Okka von der Damerau
– World management –
Okka von der Damerau has established herself as one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation. Whether in roles by Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi or in the songs of Gustav Mahler or Arnold Schönberg: with her powerful, nuanced mezzo-soprano and her clear, natural diction, the Hamburg-born singer senses the authentic tone in every character, which connects her with her audience.
In addition to various opera engagements, including Ulrica (Ballo in maschera) at the Liceu in Barcelona, Jezibaba (Rusalka) at the Vienna State Opera and Venus in Tannhäuser at the Bavarian State Opera, the 2023/ 24 season also sees her in various orchestral concerts. For example, she participates in several concert projects of the Munich Philharmonic in Germany and abroad and sings Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Bavarian State Orchestra under the musical direction of Kirill Petrenko. Further international concert engagements will take her to the Tokyo Spring Festival and to the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul with Mahler’s 3rd Symphony under the direction of Pietrari Inkinen.
Okka von der Damerau was an ensemble member of the Bavarian State Opera for many years, where she was celebrated as Waltraute (Götterdämmerung), Erda (Rheingold, Siegfried) and Charlotte (Die Soldaten / Alois Zimmermann) under Kirill Petrenko, but also as Azucena (Il Trovatore).
From Munich, her international career took off. After her debut in 2015, she last appeared on stage at La Scala in Milan in the summer of 2023 in a new production of Rusalka directed by Emma Dante. In addition, she can regularly been seen at most important international opera stages, such as the Opéra national de Paris, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro di San Carlo Naples, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Semperoper Dresden and at the Bayreuth Festival.
Okka von der Damerau made highly acclaimed role debuts in the 2022/ 23 season. Her repertoire was expanded by two interesting roles: Brünnhilde (Walküre), which she sang for the first time at the Stuttgart State Opera under the musical direction of Cornelius Meister, and Ariadne (title role), which she debuted with overwhelming success at the Bavarian State Opera.
Another important role in her vast repertoire is Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde), which she debuted in 2017 – acclaimed by audiences and press alike – under Simone Young at the Bavarian State Opera. In a new production, she was on stage again with this role in Munich in 2021, this time under the musical direction of Kirill Petrenko. Gustavo Dudamel conducted her performances as Brangäne at the Paris Opera and semi-staged performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Besides her various opera engagements, also concert are an important component of her artistic work. Okka von der Damerau works with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Staatskapelle and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. In 2018, the mezzo-soprano made her Cleveland Orchestra debut as Brangäne under Franz Welser-Möst.
Other important concert engagements have taken her to the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with Lili Boulanger’s Psalm CXXX under Edward Gardner and to the Salzburg Festival with Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder under the baton of Daniel Barenboim.
Okka von der Damerau devotes herself with great passion to lieder singing. Her 2017 recording of Frank Martin’s song cycle Die Weise von Liebe und Tod with Cornet Christoph Rilke with the Philharmonia Zürich under Fabio Luisi was highly acclaimed.
At the International Singing Competition for Wagnerian Voices in Venice, Okka von der Damerau was awarded the Special Jury Prize in 2006. In 2013 she received the Festival Prize of the Munich Opera Festival.
November 2023 – For the most recent biography, please contact Bartosz Jakobczak