Born in the Slovenian city of Ljubljana, the daughter of composer Marijan Lipovšek, Marjana Lipovšek initially studied piano and music education. Upon completing her studies, Marjana Lipovšek joined the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera, continuously expanding her early stage experience.
Throughout the almost four decades of her unparalleled career, Marjana Lipovšek has set standards, both in vocal and scenic interpretation, on concert and opera stages worldwide, moving the hearts of her countless listeners with a repertoire that has included every major part of her Fach.
Marjana Lipovšek continued to make important debuts such as Octavian/DER ROSENKAVALIER,Dorabella/COSÍ FAN TUTTE, Marina/BORIS GODUNOV, and Ulrica/UN BALLO IN MASCHERA with Hamburg’s State Opera. Her first ever Dalila in Saint Saëns’ SAMSON ET DALILA with Bregenz Festival won her a spectacular success which she went on to repeat in Berlin, at the Vienna State Opera and the Opéra Bastille in Paris. It wasn’t long before the major music capitals of the world called for her and thus, she sang the major roles of her repertory in many of the world’s leading institutions – in addition to the complete works of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, she performed such roles as Die Amme, Klytämnestra, Gaea, Brangäne, Fricka, Waltraute, andErda, along with her favorite Verdi characters, namely Azucena/IL TROVATORE, Amneris/AIDA, and Mrs. Quickly/FALSTAFF.
In more recent years, she starred as Mrs. Quickly/FALSTAFF and Brangäne/TRISTAN UND ISOLDE led by Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta. With the latter, she also sang complete new productions of DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN with Bavarian State Opera in Munich and Chicago’s Lyric Opera. Moreover she was Amme/DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN at the Vienna State Opera under Giuseppe Sinopoli. Fricka/WALKÜRE at the Chicago Lyric Opera under Sir Andrew Davis and, yet another triumph, Klytämnestra/ ELEKTRA at Zurich’s opera house.
Highlights further included a new production of Strauss’ DAPHNE/Gaea at the Vienna State Opera, RHEINGOLD, GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG and FALSTAFF with Munich’s State Opera, OEDIPE/Jokaste & Sphinx in Berlin and Vienna, RHEINGOLD/Erda, WALKÜRE/Fricka and GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG/Waltraute in Vienna and Munich. Further she appeared in LES DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES at the Theater an der Wien, as Zia Pricipessa/SUOR ANGELICA at La Scala in Milano, as well as in Strauss’ DAPHNE/Gaea and ELEKTRA/ Klytämnestra with Hamburg State Opera. Her final stage productions should be highlighted in particular, Tschaikovsky’s PIQUE DAME/Countess in Maribor, SOUTH PACIFIC at the Volksoper Wien, and AUFSTIEG UND FALL DER STADT MAHAGONNY/ Leokadja Begbick in Toulouse.
Marjana Lipovšek enjoyed a flourishing concert and recording career, singing a repertoire from Bach to contemporary music and appearing with all the world’s great orchestras, including the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin, Vienna, Munich and New York, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony, and Concertgebouw Orchestra – working with Abbado, Barenboim, Bychkov, Chung, Davis, von Dohnányi, Haitink, Harnoncourt, Levine, Maazel, Mehta, Muti, Nagano, Sinopoli, and Sawallisch in Europe, America, and Japan.
Marjana Lipovšek’s particular interest and passion belong to Gustav Mahler and Frank Martin and it was to no-one’s surprise that in 1996 she was honored with the Gustav Mahler gold medal and that her recording of the CORNET by Frank Martin won the Grand Prix du Disque. In 1993 she received the Prix Spécial du Jury from the Nouvelle Académie du Disque Français. Numerous composers have dedicated Song Cycles to her in appreciation of her outstanding vocal and musical qualities, in particular her ability to merge and transform the most complex and dramatic conception into the subtly nuanced intensity of pure vocal portrayal which has earned her a place among the great recitalists of this century.
Lipovsek’s prolific discography includes Marina/BORIS GODUNOV (Sony) andMarfa/CHOWANSCHTSCHINA (DG) with Claudio Abbado, Klytämnestra/ELEKTRA, Fricka/RING with Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI), ORPHEUS ED EURIDICE with Hager (Ariola), SUOR ANGELICA with Patané (Ariola), HÄNSEL UND GRETEL with Jeffrey Tate (EMI), RHEINGOLD and GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG with Haitink (EMI), Amme/DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN and Mrs. Quickly/FALSTAFF with Solti (DECCA), the Bach Passions with Peter Schreier, as well as various recital albums.
Today, Marjana Lipovšek dedicates herself to the young generation and gives master-classes in Austria and abroad; in summer 2010 she was artistic director of the Young Singers Project of the Salzburg Festival.
She was nominated Bavarian Kammersängerin in 1993 and was granted the same title by the City of Vienna in May 1996. For her outstanding artistic achievements, she received the Honorary Order of Merit in Gold, 1st Class of the Republic of Austria in 2001. In May 2004, she became an honorary citizen of her hometown of Ljubljana.
© Marjana Lipovšek