– World management –
Michelle Breedt obtained her B.Mus. Degree at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. After an apprenticeship at the opera houses in Cape Town and Pretoria, she continued her studies at the Guildhall School in London. In 1990 she moved to Germany where she became a member of the Opera Studio in Cologne, thereafter she joined the Ensemble of the State Theater in Braunschweig. Whilst there, she began to build her extensive repertoire of roles, ranging from the Mozart mezzo-soprano repertoire to Belcanto roles like Adalgisa and Romeo (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), encompassing non-standard repertoire like Diana/Giove in La Calisto and Anna in Kurt Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden. Another important role debut became Mélisande. Pelléas et Mélisande was directed by Brigitte Fassbaender under whose guidance Michelle Breedt also sang her first Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Charlotte in Werther, Carmen, and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde. Ms. Fassbaender continues to be Michelle Breedt’s artistic and vocal advisor.
Since then Michelle Breedt is a regular guest at the Wiener Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Semperoper Dresden and the Hamburgische Staatsoper.
In September 2000 she joined the Ensemble of the Vienna State Opera for a three year period, covering a variety of roles including Niklausse (Les comtes d’Hoffmann), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Stéphano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Octavian. She won the Eberhard Waechter Medaille. Freelance from 2004, she continued her association with the Staatsoper singing Brangäne in 2005 and 2006. In summer 2000 she made her highly acclaimed Bayreuth debut as Magdalene in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Wolfgang Wagner’s production under the baton of Christian Thielemann. She returned to Bayreuth in 2001 and 2002. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 Michelle Breedt was re-invited to Bayreuth – this time as Fricka in the new production of the Ring cycle, again under Thielemann. She also appeared as Brangäne and as Venus (Tannhäuser) at the prestigious festival.
Her international Engagements included the Paris Opera, Octavian at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and in a new Willy Decker production in Amsterdam, and Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and Octavian in Dresden. The Komponist has become a particularly important role (Lisbon, Ferrara and Modena and a new production in Zürich 2006/7). In 2005 she sang Cherubino in Tokyo. After a production of Don Carlo in Innsbruck in 2004 she also sang the role of Eboli in the French version at the Staatsoper in Hamburg (2008 and 2009). A further highlight was the new production of Menotti’s Goya in Vienna where she performed the role of the Duchess of Alba alongside Placido Domingo (2004).
Further important projects include Theater an der Wien – new production Dialogues des Carmélites, Staatsoper Hamburg – Don Carlo (Eboli), Zurich – new production Fledermaus (Orlofsky), Komponist und Brangäne, Berlin Philharmonic – Haydn’s Orlando Paladino under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Cape Town – new production Werther, Zurich – Rusalka (Foreign Princess), Bregenz Festival, English National Opera and Houston – Die Passagierin, Tannhäuser (Venus) in Dresden, Brangäne in Strasbourg, Iphigénie en Aulide at the Theater an der Wien, Dialogues des Carmélites (Mère Marie) at the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, Walküre (Fricka) in Oviedo, Brangäne in Munich, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, in Torino, Amsterdam and in Rome, Walküre (Fricka) in Bari.
Michelle Breedt also performs regularly as a concert and recital singer. Since 1997 she has regularly been invited to the famous Schubertiade Festival. In August 2004 she made her recital debut at the Salzburg Festival, returning in 2005. She was also invited to the Wigmore Hall in London, to the Berlin Philharmonie and the Konzerthaus Berlin, to Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein. She has worked with conductors like Seiji Ozawa, Christian Thielemann, Bertrand de Billy, Helmuth Rilling, Franz Welser-Möst, Jeffrey Tate, Peter Schneider, Philippe Jordan and Gerd Albrecht.
One composer has always taken an important place within Michelle Breedt’s concert repertoire: Gustav Mahler (Lied von der Erde, 2nd and 3rd symphonies, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder).
Michelle Breedt’s discography is considerable – her recording of Korngold’s Ein Sommernachtstraum under Gerd Albrecht won the German Critics Award. Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro under Michael Halasz was released in 2004. La clemenza di Tito was published by Sony. A recording of the Wesendonk-Lieder was released in 2005.