Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen is quickly gaining international recognition as one of the most outstanding voices of her generation. A winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the New York Times hailed her “gleaming voice, capped with big top notes”. She was also the first prize winner of the 2011 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, earning the top honors in both the opera and operetta categories.
This season Ms. Willis-Sørensen returns to the Semperoper Dresden Ensemble to sing the roles of Mimi (La bohème), Hanna Glawari (Die lustige Witwe), Fiordiligi (in a new production of Così fan tutte), and Diemut (Feuersnot). Additionally, she performs five Wagner concerts in Scandinavia with Bryn Terfel, appears as the soprano soloist in Mahler 2 with Chung and the Dresden Staatskapelle, and in Beethoven 9 with Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale della Santa Cecilia.
In the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Willis-Sørensen returned to Covent Garden as Gutrune in Götterdämmerung under Antonio Pappano and Houston Grand Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. As a member of the ensemble at Semperoper Dresden, she made role debuts in a new productions of Idomeneo as Elettra as well as revivals of Don Giovanni (Donna Anna), and La clemenza di Tito (Vitellia). Highlights of future seasons include leading roles at Semperoper Dresden, Royal Opera House-Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, and Houston Grand Opera.
In the 2011 – 2012 season, Ms. Willis-Sørensen made her Royal Opera House-Covent Garden debut as Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro under music director Antonio Pappano, a role which she also debuted at Michigan Opera Theatre. Ms. Willis-Sørensen also debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under Leonard Slatkin at the Hollywood Bowl. Additionally, she appeared at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Gotham Chamber Opera as Licenza in Christopher Alden’s production of Mozart’s rarely-heard Il sogno di Scipione to celebrate Ms. Willis-Sørensen is a recent alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
In the 2010 – 2011 season, she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte in the HGO Studio performances. She also covered Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos. Ms. Willis-Sørensen made her mainstage debut as Masha in Pique Dame and covered both Elsa in Lohengrin and the Governess in The Turn of the Screw in the 2009 – 2010 season at Houston Grand Opera. Ms. Willis-Sørensen made her Santa Fe Opera debut as the First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and performed excerpts from Arabella as a member of their Apprentice Program. Additional awards for Ms. Willis-Sørensen include first place in the 2009 Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers in Houston and the 2010 Sara Tucker Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. She holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Brigham Young University.
In 2014, she won the Female Prize, the Zarzuela prize and the Birgit Nilsson prize for her performance of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser (Dich, teure Halle) and of Frederico Moreno Torroba's Luisa Fernanda (De este apacible rincón de Madrid) at Operalia, Plácido Domingo's opera singer competition.