Judith Schmid (Switzerland) is one of today’s outstanding mezzo-sopranos, and possesses a highly varied repertoire. The operatic stage and the concert hall are her main focus, but her love of lieder (Mahler in particular), of oratorio and of contemporary experimental music means that these all play an important role in her professional life.
For more than 20 years, Judith Schmid has been a much sought-after, highly acclaimed soloist at the Zurich Opera House and elsewhere, singing trouser roles such as Smeton (“Anna Bolena”), Sesto (”Giulio Cesare”) and Silla (”Palestrina”), but also Suzuki (“Madama Butterfly“), Polina (“Pique Dame”), Federica (“Luisa Miller”), Maddalena (“Rigoletto”), Emilia (“Otello”) and many other roles. More recently, she has concentrated increasingly on the dramatic mezzo repertoire.
In the 2016/17 season, Judith Schmid will be a soloist both in Zurich and at the Nuremberg State Theatre, where she will be giving her debuts in the roles of Erda (in”Rheingold”), Waltraute (“Walküre”), Erda (“Siegfried”), and First Norn and Flosshilde (“Götterdämmerung”).
In the concert hall, Judith Schmid performs with orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, under conductors including Placido Domingo, Mariss Jansons, Daniele Gatti, Franz Welser-Möst, Nello Santi, Marc Minkowski, Adam Fischer, Marcello Viotti and Heinz Holliger.
Judith Schmid’s career in music has been as varied as her repertoire is versatile. She began on the piano and flute, then studied music and movement at the Bern University of the Arts – an experience that continues to have an impact to this day on her physical approach to her art. Judith Schmid turned to singing full-time when she studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She continued her vocal development even after returning to Switzerland and joining the ensemble of the Zurich Opera. The singers who have had a major and lasting influence on her include Francine Beuret, Christa Ludwig and Heidi Wölnerhanssen.
For several years now, Judith Schmid has been passing on her vocal and stage experience to a younger generation of professional singers, and from 2017 onwards she will do so as a lecturer for singing at the University of Lucerne.
Numerous recordings for radio, TV and DVD serve to document Judith Schmid’s work. Her CD with the pianist Oliver Schnyder entitled “Rosenblätter”, with works by Grieg, Hefti and Ravel, was much praised in the press; it is also in itself an embodiment of her artistic credo: variety and versatility. This album was chosen as one of the best CDs of 2008 by the “Culture” programme of Swiss Radio SRF 2.
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Mehr -> Vita
My most fun role is also one of the most intense in its physicality: Hänsel (in Hänsel and Gretel). Every child knows this fairy tale about the brother and his sister. We really had a lot of children on stage in our production, and this helped me to forget almost everything else as I played and moved in my role. Just being in the moment – letting it all flow, both singing and acting – that’s for me the fundamental characteristic of this role.
Already during rehearsals I had to keep making sure that I was pacing myself perfectly, and properly focusing my energies. I had to know when I would be able to give everything physically, but also when I would have to think ahead instead, and take care that my breathing was calm and I was able to maintain the flow of my singing. Humperdinck composed wonderful music for all this.
I’ll always be happy to sing Hänsel, time and again.