Emma Curtis studied at the Guildhall School of Music and at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California where she worked with her mentor Marilyn Horne. She was a full-time member of the Solo Ensemble at the Staatstheater Stuttgart from 2003 to 2006. In 2008 Emma withdrew from opera performance due to a painful, complex pelvic condition. She had successful surgery to remove a large pelvic mass in April 2011, with a full recovery and return to fitness, and is now returning to the stage.
She debuted at the Staatstheater Stuttgart as Nutrice (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and then in 2001/02 sang Ericlea (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria). In 2003/04 she sang Pastore II in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with Jean-Claude Malgoire, Eine Kranke and 4. nackte Jungfrau in Schönberg’s Moses und Aronconducted by Lothar Zagrosek, and Poklízecka in Janáçek’s The Makropolous Case, conducted by Sylvain Cambreling.
Emma created the role of Galatée in the world premiere of Pastorale by Gérard Pesson for Staatstheater Stuttgart conducted by Kwamé Ryan, and the leading role of L’Ainée in the world premiere of Jacques Lenot’s J’étais dans ma maison et j’attendais que la pluie vienne at Opera de Genève, conducted by Daniel Kawka. Most recently, Emma sang Irene in the development of Vasco Mendonça’s The Takeover for Festival d’Aix en Provence directed by Johanna Wehner. Emma has appeared in new productions directed by Jossi Wieler & Sergio Morabito, Peter Konwitschny, Hans Neuenfels, Christopher Mattaliano, Christoph Perton, Bernard Brocca and Catherine Turocy, and in stagings by Joachim Schlömer, Edward Berkley and Axel Mantey.
As a Baroque specialist Emma has performed the title role in Cavalli’s Giasone for Aspen Music Festival conducted by Harry Bicket, Irene in Handel’sAtalanta at the International Handel-Festival, Göttingen, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, Eduige (Handel’s Rodelinda) for Portland Opera, USA, conducted by George Manahan, Bertarido (Handel’s Rodelinda) in Santa Barbara, Cleofe in Handel’s La Resurrezione at the Lufthansa Baroque Festival in London, with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert, Les Leçons de Ténèbres by Marc Antoine Charpentier, plus the world premiere ofLes Leçons de Ténèbres by Philippe Fénelon, with La Grand Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy and Au temps de Port Royal with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.
Other operatic appearances include Geneviève (Pelléas et Mélisande), La principessa (Suor Angelica), Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Modestina (Il viaggio a Reims) in Santa Barbara, Quickly (Falstaff) for Festival Opus a Gattières, and Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress) and Maddelena (Rigoletto). Emma’s concert appearances include Sibelius’s Jokamies with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Adès and Janáçek’sDiary of One who Disappeared at the Aldeburgh Festival, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Elgar’s Sea Pictures with conductor Kenneth Woods, and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the First Night of the BBC Proms.
Emma is co-director of baroque ensemble The Frolick with Andrew Maginley. Their debut recording, Calliope – volume the first, was awarded Best Classical Vocal Album by AllMusic. Emma’s 2010 live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, with conductor Kenneth Woods and the Orchestra of the Swan has been given an “Outstanding IRR” by International Record Review.
© Emma Curtis