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Pamela Coburn


Pamela Coburn, lyric soprano, studied voice at DePauw University, the Eastman School of Music and the American Opera Center of the Juilliard School, and studied German Lieder with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Her international career in opera, oratorio and recital has taken her to the world’s most renowned opera houses and concert halls and has led her back to her alma mater as the James B. Stewart Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music.

"I feel that I have come full circle," Coburn says. "DePauw has given me so much and provided the basis of the vocal technique that held me through my entire career. Now as a professor, I have a chance to give back what I have been given."

When asked about her advice for younger singers, Professor Coburn replied, “Nurture your insides. Trust that everything works together for a reason and find the ability to do everything with gratitude. Work on knowing that you are not what you do and take time to discover the spiritual side of life. Whatever is in your heart comes out in your voice. Never forget how transparent you are on stage, and that it is your responsibility to be not only the finest singer, but also the finest human being you can be.”

After her striking success as Rosalinde in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, with Carlos Kleiber conducting, Professor Coburn appeared at the Vienna State Opera, Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Paris, Toulouse, London and Tokyo’s New National Theatre, as well as the Salzburg and Richard-Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Among the most prominent conductors Ms. Coburn has worked with are Carlos Kleiber, Sir Colin Davis, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Eschenbach, Riccardo Muti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Georg Solti, Guiseppe Sinopoli, Helmuth Rilling, Erich Leinsdorf, James Conlon, Bernhard Haitink Christian Thielemann, Charles Dutoit, Ken Nagano and Isaac Karabichevsky.

Her exceptionally wide opera repertory ranges from the works of Monteverdi to Penderecki. Especially worth mentioning are the roles of the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni; Cleopatra in Händel’s Giulio Cesare and Nitocris in Belshazzar; Alice in Verdi’s Falstaff; Strauss's Arabella, the Countess in Capriccio and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier; Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes; Freia in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, as well as Queen Rosamunde in Penderecki’s Ubu Rex and the widow in the Merry Widow.

Her concert repertory includes nearly all the works of the respective musical literature starting from Bach (Passions, Cantatas) through Beethoven (e.g. Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony), Schumann (e.g. Paradise and Peri), Mahler (symphonies), Britten (War Requiem) to Szymanowsky (Stabat Mater) and contemporary works (e.g., Udo Zimmermann).

Pamela Coburn has made numerous recordings, among them Gounod’s Faust with Sir Colin Davis; Beethoven’s Fidelio with Bernard Haitink and Leonore with Marc Soustrot; Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; Bruckner’s Te Deum with Helmuth Rilling; Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Lorin Maazel;Strauss’s Gypsy Baron with Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Lehar’s The Merry Widow with Helmuth Froschauer; Verdi’s Requiem with Enoch zu Guttenberg and a DVD of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus on Deutsche Grammophone with the late Carlos Kleiber.

Particularly notable were three concerts: Strauss’s Four Last Songs conducted by Maestro Sawallisch in Philadelphia, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater in San Francisco, and Haydn’s Creation and Bach’s Mass in B-minor at the Cincinnati May Festival conducted by James Conlon. In May, the artist worked again with Maestro Conlon at the Festival, singing Beethoven’s Kantate zum Tode von Kaiser Joseph II. With the same program, a concert was planned in Paris on Sept. 13 with the Orchestre National de France, who invited her back for Mozart’s Requiem that December. More performances included the Cincinnati May Festival and the Bach Festival in Leipzig in May, Beethoven’s Ninth in August in Philadelphia.

In March 2004, she sang Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, opera arias with the Bahia Symphony, and Beethoven’s Ninth at the Festival Santo Domingo. In April, she was soloist with the Marin Symphony (CA) for Fauré’s Requiem and Mozart arias. In May, she was the soloist for performances of Beethoven’s Ninth for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Wolfgang Sawallisch, for whom this concert was his farewell. 2004 brought more engagements singing Strauss’s Four Last Songs and Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 with the Orquestra Experimental in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Beethoven’s Ninth with the Oregon Symphony, and again Beethoven’s Ninth at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center under the baton of Charles Dutoit.

Pamela began a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at DePauw University in the fall of 2005.