New York-based Australian-born lyric coloratura soprano Rachelle Durkin returned to the Metropolitan Opera recently as Lisa in La Sonnambula conducted by Marco Amiliato, and Clorinda in La Cenerentola under the baton of Fabio Luisi. Future engagements include Violetta in La Traviata with Ft. Worth Opera, a return to Opera Australia as Adina in L’elisir D’amore, her debut with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Donna Anna, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Musetta in La Boheme with Hawaii Opera, and Handel’s Messiah with the Sydney Philharmonic. Last season she also appeared with Opera Australia as Norina in Don Pasquale, and subsequently with West Australian Opera for the role of Musetta in La Boheme under the baton of its music director, Joe Colaneri. She then joined Bryn Terfel in concert in Perth, Australia, Maestro Asher Fisch and the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra for Rossini’s Stabat Mater before continuing to Opera Australia as Adina in L’elisir d’amore. Recent successes include her highly successful debut as Violetta La Traviata in Francesca Zambello’s acclaimed new production for Opera Australia on the harbor, a role she also sang at Hong Kong Opera. Prior to that she made her debut in the title role Lucia di Lammermoor at Chautauqua Opera.
The artist began her career by winning the top three vocal competitions in Australia in 2000: The Herald Sun Aria Competition, The Marianne Mathy Scholarship and The Metropolitan Opera Award. Another win followed at the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and she was invited to join the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program where she remained from 2001-2004. She made her Met debut as the First Handmaiden in Sly with Placido Domingo and subsequently appeared as Miss Schlesen in Satyagraha and Clorinda in La Cenerentola (both recorded live for commercial DVD release), Masha in Pique Dame, Frasquita in Carmen, Elvira in L’Italiana in Algeri, and First Flower Maiden in Parsifal (also at Salzburg Festival as part of the MET tour with James Levine), as well as covering many principal soprano roles. Her recent spur-of-the-moment appearance as Norina in place of an ailing colleague won her a Sirius Broadcast, a thunderous standing ovation, MET engagements for the future, and a permanent place in the hearts of the New York public.
Other notable engagements include the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (c: Mark Wigglesworth) and Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro (c: Patrick Summers) both for Opera Australia’s CinemaLive HD Movie and commercial DVD release; for West Australian Opera she appeared as the Heroines in Les contes d’Hoffmann and debuted as Amina in La Sonnambula. She additionally appeared as Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte in the new Jim Sharman production broadcast live by ABC Television and Tytania in Baz Luhrmann’s groundbreaking production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A highly adept interpreter of a wide range of repertoire spanning from the baroque to modern masterpieces, the artist’s other great successes include the role of Kumudha in John Adams’ A Flowering Tree for Perth’s International Arts Festival; for Opera Australia she sang the title roles Alcina (c: Richard Hickox), Armida (c: Trevor Pinnock) as well as Angelica Orlando for which she became a Helpmann Award nominee for her outstanding performance in each production.
Additional appearances include Gilda in Rigoletto with ABAO Bilbao and State Opera of South Australia, Konstanze in Abduction from the Serail for Hawaii Opera, Cunegonde in Candide with Bellingham Festival of Music, and Corinna in Il Viaggio a Reims at Chicago Opera Theater. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah.