To many, Diana Damrau is the complete coloratura soprano: with a beautiful voice and astounding technique that allow her to reach the highest notes with seeming ease, she has a keen sense for drama, giving her operatic characters real emotions and total believability. She also exudes a likeable quality on-stage, and, her many fans eagerly note, sex appeal. While she is perhaps best known for roles in Mozart and Richard Strauss operas, her repertory takes in operas by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, and many others. She also sings lieder by Richard Strauss, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, Robert and Clara Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Mahler, Berg, and Wolf. Damrau has appeared at the Met countless times since 2005 and has made regular appearances at Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and at the leading concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Musikverein. Damrau's recordings are available from EMI, Virgin Classics, DG, Opus Arte, and other major labels.
Diana Damrau was born in Günzburg, Germany, on May 31, 1971. Her vocal studies were at the Würzburg Musikhochschule, where her teachers included Carmen Hanganu. Damrau had further studies in Salzburg with Hanna Ludwig. Damrau steadily built her career, beginning with appearances at the Stadttheater Würzburg, and then at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and the Frankfurt Opera. During this period Damrau often sang in operettas (e.g., Lehár's The Merry Widow) and musicals (My Fair Lady).
Damrau debuted at Covent Garden in 2003 as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute. The following year she sang the title role in Salieri's L'Europa riconosciuta in a television broadcast from La Scala, Riccardo Muti conducting. The breakthroughs continued with her 2005 Met debut as Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. In November 2007 Damrau astounded Met audiences when she sang Pamina for six performances and then, in the same run, the difficult Queen of the Night for two.
2007 was also the year her first major recordings were issued, six of them! They included The Magic Flute (Decca), Mozart's Ascanio in Alba (DG), and Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Telos). After the birth of a son in 2010, Damrau resumed her busy schedule: in January 2011 she sang Elvira in Bellini's I puritani in Geneva, and then returned to the Met in March and April 2011 as Countess Adèle in Rossini's Le Comte Ory and as Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto.