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.
Ms. Willis-Sørensen opens the 2022/23 season with a return to the Bayerische Staatsoper to perform the role of Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes which she debuted earlier in the year. She then makes her first role debut of the season, as Elisabeth in Verdi’s Don Carlos with Lyric Opera of Chicago. This season finds her performing two roles at the Wiener Staatsoper. Her first engagement in Vienna includes a return to the role of Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, followed by Mimi in La Bohème. In the spring, she performs the role of Violetta in La Traviata at the Bayerische Staatsoper, and makes her house debut at LA Opera as Desdemona. She returns to the Royal Opera House to perform the role of Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. On the concert stage, she performs Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder in Copenhagen, Denmark, Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Insula Orchestra in Linz, Austria, and an open air concert in Waldbühne, Berlin, alongside Jonas Kaufmann. Her second CD, Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder, comes out March 10 on Sony Classical.
Previous engagements include Rusalka (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, 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 Wiener Staatsoper and the Bayerische Staatsoper, Mimi (La Bohème) at the Bayerische Staatsoper and Semperoper Dresden, Countess (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Metropolitan Opera and the Wiener Staatsoper, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wiener Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera and Semperoper Dresden, Hélène (Les Vêpres siciliennes) at the Bayerische Staatsoper, 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 Bayerische Staatsoper, Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden and the Wiener Staatsoper, Fiordiligi (Cosi 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 and Gran Teatre del Liceu.
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 Stabat Mater, 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 Die lustige Witwe, 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 Twitter under @RWSing.
Learn more at RachelWillisSorensen.com.
Photo: Olivia Kahler