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B i o g r a p h y


"...a voice of ravishing luster..." 

                                                          - The New York Times




Emily Magee is today in great demand on the leading opera and concert stages of the world, earning her recognition as one of the most important voices of her generation. Her sumptuous, radiant voice and intelligent, attractive stage presence have won her acclaim in a wide variety of roles, particularly those of Richard Strauss and Wagner, alongside roles of Puccini, Verdi, Janaček, Britten and others.  The American soprano has appeared on opera and concert stages throughout the world under the direction of such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Christian Thielemann, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Antonio Pappano, Franz Welser-Möst, Donald Runnicles, Simon Rattle,  Sir Andrew Davis, Semyon Bychkov, and Christoph von Dohnanyi.  In addition to performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, The Royal Opera, Zürich, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Chicago, San Francisco and La Scala, Emily has appeared at Europe's finest summer festivals including Salzburg, Bayreuth, and Lucerne.



Critically acclaimed for her interpretation of Strauss' complex and wide ranging heroines, alongside those of Wagner and Puccini, Emily's celebrated portrayal of the Kaiserin in Die Frau ohne Schatten has taken her to some of the world's most famed houses - La Scala, Tokyo, Hamburg, Zürich and, most recently, the Royal Opera House.   It has become one of her signature roles, alongside Ariadne, which she has sung in Zürich, at the Salzburg Festival, at the Semperoper Dresden as well as the Bavarian State Opera.   She has also triumphed in the roles of Elsa in Lohengrin, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, and in further roles of Strauss, such as Salome, Arabella, Capriccio's Gräfin, and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.   Recent role debuts include the role of Leonore in Fidelio as well as the heroines of Puccini's Tosca and La Fanciulla del West.   In recent years, she has also performed in a wide variety of other roles, including Ursula in Mathis der Maler, the title role in Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, and as Janaček's Jenůfa.


Recent highlights include her Metropolitan Opera Debut as the Foreign Princess in Rusalka, and a series of concerts of Strauss' Four Last Songs with the leading orchestras of the day.




Emily can be seen on DVD:


as Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos from the Salzburg Festival

as Tosca in Tosca from the Zürich Opera House

as Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos from the Zürich Opera House 

      - Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik , Best DVD, 2008

as Liza in Pique Dame from Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes from the Zürich Opera House 

       - Gramophone Editor's Choice March 2008

as Elsa in Lohengrin from the Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

as Desdemona in Otello from the Berliner Staatsoper,

as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro from the Berliner Staatsoper.


And on CD:


as Die Fremde Fürstin from Rusalka from the Salzburg Festival

as Elsa in Lohengrin from the Staatsoper Berlin

as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg from the Bayreuth Festival.





Emily received her education at Westminster Choir College and Indiana University, where she studied with acclaimed dramatic soprano Margaret Harshaw.   From there she began her operatic training at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she also made her professional debut,  returning to that company to sing in several leading roles, including Fiordiligi, Liu, Marguerite, and Ellen Orford.  Shortly thereafter, she began her European career with Daniel Barenboim as Elsa in Berlin and as Eva in Meistersinger at the Bayreuth Festival under the direction of Wolfgang Wagner. She enjoyed a very productive relationship with the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin for a number of years, singing many leading roles, followed by a closely collaborative partnership with the Opernhaus Zürich, where she sang in a wide variety of roles for many years, and still performs today.  Emily enjoyed six seasons of performing with the Bayreuth Festival and then several seasons with the Salzburg Festival.  She has  sung on the stages of all the great opera houses of the world and become one of the most in demand artists of the present day.

Emily makes her home in Boulder, Colorado.

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