Emily Magee

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Emily Magee


• Born 1965


Though American soprano Emily Magee launched her career with the Chicago Lyric Opera as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte, she has largely built her career in Europe and has had great success in the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. That said, the scope of her career is large: her repertory encompasses roles from the operas of Verdi, Puccini, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Johann Strauss, Jr., Korngold, Britten, Janácek, Martinu, and many others; and while she has been active largely on the major operatic stages in Europe, Magee has appeared in San Francisco and Tokyo, and she returned to Chicago for several further appearances, including a scheduled February 2011 performance of Lohengrin (Elsa). Magee possesses a radiant, rather powerful soprano voice that can easily hold its own against the orchestra in heavily scored passages. She has recorded for EMI Classics, Arthaus Musik, Teldec, Euroarts, and TDK.

Emily Magee was born in New York City on October 31, 1965. She studied music at Westminster Choir College and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where her most important teacher was the iconic American soprano Margaret Harshaw. Magee's 1995 debut with the Chicago Lyric Opera was followed by several other important and equally acclaimed debuts, including at the Berlin-based Staatsoper unter den Linden in 1996 (Elsa) and the 1997 Bayreuth Festival (Eva in Die Meistersinger).

Magee returned to Bayreuth every year through 2002, singing Eva, and, in 1998 only, as Freia in Das Rheingold. She would eventually appear at such major opera houses as the Teatro alla Scala, Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, the Vienna State Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Covent Garden, the Bavarian State Opera and the Zurich Opera House.

Magee regularly appears in Zurich: her 2003 performance of Elektra there was highly acclaimed, as were many later performances, including the stunning 2005 Britten Peter Grimes (Ellen Orford), 2006 Richard Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos (Primadonna/Ariadne), and the 2008 Martinu The Greek Passion (Katerina). Magee debuted at the Salzburg Festival in August 2008 in a performance of Dvorák's Rusalka, where she sang the Foreign Princess, with Franz Welser-Möst conducting the Cleveland Orchestra.

Among Magee's later recordings is her 2009 TDK DVD of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Her portrayal of Ariadne, drawn from live performances at the Zurich Opera House in December 2006, drew rave reviews across the globe. Despite the demands of her mostly European-based career, Magee lives in Boulder, CO.