Opera Scotland

Brigitte Fassbaender Suggest updates

Born Berlin, 3 July 1939.

German mezzo-soprano.

Brigitte Fassbaender was an excellent actor with a warm, attractive voice, particularly noted for her interpretation of travesti roles, of which Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and Sesto in La clemenza di Tito were quite outstanding. Fassbaender also made a notable impression as Dorabella and Charlotte.

She was the daughter of Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender (1897-1978), a famous baritone who had worked regularly at Glyndebourne before the war, including the opening performance. She studied with him and at the Conservatoire in Nuremberg. Her debut in 1961 was as Nicklausse in Tales of Hoffmann at the Munich Prinzregententheater.

Fassbaender continued to work regularly in Munich at the Bavarian State Opera throughout her career. She also performed frequently with the Cologne Opera, and sang Sesto with them both in London (at Sadler's Wells) and Edinburgh.

At Covent Garden she appeared in 1971 as Octavian (returning in 1975). Her first appearance in the USA was as Carmen at San Francisco in 1971. Parts at the Salzburg Festival included Dorabella and Fricka.

Fassbaender later took to working in operatic direction and management.


Roles Fassbaender recorded included Dorabella, Charlotte, and Annio in Clemenza.

She also appears on important recordings of two heavier parts - Azucena with Giulini and Brangäne with Carlos Kleiber.

Roles in Scotland

Sesto Sextus, friend of Titus, in love with Vitellia
Clemenza di Tito 1981
Lied von der Erde 1983
Lucio Silla 1998

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