January 9, 1956 - Wurtzbourg (Germany)
German mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier was born in Würzburg. She grew up in a home full of music-making, and as early as her school and college days she already sang in five different choruses. After completing her secondary education, she initially studied English and Romance languages while taking singing lessons at the same time.
In 1976 Waltraud Meier decided to concentrate on a singing career and made her debut at the Würzburg Opera as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana. During the following years the mezzo-soprano gained a wide repertoire from regular engagements in Mannheim (1978-1980), Dortmund (1980-1983), Hanover (1983-1984), and Stuttgart (1985-1988). Waltraud Meier made her international debut in 1980 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Fricka in Die Walküre.
Celebrated in her roles as Kundry, Isolde, Ortrud, Venus, and Sieglinde, Waltraud Meier is today considered as one of the most internationally significant Wagner singers of our time. Also in the Italian and French repertoire the great power of her musical and dramatic expression enjoys worldwide demand in the roles of Eboli, Amneris, and Didon. With her sensational performance as Santuzza under the baton of Ricardo Muti she conquered the Italian audience.
Waltraud Meier has collaborated with such significant directors as Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Luc Bondy, Harry Kupfer, Götz Friedrich, Klaus-Michael Grüber, and Patrice Chéreau. Great directors, above all Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Christian Thielemann, and Valery Gergiev, have come to appreciate the extraordinary fusion of passion, creativity, and clear intellect in the strength of Waltraud Meier's musical personality.
Her extremely fruitful collaboration with Patrice Chéreau on Alban Berg's Wozzeck brought about the desire for further joint productions. At the opening of the 2007/2008 Scala season Waltraud Meier sang - again with Barenboim - in Chéreau's psychologically deeply profound production of Tristan and Isolde.
For years Waltraud Meier had close links with the concerns and aims of the West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra with whom she works on many tours.
The following years will see Waltraud Meier not only deepen and accentuate her repertoire as a singer and performer, but also expand it with new roles. In the summer of 2010 she appeared as Klytämnestra at the Salzburg Festival. In addition she continued her collaboration with Patrice Chéreau with a staged improvisation of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder at the Louvre Museum.
An extensive discography and videography as well as many productions available on DVD testify to the versatility of this unique singer's power of interpretation, musicality, vocal beauty, and art of singing. A highly acclaimed winner of many awards Waltraud Meier was honored with the title of "Kammersängerin" by both the Bavarian State Opera and the Vienna State Opera. She lives in Munich.