For Bayreuth’s 2013 production of the Ring celebrating Richard Wagner’s two hundredth birthday, Angela Denoke is slotted to sing Brünnhilde. Kirill Petrenko persuades her to take on this highly dramatic role, something that is only conceivable for her with Petrenko on the podium. For three months she immerses herself in the role – and eventually cancels, to her great regret. She feels that she would be closing too many doors for herself were she to continue along this path, fearing that with a weightier voice, she would be unable to sing too many beloved roles.
Once again she remains true to her reputation as an uncommonly intelligent singer who continually questions herself. The second quality the anti-diva is famous for: her unique abilities as an actress. For Denoke, acting and music are equally important in opera; she performs with a subtlety and precision almost worthy of the cinema and is considered a specialist for difficult and enigmatic female characters, which, in her view, are actually easier to perform. She summarizes her work in just six brief words: “At the end, I always die.”
Born in 1961 in Stade, Lower Saxony. The city is once again her primary residence; she lives there with her husband, American tenor David Kuebler.
Studies school music in Hamburg, only begins vocal studies at the age of twenty-six.
1992 debut at the Theater Ulm, where she remains an ensemble member until 1996, followed by a full-time position at the Stuttgart Opera until 2000.
1997 international breakthrough with her debuts at the Vienna State Opera (as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier) and the Salzburg Festival (as Marie in Wozzeck). Since then, frequent appearances at both venues.
Other major venues include the Opéra National de Paris, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Covent Garden, La Scala, the Met, Bayerische Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, Teatro Real Madrid, and Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona.
In addition to the above-mentioned roles, she celebrates her most notable successes in Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Die Tote Stadt, Jenufa, Erwartung, Bluebeard’s Castle, Fidelio, Katja Kabanova, and many main roles in operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss.
1999 named Singer of the Year by Opernwelt magazine, 2007 Faust Theater Award for the best acting performance by a singer in music theater, 2009 named Austrian Kammersängerin.
With programs like “From Babelsberg to Beverly Hills” and “Angela Denoke sings Kurt Weill,” she has also devoted herself to the chanson genre.
Did you know?
Angela Denoke’s father has a dance combo, is mentored by a teacher in classical music, plays the piano from an early age, and sings. She emphasizes that her parents never pressured her, but always supported her in her joy of music-making.
During her school music studies she also leads a choir and performs small vocal solos. Later she decides to devote herself more to singing and takes the entrance examination to study voice; she is rejected the first time.
In singing different roles, Denoke loves discovering parts of herself that she had forgotten or does not want to speak about – this can sometimes lead to tears, as in Janácek’s Katja Kabanova.
The down-to-earth singer rides her bicycle rain or shine, and otherwise tries not to worry too much about catching a cold.
She has an ambivalent relationship with critics, since they are not representative of what people think in general, but only an individual and personal opinion. She also feels more pressured by the media than by the audience.
She feels strange when someone addresses her as “Frau Kammersängerin,” preferring to be called “Frau Denoke” or “Angela.”
She always follows the same routine on the day of a performance, taking an afternoon nap and then looking through the role. She still experiences stage fright.