The German soprano, Anja Harteros, was born to a Greek father and a German mother in Bergneustadt, and has two siblings, Alexia and Georgios. As a child, she was encouraged by her parents to pursue classical music and singing. Eventually, her music teacher at the Wüllenweber-Gymnasium in Bergneustadt, August Wilhelm Welp, noticed her considerable talent and recommended that she be professionally educated in singing. At the age of 14 (in 1986), she started voice training under Astrid Huber-Aulmann in Gummersbach, concurrently with her schooling.
Anja Harteros' first performances were in music institute concerts and in a school production of The Marriage of Figaro in 1990, as the Gräfin. In 1992 she gave her first concert at the Kantonsschule Schwyz in Switzerland. From 1990 her musical education was entrusted to the technically-experienced conductor and repetiteur Wolfgang Kastorp at the Cologne Opera, who accompanied her in a series of concerts. After completing high school in 1991, Harteros continued her voice studies at the Cologne music school under Liselotte Hammes at the Hochschule für Musik Köln. Her original singing teacher, Huber-Aulmann, continued to teach her until early 1996, and Harteros accompanied Huber-Aulmann on concerts tours in 1993 and 1994 to Russia and the USA, which attracted lots of attention to the singer. Just before her final exams, she was employed as a permanent member of the ensemble at the Schillertheater in Gelsenkirchen and Wuppertal. After her 1996 exams, she was given a permanent position with the ensemble at the opera in Bonn, where she still works.
In the summer of 1999, Anja Harteros won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition (she became the first German to win this competetion), which led to many invitations for concerts and guest performances. This was the major breakthrough for her career.
Since then, Anja Harteros has been hosting at all important national and international opera houses from New York (Metropolitan Opera): Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Lyon: Fjordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Amsterdam: Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), San Diego: Amelia (Simon Boccanegra), Violetta (La Traviata), Tokyo: Eva (Meistersinger), Dresden: Fjordiligi (Cosi fan tutte, Mimi (La Bohème), Frankfurt: Fjordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), at the State Opera of Hamburg: Eva (Die Meistersinger), State Opera of Berlin: Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro) and at the Wiener Staatsoper: Eva (Die Meistersinger), Mimi (La Bohème), at the Bayerische Staatsoper München: Agathe (Der Freischütz), Freia (Das Rheingold), Mimi (La Bohème), Fjordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: Mimi (La Bohème), at the Edinburgh Festival: Fjordiligi (Cosi fan tutte) as well as at the Salzburger Festspiele: Elettra (Idomeneo).
Due to her excellent singing and acting debuts in the season 2004-2005 at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich (in the role of Desdemona (Otello), Alice Ford (Falstaff) as well as the title-roles in George Frideric Handel's Alcina (new production at the opera festival in Munich in 2005) and Arabella), Anja Harteros was honoured by the audience of the Bayerische Staatsoper with the Prize of the Münchener Opernfestspiele. She has a warm association with San Diego Opera where she sang her first Violetta in La traviata in 2004, her first Ameila in Simon Boccanegra in 2005 and will sing her first Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier in 2011.
Pointed out should be her cooperation with conductor Zubin Mehta - in autumn 2008, Anja Harteros debuted as Elisabetta within the new production of Don Carlos on the occasion of the opening of the new opera house in Oslo. Coming projects will bring the artist to the Salzburg Festival 2006 Elettra/Idomeneo, the Opéra National de Paris Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), to the Semperoper in Dresden Desdemona (Otello), to the Bayerische Staatsoper München Arabella, Contessa, Fjordiligi, Violetta and to the Wiener Staatsoper Contessa, Donna Anna. Anja Harteros has appeared with many renowned conductors including such as Zubin Mehta, James Levine, Jesús López-Cobos, Peter Schneider, Sylvain Cambreling, Ingo Metzmacher, Markus Stenz, Ivor Bolton, András Schiff and Stefan Soltesz.
Anja Harteros' repertoire includes the roles of Mimì (La bohème), Desdemona (Otello), Micaëla (Carmen), Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), Arabella (Arabella), Alice Ford (Falstaff) , and Alcina.
Anja Harteros has also given concerts and Liederrecitals all over Germany, as well as in Boston, Florence, London, Edinburgh, Vicenza and Tel Aviv.