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Waltraud Meier initially studied En-glish and Romance languages after obtaining her high school diploma and also took private voice instruction with Anton Theisen and Dietger Jacob in Cologne. In 1976 she decided to embark on an artistic career and made her debut at the opera house of her native city of Würzburg. During the following years, as a member of the company ensembles in Mannheim, Dortmund, Hanover, and Stuttgart, she took on a wide-range of the mezzo-soprano repertoire, including such roles as Bizet’s Carmen, Eboli in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Octavian in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and Wagner’s Fricka and Venus. In 1983 she made a sensational debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Kundry, thus launching her international career. Thereafter she became a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; La Scala in Milan; the Opéra National de Paris; the Vienna, Dresden, and Bavarian Staatsoper companies; and the Royal Opera House in London. At the beginning of the 1990s Meier started expanding into the soprano repertoire and enjoyed successes as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Isolde in Tristan, Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck, and Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio. Credits in the 2013-14 season have included Klytämnestra in Strauss’s Elektra in Paris, Dresden, and Milan; Santuzza in Leoncavallo’s Cavalleria rusticana at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Kundry at the Vienna Staatsoper. Meier is also deeply committed to singing in concert and lieder recitals; she has worked with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Christian Thielemann. She won a Grammy Award for her performance in Tannhäuser. Waltraud Meier is a Bavarian and Austrian Kammersängerin, and in 2005 she was named a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 26 August 2004 as Leonore in a concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio, which was conducted by Daniel Barenboim.