A German soprano has conquered America

A German soprano has conquered America


norman lebrecht

March 15, 2018

Evelyn Herlitzius was past 50, approaching retirement age for an opera singer, when she made her US debut in January as Kundry in the Met’s Parsifal.

Next, she’s singing Brünnhilde in San Francisco’s Ring this summer.

Evelyn says: ‘I don’t know why it never happened before.’

What took them so long?

Report by AP’s Mike Silverman.


  • Dominic Stafford says:

    Who told you 50 is approaching retirement age for a singer?! She should be in the meat of her career at that age!

    • Clarrieu says:

      It’s “Lebrecht Day” today: sopranos retire at 52, and Marguerite Long was a mediocre pianist. Hopefully, like stockmarket prices, the reality will be different tomorrow…

  • Wiebke Göetjes says:

    You must be a man saying this….. Menopause is very unpredictable for female singers around 50. Some get through it lightly and only have a few ‘weak’ years, many don’t and have to stop…Hormones are stronger than willpower.

  • John Rook says:

    A very good question. I first heard EH at Bayreuth in 2004 as Brünnhilde and she was exceptional. How she has flown under the US’s biggest houses’ radars for so long is something I’ll never understand. San Francisco is in for a treat.

    • Hanna Nahan says:

      Because US houses want beautiful voices, not artists. Herlitzius does not have a conventionally beautiful voice. Also, US houses shy away from her repertoire (except Wagner) because they can’t sell it. No great problem. We in Europe appreciate her, and we’ll be around long after the US has hoist itself on its own political and financial petard…

  • Caravaggio says:

    I don’t know but I have heard her in excerpts from Walküre as Brünnhi and it was ghastly. Think it was this one


    True, doesn’t help the recording quality is poor but …..

  • Pedro says:

    Sbe was the superb Elektra in Chéreau’s superb production in Aix. A DVD exists.

  • MacroV says:

    Have U.S. companies been ignoring her? I recall a piece about her a year or two ago – by Alex Ross, I think – about her being a great singer who chooses to stay close to home, but that Peter Gelb, among others, was ready to move mountains to get her at the MET. Well, she finally appeared.

  • Martin says:

    always funny, when the US experts “discover” someone who ist around for 20 years or so at major European houses.

    • Bruce says:

      I still remember reading about Salvatore Licitra’s Met debut, a few years after his well-received recording of Trovatore with Muti came out. They seemed to think that subbing for Pavarotti (I think) was his big break.

  • Caravaggio says:

    The German soprano returns next season to Berlin in her signature role of Elektra. By many accounts she should have been the Elektra at the Metropolitan these days.

    Staatsoper Unter den Linden
    27. JANUAR 2019 18:00 UHR
    3. FEBRUAR 2019 18:00 UHR
    16. FEBRUAR 2019 19:30 UHR
    24. FEBRUAR 2019 18:00 UHR

    INSZENIERUNG Patrice Chéreau

    KLYTÄMNESTRA Waltraud Meier
    ELEKTRA Evelyn Herlitzius
    CHRYSOTHEMIS Vida Miknevičiūtė
    AEGISTH Stephan Rügamer
    OREST René Pape
    1. MAGD Bonita Hyman
    2. MAGD Marina Prudenskaya
    3. MAGD Katharina Kammerloher
    4. MAGD Anna Samuil
    5. MAGD Roberta Alexander

    Opera Royalty.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Can eagle eyed commenters remind me of her appearances at ROH?