Mezzo-soprano Okka von der Damerau imbues her characters with life and passion in repertoire ranging from the operatic roles of Wagner and Verdi to the intimate lieder of Mahler and Schönberg. Her voluminous yet nuanced voice and her clear, natural diction create an intimate and immediate connection with her audience.
Highlights in Ms. von der Damerau’s career include her debut as Ortrud (Lohengrin) at the Stuttgart State Opera, Ulrica (Un Ballo in Maschera) under the baton of Zubin Mehta at the Bavarian State Opera, and her performances at the Bayreuth Festival in Frank Castorf's Ring Cycle. In 2011 she was invited to sing at a private audience for Pop Benedict XVI. Acclaimed in Munich for her Waltraute (Götterdämmerung), Erda (Rheingold, Siegfried) and Charlotte (The Soldier / Alois Zimmermann) under the baton of Kirill Petrenko, Ms. von der Damerau received high praise as Brangäne (Tristan and Isolde) under the baton of Simone Young.
She has appeared with Zubin Mehta as Waldtaube in Schönberg's Gurrelieder and as the alto soloist in Mahler's Lied von der Erde. She has sung in Mahler's II and III Symphony under Kent Nagano, Kirill Petrenko and Antonio Pappano. An audience favorite, Ms. Von der Damerau’s performances were also met with critical acclaim.
She works regularly with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Most recently, the mezzo-soprano made her debut as Brangäne with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst and performed with the Munich Philharmonic under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
Deeply dedicated to the art of lieder, Ms. Von der Damerau’s 2017 recording of Frank Martin's song cycle Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke with the Philharmonia Zurich under Fabio Luisi was met with high praise from music critics.
This season, Ms. von der Damerau has appeared on the concert stage in Lili Boulanger's Psalm CXXX with Edward Gardner at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with Kirill Petrenko, and at the Philharmonie Berlin with Staatskapelle Berlin in Mahler's Kindertotenlieder.
She made her debut at La Scala in Milan in 2015, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2016, and recently debuted at the Vienna State Opera and the Semperoper Dresden.
She was awarded the Jury Special Prize at the 2006 International Vocal Competition for Wagnerian Voices in Venice, and she received the Festival Prize of the Munich Opera Festival in 2013.
Current and upcoming projects include her role debuts as Azucena (Il Trovatore) at the Theater St. Gallen and the Bavarian State Opera, as well as Fricka (Die Walküre) at De Nationale Opera in Amsterdam. Future engagements will lead Ms. von der Damerau to the Teatro Real Madrid, the Metropolitan Opera New York and return her to the Vienna State Opera.
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