From: Tri-Cities, Washington. LA Opera: Desdemona in Otello (2023, debut); Violetta in La Traviata (2024).
American soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen is known for her diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to Wagner. A regular guest at the leading opera houses around the world, Le Monde enthused, "…the American soprano has without a doubt one of the most impressive voices in the opera world. The timbre, of marmoreal beauty, is striking, the projection telluric..." In 2021, Rachel signed a multi-record deal with Sony Classical. Her debut album was released on April 8, 2022, and her second CD, Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder, came out on March 10, 2023.
Ms. Willis-Sørensen opens the 2023/24 season with a return to the Grand Théâtre de Genève to perform the role of Elisabeth in Verdi’s Don Carlos which she debuted in Chicago last year. This season finds her performing two roles in two Verdi operas at the Vienna State Opera; her first engagement in Vienna includes a return to the role of Desdemona in Otello, followed by Elena in the Italian version of I Vespri Siciliani. Also in the winter, she makes her first role debut of the season, as Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann at Opéra national de Paris, also marking her house debut. In February, she performs the role of Elsa in Lohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera, and then returns to LA Opera as Violetta in La Traviata. She makes her debut at Santa Fe Opera in the summer to perform the role of the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. On the concert stage, she performs Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Bavarian State Opera, Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Vienna Konzerthaus, and Strauss’s Four Last Songs with Houston Symphony as part of their Strauss Festival under the baton of Juraj Valčuha.
Previous engagements include Elisabeth (Don Carlos) with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Rusalka at the San Francisco Opera and NDR Hamburg, Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) at Glyndebourne, Semperoper Dresden and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Violetta (La Traviata) at Opéra National de Bordeaux and the Bavarian State Opera, Marguerite (Faust) as part of the Royal Opera House’s tour of Japan, Elsa (Lohengrin) at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zurich, and Oper Frankfurt, Desdemona (Otello) at the Vienna State Opera, LA Opera and the Bavarian State Opera, Mimi (La Bohème) at the Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera and Semperoper Dresden, Countess (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Metropolitan Opera and the Vienna State Opera, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vienna State Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Semperoper Dresden, Hélène (Les Vêpres siciliennes) at the Bavarian State Opera, Valentine (Les Huguenots) at the Grand Théâtre Genève, Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) at the San Francisco Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes) at the Bavarian State Opera, Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden and the Vienna State Opera, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) at the Houston Grand Opera, Leonore (Fidelio) at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and Leonora (Il Trovatore) at the Teatro Regio di Torino, the Royal Opera House and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
Equally at home on the concert stage, she has performed Strauss's Four Last Songs multiple times, including notably at Buckingham Palace for an HRH Prince Charles birthday celebration, and joined Jonas Kaufmann in 2019 and 2020 for a multi-city European tour in support of his latest recording, Wien, on which she is featured. Other repertoire includes Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mahler’s 2nd, 4th and 8th Symphonies, Mendelssohn’s Elias, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and the Verdi Requiem.
Rachel was a member of the ensemble at the Dresdner Semperoper for three years, where she sang the title role in The Merry Widow, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito), Elettra (Idomeneo), Diemut (Feuersnot), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) and Mimi (La Bohème). She won first prize at the 2014 Operalia competition in Los Angeles and at the 2011 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, and she was a winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Brigham Young University and is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. An active presence on social media, she can be found on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok @rachewillissorensen and on X under @RWSing.
Learn more at RachelWillisSorensen.com.
Photo: Olivia Kahler