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Anne Schwanewilms

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Soprano Anne Schwanewilms emerged in the late 1990s as a promising young singer in dramatic roles. She has sung major Wagner parts and has become known as an important interpreter of the music of Richard Strauss, both operas and lieder. Schwanewilms was born in 1967 in Gelsenkirchen in West Germany's Ruhr region. She considered a career as a florist but then started voice lessons with the operatic bass Hans Sotin and others at the Musikhochschule Köln. After finishing her studies, she was a member of the Cologne Opera Studio from 1990 to 1992, then joined the permanent cast of the Cologne Opera, remaining there until 1996. At that point, she was a mezzo-soprano, but she changed direction, learning soprano repertory and even canceling already-booked commitments. Launching herself as a freelancer, Schwanewilms quickly found roles; she was invited to the Bayreuth Festival in 1996 to appear as one of the Valkyries in Wagner's Die Walküre and in the second female lead of Gutrune in Götterdämmerung. Schwanewilms was invited back several times to Bayreuth and appeared at the Salzburg Festival as well, and her name spread through other houses. She appeared at major houses around Germany, continental Europe, Britain, and Japan. Schwanewilms appeared on several operatic recordings in the late 1990s and made her solo debut on the Somm label in 2000 in the cantata Around the Curve of the World by Francis Grier. In 2005, she was heard with the Hallé Orchestra in Strauss lieder, and she later joined Vignoles on the Hyperion label's series of Strauss songs, and with the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne in Strauss' Four Last Songs. Her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera came in 2013 as the Kaiserin in Richard Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten. By that time, she had added major Strauss operatic roles to her repertory, including Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos, the Feldmarschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and Danae in Die Liebe der Danae. She also sings major Italian roles, including Desdemona in Verdi's Otello. Schwanewilms is regarded as a major Strauss specialist, and she is an enthusiastic interpreter of lieder by Strauss and others, working with top-notch accompanists such as Malcolm Martineau, Roger Vignoles, and Charles Spencer. Schwanewilms joined the faculty of the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar in 2018. In 2021, by which time her recording catalog included more than 30 albums, she appeared on a London Philharmonic recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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