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Ruth Ziesak (Soprano)

Born: February 9, 1963 - Hofheim am Taunus, Germany

The German soprano, Ruth Ziesak, was encouraged to start studying singing by Christoph Prégardien, and studied at the College of Music and the Performing Arts in Frankfurt am Main with Elsa Cavelti. She began her singing career as a member of the Heidelberg Municipal Theatre, where she still performs today. Several international competitions with great success, among other awards the first prize at the German Music Competition and the renowned International Vocal Competition in s‘Hertogenbosch (lied category), quickly paved the way for an international career.

Ruth Ziesak made her debut as Valencienne in Die lustige Witwe in Heidelberg in 1988, and then worked at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf/Duisburg from 1990 to 1991. She was actually ‘discovered’ by Sir Georg Solti for the world of Grand Opera at the Salzburg Festival in 1991, when she sang Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. She has since appeared on the most important stages. Following her success in Salzburg, she sang the same role later at La Scala, the State Opera in Munich, Dresden's Sächsische State Opera and the Vienna State Opera. Her career led her from stages in Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin and Dresden to international stages such as Milan, Florence, Vienna, Paris, London and New York, where she shone in her parade roles such as Pamina, Ännchen, Marzelline, Ilia or Sophie. She made her debut at the Opéra Bastille in Paris as Susanna in 1993, followed by Sophie in 1998, and first appeared at Covent Garden in 1997 as Ighino in Palestrina. In the meantime she has widened her repertoire and made her debut in the role of the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro in Glyndebourne and Zürich. Following a concert performance of this opera at the Herrenchiemsee Festival Joachim Kaiser praised her enthusiastically in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: 'But then Ruth Ziesak sang an enchantingly soulful, almost unworldly, innocent Countess. I have never heard her better!' In 2007 she gave her first Donna Anna at the same festival in a concert performance of W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni.

The multifaceted artist is convincing not only on the opera stage. She is an accomplished soloist in concert works with her pure tone and fresh, unaffected style. As a much sought-after concert soloist Ruth Ziesak collaborates with leading orchestras in Paris, Milan, Vienna, Munich, Leipzig, Amsterdam and London. She has appeared in the most renowned concert halls, and is a frequent guest at the festivals in Salzburg and Lucerne, the Berlin and Frankfurt Music Festivals, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the BBC Proms and sings regularly in the USA and Japan. At the Lucerne Festival she performed together with the Merel-Quartett Arnold Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 2. Other engagements include amongst others concerts with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester and Wiener Philharmoniker under Helmuth Rilling, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi under Herbert Blomstedt, Dresden Staatskapelle under Daniele Gatti, Orchestre National de France and Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester (both under Riccardo Muti), Montreal Symphony Orchestra (conductor Kent Nagano), Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly, and WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under Jukka-Pekka Saraste, as well as with the Mozarteum-Orchestra in Salzburg under Ivor Bolton. In the future concerts will lead the soprano to Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Heinz Holliger (Haydn's Schöpfung), to the Salzburg Festival together with the Merel-Quartett, to MDR Sinfonieorchester under Jun Märkl (Felix Mendelssohn's Lobgesang-Sinfonie and Elias), to Paris (W.A. Mozart Concert Arias with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Paul McCreesh), to Maggio musicale under Riccardo Muti and to Konzerthausorchester Berlin under Lothar Zagrosek (Haydn's Schöpfung).

Since her much-acclaimed debut as a Lieder singer at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 1991, Ruth Ziesak has gained a reputation as a discerning interpreter of Lieder, and has appeared in song recitals throughout the world. Recitals of 2007-2008 season include performances with Gerold Huber in Frankfurt, Neuss and again at the Wiener Musikverein. On the occasion of the Messiaen year 2008 she is planning a project with lieder by this composer together with Eric Schneider and Christine Schäfer which will be performed in Berlin, Essen and Lisbon.

In addition to her concert recordings with Georg Solti, Riccardo Chailly and Herbert Blomstedt for Decca, Ruth Ziesak has recorded Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (Georg Solti/Decca), Marzelline in Fidelio (von Dohnànyi/Decca), La clemenza di Tito (Nikolaus Harnoncourt/Teldec), Ännchen in Der Freischütz (Janowski/BMG), Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel (Runnicles/Teldec) and the title role of Robert Schumann's Genoveva with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt/Teldec). Her solo recordings include W.A. Mozart opera arias with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Marcus Creed (Capriccio), Lieder of Gustav Mahler (Gatti/BMG) and Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch, as well as a series of Lieder recitals for BMG, Naxos and Sony with Ulrich Eisenlohr. In her latest CD, Sacred Arias, featuring works of Dietrich Buxtehude, Ebart, Franz Tunder and other composers, which was released by Capriccio, Ruth Ziesak explores a fascinating niche of early Baroque repertoire together with the Berliner Barock-Compagney. In late 2007, a CD with Baroque music for soprano and trumpet will be released with the same instrumentation in collaboration with Reinhold Friedrich. Also in 2007, the first CD in collaboration with Gerold Huber will be released: Franz Liszt Lieder for the first time on the edel classics label.

More Pictures

Source: Mostly from liner notes to the CD ’Bach: Sacred Music in Latin 2’ conducted by Helmuth Rilling (Hänssler, 1999); KS Gasteig Website (2007-2008); Alex Baubin (June 2010)
Aryeh Oron (May 2001, April 2008)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Berliner Barock-Compagney


BWV 51

Frieder Bernius


BWV 206, BWV 207a

Herbert Blomstedt


[V-1] (2005, DVD) :BWV 232 [1st recording]

Budapest Strings


BWV 51

Marcus Creed


BWV 244

Carlo Maria Giulini


BWV 232

Ton Koopman


BWV 59, BWV 69, BWV 69a, BWV 75, BWV 76, BWV 179, BWV 186

Riccardo Muti


DVD: BWV 232

John Nelson


BWV 232 [2nd, DVD]

Ralf Otto


BWV 248

Christoph Prégardien


BWV 245

Helmuth Rilling


BWV 236

Links to other Sites

Ruth Ziesak (KS Gasteig) [German]
Ruth Ziesak on line
Ruth Ziesak (biography)(Gulbenkian) [Potuguese]
CD: Ruth Ziesak / Online Musik Magazin [German]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
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Last update: Monday, November 20, 2017 10:50