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Swiss soprano Rachel Harnisch was born in Brig (Wallis) and studied singing with Beata Heuer-Christen in Freiburg. In 1998 she emerged as winner of the Belvedere Song Competition in Vienna. Initial engagements brought her to the Theater Bern, Zurich Opera, and the Grand Théâtre de Genève. As Pamina in Die Zauberflöte—one of her key roles—she made her debut at the Paris Opéra Bastille, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Bavarian Staatsoper; she likewise sang this role under the baton of Claudio Abbado in performances in Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, and Baden-Baden. In 2007 Rachel Harnisch went on to make several other important debuts, performing at the Glyndebourne Festival (as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte) and at La Scala in Milan in the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Teneke. In the last two seasons, she has appeared as Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice in Naples, as Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) in Turin, as Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) in Geneva, and as the Countess in Figaro at the Dresden Opera. In Bern in January 2010 she sang her first Blanche in Les Dialogues des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc. As a concert singer, Rachel Harnisch performs a wide repertoire ranging from the baroque to Luigi Nono; she has partnered with Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Philippe Herreweghe, Christopher Hogwood, Kent Nagano, and Michel Plasson. Under Abbado she has recorded two CDs. The first is a collection of Mozart arias with the Berlin Philharmonic, and the second, which was released in fall 2009, includes Pergolesi’s Stabat mater.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on August 28, 2003, singing lieder by Wolf, Messiaen, Schubert, and Holliger.