Though she has achieved much acclaim for her Wagnerian roles — and rightly so, mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier possesses a vast repertory — not to mention a consummate skill — in Italian, French, and even Russian opera, from Bizet’s Carmen and Tchaikovsky’s Jeanne d’Arc to Verdi’s Azucena (Il Trovatore) and Saint-Saëns’ Dalila (Samson and Dalila). She has also sung a fair number of soprano roles, including Wagner’s Isolde and Mascagni’s Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana). Among other Wagner roles she has interpreted with distinction are Kundry (Parsifal), Waltraute (Götterdämmerung), Sieglinde and Fricka (Die Walküre), Venus (Tannhäuser), and Otrud (Lohengrin). But Meier’s repertory extends to concert work and the recital hall, as well, taking in lieder of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Richard Strauss; the Requiems of Verdi and Mozart; Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; Mahler’s Symphonies No. 2 and No. 8 and Das Lied von der Erde; and much else. She has appeared on numerous CDs and DVDs, many of which are available on DG, EMI, Erato, Sony, Virgin Classics, Warner Classics, Teldec, OpusArte, and Unitel.
The Aristipposian Poet
The Life You Give: Waltraut Meier
in celebration of her life in music
January 9 at 9:30 pm EST
Waltraud Meier was born in Würzburg, Germany, on January 9, 1956. She sang in numerous choruses as a child and teen. Her initial studies were in English and Romance languages, but she also took voice lessons privately with Dietger Jacob in Cologne.
In 1976 she debuted at the Würzburg Opera singing Lola in Cavalleria. From 1976-1978 she was a member of the Mannheim Opera, where she sang many roles.
1980 was a pivotal year for Meier: she made her international debut as Fricka in Buenos Aires at the famed Teatro Colon, and she was also taken on as a member of the Dortmund Opera, serving until 1983.
Meier’s 1983 Bayreuth debut as Kundry was a sensation, catapulting her to international renown. She sang at Hanover for a season (1983-1984) and at Stuttgart for three (1985-1988). Meanwhile, she made a string of important debuts: Covent Garden (1984) as Princess Eboli (Verdi’s Don Carlos); the Met (1987), again as Fricka; and the Vienna State Opera (1988) as Venus.
From her highly acclaimed 1993 Bayreuth appearance as Isolde, Meier has regularly sung dramatic soprano roles. At the 2001 Munich Opera Festival she gave her debut performance of Didon in Berlioz’s Les Troyens, again drawing rave notices. Meier reprised Isolde at La Scala in 2007, with Daniel Barenboim conducting. In 2009 a recording based on the La Scala Tristan und Isolde performances was issued on Virgin Classics.
by Robert Cummings / Source: all music