Waltraud Meier on iTunes

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Meier Waltraud

 German mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier was born in the Franconian city of Würzburg. She grew up in a home full of music-making, and as early as her school and college days she already sang in five different choruses. After completing her secondary education, she initially studied English and Romance Languages while concurrently taking voice lessons.
In 1976 Waltraud Meier decided to concentrate completely on her singing career and débuted at the Würzburg Opera as Lola in Cavalleria rusticana. During the following years the mezzo-soprano learned a varied repertoire while on the rosters of the opera houses in Mannheim (1976-1978), Dortmund (1980-1983), Hanover (1983?1984) and Stuttgart (1985-1988). In 1980, Waltraud Meier made her international début at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Fricka in Die Walküre.

With her triumphant success as Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal at the 1983 Bayreuth Festival, she launched her international career, which took Waltraud Meier to regular appearances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, the Opéra National in Paris, the Vienna State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. After further stirring performances of Kundry in Bayreuth from 1983 to 1993, the singer moved into the dramatic soprano repertoire, in which she made an equally profound impression on both press and public from 1993 to 1999 as Isolde in Heiner Müller's legendary Tristan und Isolde production under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim. In Bayreuth as well, Ms. Meier performed the role of Sieglinde in Die Walküre in the "Millennium Ring" at the 2000 festival staged by Jürgen Flimm and conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli with Plácido Domingo as her partner. Enthusiastically applauded today as Kundry, Isolde, Ortrud, Venus and Sieglinde, Waltraud Meier has become one of the most internationally significant Wagner singers of our time.

In the Italian and French repertory as well, however, she is also recognized world-wide as a highly expressive interpreter, both vocally and dramatically, and much sought-after for such roles as Eboli, Amneris, Carmen and Santuzza. Waltraud Meier's sensational interpretation of Santuzza at La Scala under Riccardo Muti marked one of the rare occasions when a German singer has even conquered Italian audiences in their own operatic turf. The singer has collaborated with such major stage directors as Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Luc Bondy, Harry Kupfer, Götz Friedrich, Klaus Michael Grüber and Patrice Chéreau, in whose breathtaking Wozzeck production she portrayed Marie with captivating intensity and passion. Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Zubin Mehta and other great conductors are enthusiastic over Waltraud Meier's musical personality, in which passion, creativity and an incisive intellect come eloquently together.

At the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the artist triumphed in Parsifal (Klaus-Michael Grüber / Semyon Bychkov) as she had previously in a 1991 production at La Scala under Riccardo Muti. Her close artistic collaboration with Maestro Barenboim and the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden, as well as with the Bavarian State Opera in Munich has taken the singer on regular tours with those companies to Japan, where she has been seen and heard in Die Walküre, Wozzeck, Tristan und Isolde and Fidelio. The part of Ortrud in the new Lohengrin production at the Bavarian State Opera in 1998 followed in the same season Waltraud Meier's début as Leonore in Fidelio under the direction of Daniel Barenboim in Chicago. She has sung this role in subsequent seasons in new productions at the Bavarian State Opera directed by Peter Mussbach and conducted by Zubin Mehta, at opening night of the 1999/2000 season at La Scala Milan with Werner Herzog as stage director and Riccardo Muti as conductor, as well as at the Metropolitan Opera in a production by Jürgen Flimm. Likewise in the year 2000, Waltraud Meier thrilled audiences at the Salzburg Festival with her interpretation of Isolde in Klaus-Michael Grüber's Tristan production with Lorin Maazel on the podium. In 2001 at the opening of the Munich Opera Festival, the singer then made her brilliant début in the role of Didon in Hector Berlioz's Les Troyens with Zubin Mehta in the pit. Claudio Abbado's farewell tour with the Berlin Philharmonic in Italy featured the artist with her gripping interpretation of the Rückert songs by Gustav Mahler.

Time and again, as singer and musician, Waltraud Meier has always sought out challenge, ventured new paths and devoted herself to singing in its purest form at song recitals and in concert appearances. This is why she decided to consecrate the 2003/2004 season exclusively to her activities as recitalist and concert singer. The highlights of this purely vocal season doubtlessly included Bach's St. Matthew Passion as well as a sophisticated recital program featuring compositions by Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf, which took Waltraud Meier throughout Europe and Russia as well as to the United States.

In the 2004/2005 season "opera singer" Waltraud Meier returned to the stage. Her most important projects included a new approach to the role of Carmen in a new production at the Semper Oper in Dresden (directed by Katarina Lauterbach). In 2005, Waltraud Meier's status in the Wagner repertoire once again enchanted press and public in a spectacular new production of Tristan (stage director: Peter Sellars, conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen) at the Opéra de Bastille in Paris, as well as in a further interpretation of Kundry in the new Parsifal production at the Vienna State Opera. Further operatic undertakings brought Waltraud Meier together with conductors like Mikko Franck, Kent Nagano, Antonio Pappano, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle.

A sizable discography and videography attest to the versatility of this singular singing actress. The artist has been honored with a number of prizes and awards including the title of "Kammersängerin" bestowed on her by both the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Vienna State Opera. She lives in Munich.




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