The Kennedy Center

Anne Schwanewilms


The German soprano Anne Schwanewilms is considered one of today's finest interpreters of music by Strauss and Wagner. Because of her unique stage presence and her multi-faceted voice, she is one of the most sought after singers in the international opera scene, having also successfully maintained a level of artistic versatility that is reflected in a wide-ranging repertoire from Italian opera to oratorios and lieder.

Renowned conductors and orchestras have accompanied her on the opera and concert stages of the world. She has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Radio Hilversum, the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Halle, and the Orchestre National de France, and with such conductors as Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Mark Elder, Kent Nagano, Kurt Masur, and James Levine.

Anne Schwanewilms has sung a broad operatic repertoire ranging from lyrical German, Italian, and French works to modern composers such as Franz Schreker, in whose opera Die Gezeichneten she sang the role of Carlotta to much critical acclaim at the Salzburg Festival in 2005.

Among other major roles are Elettra in Mozart's Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, London, Berlin, Lucerne, Salzburg); Desdemona in Verdi's Otello (Malmo, Dresden and in concert under Sir Colin Davis in London); Elsa in Wagner's Lohengrin (La Scala, Cologne, Dresden, Paris, and Amsterdam); the title role in Robert Schumann's Genoveva (Leipzig, Rotterdam, Paris and Lyon under Jun Maerkl); Grete in Schreker's Der ferne Klang (Berlin, Amsterdam); the title role in Euryanthe (Glyndebourne, London); Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmelites (Hamburg); Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser (Berlin,  Dresden, Japan); Roxana in Karol Szymanowski's King Roger (Barcelona); and the Countess in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (Berlin, Chicago).

She is particularly fond of the music of Richard Strauss and sang Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos) at the Theater an der Wien (Vienna), in concert in London under Sir Simon Rattle (Barbican) as well as at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden under Sir Colin Davis, at the Berlin Staatsoper, the Dresden Semperoper and the Teatro Real in Madrid; Chrysothemis (Elektra) in London (Covent Garden), Milan, Berlin, Hamburg. and at New York's Avery Fisher Hall; Danae (Die Liebe der Danae) in Dresden and in concert in Amsterdam under Edo de Waart; the title role (Arabella) at the Frankfurt Opera, conducted by Sebastian Weigle, the Vienna Staatsoper ,and the Dresden Semperoper; and, with immense success, the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Netherlands Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago under Sir Andrew Davis, in Copenhagen, Dresden, Monaco, Paris, São Paulo, Japan, and Munich. She made her role debut as the Kaiserin in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Salzburg 2011 Summer Festival.

The soprano has sung Strauss's Four Last Songs in the Musikverein (Vienna) with the Dresden Staatskapelle under Fabio Luisi, with the Halle Orchestra, and Sir Mark Elder, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival under Christoph von Dohnányi, in London, Oxford, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Milan, Stuttgart, and Strasbourg.

In concert, Anne Schwanewilms sings works by Berg, Mahler, Strauss, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schoenberg, Verdi, and Wagner. Important engagements have included Beethoven's Missa Solemnis under Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Orchestre National de France under Kurt Masur, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach; Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony in Lille, Graz and Berlin with Michael Gielen; Berg's Bruchstücke in Amsterdam and Paris; Mahler's Second Symphony in Bamberg and Baden-Baden; Mahler's Eighth Symphony in Vienna; Mahler's Fourth Symphony in Oxford; the Verdi Requiem in New York (Avery Fisher Hall) and Liverpool; Schoenberg's Gurrelieder in Amsterdam, Rome and Brussels; Berlioz's Les Nuits d'ete in London; Berg's concert aria Der Wein in Amsterdam and Mendelssohn's Second Symphony under Riccardo Chailly in Leipzig.

An eminent lieder singer, Anne Schwanewilms works closely with leading lieder accompanists of our time - Charles Spencer, Roger Vignoles and Malcolm Martineau - with whom she appeared in international concert halls in Barcelona, Strasbourg, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, and Washington (Kennedy Center). With Roger Vignoles, she recorded a selection of songs by Richard Strauss, which was nominated by BBC Music Magazine as 2008 Vocal Recording of the Year.

Her discography includes Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the Concertgebouw under Chailly, Mendelssohn's Lobgesang with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (again with Chailly), both released on the Decca label; as Chrysothemis in Strauss's Elektra with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Semyon Bychkov; in Mahler's Second Symphony with the Bamberg Symphony under Jonathan Nott and in Messiaen's Poèmes pour mi with the Orchestre National de Lyon under Jun Märkl. On DVD, she can be seen in the Salzburg Festival production of Schreker's Die Gezeichneten (with Kent Nagano), the Dresden staging of Der Rosenkavalier on tour in Japan (with Fabio Luisi) and Wagner's Lohengrin live at the Concertgebouw with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest under Jaap van Zweden. Two solo CDs - with the WDR Symphony Orchestra (Wagner, Schreker, Mozart) and the Gürzenich Orchestra with Markus Stenz (Richard Strauss) - will be released in December 2011.

Anne Schwanewilms was honored with a Singer of the Year Award by the magazine Opernwelt in 2002.

March 2012
Anne Schwanewilms