Pamela Coburn obtained her voice education at DePauw University, the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School in New York and studied lieder with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. In 1980 she was the winner of ARD (German Broadcasting Co.) Competition in Munich, and in 1982 she won a similar competition at the Metropolitan Opera.
Since her striking success as Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus 1982 at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich with Carlos Kleiber conducting, American lyric soprano Pamela Coburn has held her own among the leading international singers.
She is a regular guest in the most renowned opera houses and concert halls all over the world including appearances at the Vienna State Opera, Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Opera 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 Kleider, 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 enormously 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, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Cleopatra in Händel’s Giulio Cesare, and Nitocris in Belshazzar, Alice in Verdi’s Falstaff, the Countess in Strauss’ Capriccio and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, Arabella, 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.
Pamela Coburn’s exceptionally wide concert repertory includes nearly all the works of the respective musical literature starting from Bach (Passions, Cantatas) via Beethoven (e.g. Missa Solemnis, 9th 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 and Bruckner’s Te Deum with Helmuth Rilling, Mahler’s 8th Symphony with Lorin Maazel, Strauss’ 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.
Very remarkable were three concerts: Strauss’ 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 9th in August in Philadelphia.
In March 2004 she sang Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, opera arias with the Bahia Symphony, and Beethoven’s 9th 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 9th 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’ Four Last Songs and Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 with the Orquestra Experimental in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Beethoven’s 9th with the Oregon Symphony, and again Beethoven’s 9th 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.