13 season, Brenda performed the title role in Maria Stuarda in concert and Cleopatra in a new production of Giulio Cesare. Outside of Frankfurt, Brenda made house debuts with Opéra National de Paris (Anne Trulove in the The Rake’s Progress) and the Hamburgische Staatsoper (Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos). She also sang Polissena in Radamisto with The English Concert (conducted by Harry Bicket) in a concert tour that made stops in London, Birmingham, Paris, Ann Arbor, and Carnegie Hall. In the spring, Brenda returned to Opéra National de Bordeaux to sing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Shortly thereafter she went to Austria to perform at the renowned Schubertiade Music Festival. Finally, over the summer she made her hugely successful U.S. operatic stage debut at the Santa Fe Opera as Violetta in La Traviata.
Brenda began the 2011-12 season at Opera Frankfurt by making her role debut as Violetta in La Traviata. Later that season she made her house debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail before returning to Oper Frankfurt to sing Anne Trulove in a new production of The Rake’s Progress. She could be heard in concert that season performing the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elias at the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona as well as Mozart Arias with the Rheingau Musik Festival. Over the summer, Brenda jumped in at the last minute to make her house debut at the Wiener Staatsoper singing the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. Later that summer she returned to Munich for the Bayerische Staatsoper’s summer festival to sing Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
Brenda is a Grammy-nominated artist who appears on several recordings including Offenbach’s Fantasio (Opera Rara), Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (Oehms Classics), Lowell Liebermann’s Little Heaven (Albany Records), Wagner’s Die Feen (Oehms Classics), Milhaud’s The Oresteia of Aeschylus (Naxos), and also on DVD/Bluray in Handel’s Rinaldo from Glyndebourne (Opus Arte). Brenda earned an artistic diploma from the Juilliard Opera Center, a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.