Artist of the Week: Rachel Willis-Sørensen

American Soprano Makes her role debut as Violetta in ‘La Traviata’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Eric Bouloumié)

After months of closure, the Opéra de Bordeaux opens its 2020-21 season with a modified production of Verdi’s beloved “La Traviata.” The masterpiece will get a starry cast including Rachel Willis-Sørensen, who makes her role debut as Violetta.

Since her win at the Operalia competition in 2014, Willis-Sørensen has become well known for her lush sound and dramatic interpretations with such roles as Elsa, Donna Anna, Rosalinde, and Hélène among her most reputable. Critics have raved about the soprano heralding her “heroic power and tenderness.”

This role debut will surprise most audiences who have followed the soprano as it will show Willis-Sørensen in a more lyrical light. For audiences used to hearing the role of Violetta sung by lighter coloratura or lyric voices, Willis-Sørensen will be a unique opportunity to see a fuller voice in the role.

In a statement, the sorpano said, “I usually get really excited when I am offered a new role, but only once in my life have I wept for joy when a role was offered to me: when my manager first discussed the offer to sing Violetta at Opéra national de Bordeaux. It is a role that I have valued from the audience many, many times and secretly yearned to sing myself, and being given the opportunity is truly the fulfillment of a long-cherished secret wish.”

For those not in Bordeaux, The Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions winner will return to the Staatsoper Berlin for “Tannhäuser” and the Deutsche Oper Berlin for “Don Carlo” and “Lohengrin” throughout the season.

Further Readings 

Check out our interview with the soprano on Donna Anna and the Metropolitan Opera.


For those who are not familiar with the American soprano, here are some clips of performances as Donna Anna from “Don Giovanni,” Rusalka, and Rosalinde from “Die Fledermaus.”


Artist of the Week