The Slovenian dramatic contralto, Marjana Lipovšek, is the daughter of the composer Marijan Lipovšek. She initially studied piano and music teaching in her native city. Only while pursuing her studies at the Musikhochschule in Graz she started to give serious thought to a career as a singer.
Immediately after completing her studies, Marjana Lipovšek was engaged by the Vienna State Opera, where she acquired experience on the stage in small and medium roles. She further built her career as a member of the Hamburg and Munich State Operas.
Marjana Lipovšek began her conquest of the major contralto roles at the Hamburg Opera: Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Marina in Boris Godunov and Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera. She made a very successful debut at La Scala in Milan as Mrs. Quickly in Falstaff. At the Munich State Opera, she mastered more of the repertoire's great dramatic roles, above all Marie in Alban Berg's Wozzeck, Preziosilla in La forza del destino, Gaea in Daphne and Fricka, which, in Marjana Lipovšek's interpretation, became a focal point of the new Munich Der Ring des Nibelungen production.
Marjana Lipovšek has sung all important roles of her Fach at the most reknowned houses worldwide which early included Octavian/Der Rosenkavalier, Dorabella/Cosí Fan Tutte, Marina/Boris Godunov And Ulrica/Un Ballo In Maschera. Her first Dalila in Camille Saint-Saëns' Samson Et Dalila at the Bregenz Summer Festival was a spectacular success, and led to further engagements in this role in Berlin, in Perelada (with José Carreras as Samson), at the Vienna State Opera and at the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris. She has now sung the major roles of her repertory in many of the world's leading houses - in addition to the complete R. Strauss and R. Wagner roles such as Die Amme, Klytämnestra, Gaea, Brangäne, Fricka, Waltraute, Erda. Marjana Lipovšek's favourite characters of Verdi's operas include Azucena/Il Trovatore, Amneris/Aida and Miss Quickly/ Falstaff.
In the meantime, Marjana Lipovšek has sung the most important roles of the contralto repertoire, e.g. Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il trovatore, Orpheus in Orpheus und Eurydice, Eboli in Don Carlo in the most important European opera houses. In October 1989 she interpreted Marfa in Khovanshchina at the Vienna State Opera under Claudio Abbado and in March 1990 she sang Klytemnestra in Elektra at Covent Garden under Sir Georg Solti. At the Salzburg Easter and Summer Festivals in 1992 she was highly acclaimed for her first Amme in Die Frau ohne Schatten. She returned to Salzburg for the Easter and Summer Festivals in 1994 in the role of Marina in Boris Godunov and appears at the 1995 Easter Festival in the role of Klytemnestra in Elektra under the baton of Claudio Abbado.
Marjana Lipovšek has a flourishing concert and recording career, appearing with all great orchestras of the world such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Phiharmonic, London Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, New York Philharmonic and Boston Phiharmonic, London Symphony and Concertgebouw Orchestra - working with Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bychkov, Myung-Whun Chung, Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Wolfgang Sawallisch in Europe, America and Japan.
Marjana Lipovšek appears worldwide in recitals and has made major tours through Europe and Japan, and the USA. Numerous composers have dedicated Song Cycles to her in appreciation of her great vocal and musical qualities. The great success of her song recitals with the public is due to her ability of being able to apply her enormous histrionic talents to the miniature worlds portrayed in the Lieder she interprets.
Highlights of the past years include productions such as Falstaff/Mrs Quickly and Tristan & Isolde/Brangäne under Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta. With Zubin Mehta she also sang in 1999 a complete new production of Der Ring Des Nibelungen at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich with an outstanding success. Further highlights of the past years include Die Frau Ohne Schatten at the Vienna State Opera under Giuseppe Sinopoli (1999) and Walküre at the Chicago Lyric Opera under Sir Andrew Davis. Also with a personal great success she could be heard in the role of Klytämnestra/Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera in New York under the baton of James Levine as well as at the Operahouse in Zurich under Christoph von Dohnányi (stage director: Martin Kušej).
Highlights of the last season (2003-2004) include Gaea in a new production of Strauss' Daphne at the Vienna State Opera with Semyon Bychkov, appearances as Waltraute & Fricka/ Der Ring des Nibelungen and Miss Quickly/Falstaff at the Bavarian State Opera with Zubin Mehta, as Erda/Rheingold, Fricka/Walküre and Waltraute/Götterdämmerung at the Vienna State Opera and as Jokaste & Sphinx/Oedipe in Berlin. Furthermore she could be heard in a great number of concerts and recitals in the most renomated concert venues in Europe.
The 2004-2005 season brings a tour with Gustav Mahler's 3rd Symphony under Zubin Mehta, including the opening of La Scala, G. Mahler's Wunderhorn-Lieder under Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Johannes Brahms' Altrhapsodie in Paris, L.v. Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Vienna under Kent Nagano, G. Mahler's 2nd Symphony again under Kent Nagano and a recital at Vienna's Musikverein.
Marjana Lipo was nominated Bavarian Kammersängerin in 1993 and the same title has been granted to her by the City of Vienna in May 1996. Also in 1996, Marjana Lipovšek was awarded the Gustav Mahler Medal in gold. For her outstanding artistic achievments she received in 2001 the Honorary Order of Merit in Gold, 1st Class of the Republic of Austria. In May 2004 she became honorary citizen of her hometown Ljubljana.
Marjana Lipovšek's profilic discography includes Boris Godunov/Marina under Claudio Abbado (Sony) and Chowanschtschina/Marfa (DG) with Claudio Abbado, Elektr/Klytämnestra, Der Ring des Nibelungen/Fricka with Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI), Orpheus Ed Euridice with Leopold Hager (Ariola), Suor Angelica with Patané (Ariola), Hänsel Und Gretel with Jeffrey Tate (EMI), Rheingold and Götterdämmerung with Bernard Haitink (EMI), Die Frau Ohne Schatten/Amme and Falstaff/Quickly with Georg Solti (Decca) and J.S. Bach Passions with Peter Schreier, G. Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, (Sony), a recital disc of J. Brahms Lieder (Sony), a disc of Schumann Lieder (Sony, 1995), as as well as other various recital records. She was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque for her recording of the Cornet by Frank Martin, and she has received the Prix Spécial du Jury from the Nouvelle Académie du Disque Français.