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The mezzo-soprano Ulrike Helzel is a native of Magdeburg and studied at the Leipzig Academy of Music. In 1990 she won second prize at the Dvorák Competition in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, and in 1995 she was given the Handel Award of the City of Halle. She began her stage career at the Saale City Opera in 1993 and three years later was made a member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensemble. There Helzel has performed many of the major mezzo roles, from Gluck’s Orpheus, Mozart’s Cherubino, and Humperdinck’s Hansel to Octavian in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and the fox in Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. In Berlin she has also devoted herself to such contemporary works as Salvatore Sciarrino’s music theater piece Infinito nero, in which she took up the role of Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. Since 2012 Helzel has been a member of the Vienna Staatsoper ensemble, where during the past season she appeared in Der Rosenkavalier, in the Ring of the Nibelung, and in Hans Werner Henze’s children’s opera Pollicino. She has additionally been invited to perform for such companies as Leipzig Opera, Dresden Semperoper, Bavarian Staatsoper in Munich, Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, and the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Since 2006 Helzel has been engaged every summer by the Bayreuth Festival, where she initially performed Wellgunde as part of the Ring ensemble and then sang the Second Esquire and Flowermaiden in Parsifal. As a concert singer, Ulrike Helzel has worked with such conductors as Marek Janowski, Helmuth Rilling, Christian Thielemann, and Lothar Zagrosek, while as a lieder interpreter she has performed songs by Zemlinsky, Brahms, and Mussorgsky.