Evelyn Herlitzius (born 27 April 1963) is a German opera singer, a dramatic soprano. She is known for performing major roles in works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, such as Brünnhilde, Isolde and Elektra, at the Semperoper, the Bayreuth Festival and leading European opera houses.

Career

Born in Osnabrück, Herlitzius first trained to be a dancer. She then studied voice with Hans Kagel and Eckart Lindemann at the Musikhochschule Hamburg.[1] Her debut on the opera stage was as Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser at the Landestheater Flensburg. After a year she became a member of the Hamburgische Staatsoper.

Semperoper

Herlitzius was a member of the Semperoper in Dresden from 1997 to 2000, singing major parts such as Janáček's Jenůfa, both Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser, Sieglinde and Brünnhilde in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Kundry in his Parsifal, the dyer's wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss, his Salome and Puccini's Turandot. The title role in Strauss' Elektra earned her a second Faust award for excellent acting as a singer. In 2014/15 she has appeared as Leonore in Fidelio.[2]

Bayreuth

Her debut at the Bayreuth Festival was in 2002 the part of Brünnhilde in Wagner's Ring, repeated in the following years. In 2006 and 2007 she was Kundry in Parsifal, in 2010 Ortrud in Lohengrin.[1] In 2015 she stepped in to sing Isolde in the opening of the Bayreuth Festival, staged by Katharina Wagner and conducted by Christian Thielemann.[3]Martin Kettle wrote in The Guardian of her "radiant account of the scene" closing the work.[3]

Guest performances

Herlitzius performed as a guest at the major opera houses: Gutrune in Wagner's Götterdämmerung at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Marie in Berg's Wozzeck and Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio at the Saarländisches Staatstheater (de) in Saarbrücken, Leonore also at the Bregenzer Festspiele of 1996,[1] Venus in Henze's Venus und Adonis at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Sieglinde in Wagner's Die Walküre, conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and Isolde in Tristan und Isolde at the Aalto Theatre in Essen. In 2010 she performed the title role in Janáček's Katja Kabanowa at the Théâtre de la Monnaie. She appeared as Elektra at the Aix-en-Provence 2013, in the last production of stage director Patrice Chéreau. A reviewer called her Elektra "a creature of mesmerising intensity", and wrote "Singing tirelessly and trenchantly – her top notes searing, her delivery of the text pellucid – Herlitzius nails all the character's lithe foxy intelligence and never sinks to histrionic ham or rant."[4]

Teaching

Herlitzius has also worked as a voice teacher. Her students have included Mojca Erdmann.

Awards

  • 1999: Christel Goltz Prize (de) of the foundation for the Semper Opera[1]
  • 2002: Kammersängerin of Saxony[1]
  • 2006: Faust in the category Beste Sängerdarstellerleistung im Musiktheater (Best singing and acting in musical theatre)[1]
  • 2014: Faust (for Elektra in Dresden)[2]