Leading Lady Aimee Willis revealed both the vocal stamina and the lyric technique to make a formidable yet credibly young and fresh impression in the title role. Willis played her early scenes with the unaffected confidence of a teenager who is used to having anything she wants. Slowly unraveling after her frustrating encounter with Jochanaan, she paced the stage with the barely controlled fury of a jungle cat, then gave way to a graceful dance of the seven veils and the icy calculation of her grisly fee for that performance.
John Crook, Opera News,
While at the University of California at Los Angeles, Ms. Willis performed in such operatic roles as; Pamina in “The Magic Flute”, Fiordiligi in “Cosi fan tutte”, Mrs. Ford in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, Monica in “The Medium”, and St. Teresa in “4 Saints in Three Acts.” She also performed in Musical Theater roles such as; Laurie in “Oklahoma”, Julie Jordon in “Carousel”, Rosabella in “A Most Happy Fella”, Angelina in “Trial by Jury”, and Queen in “Once Upon a Mattress.”
After receiving a degree in voice from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1990, she went to New York where she successfully auditioned for one of two annual scholarship positions for American singers at Berlin’s Deutsche Oper. This “Chair” was established in 1982, through contributions from both individuals and corporations with strong American-German interests. Her operatic career started at the young age of 22 when, directly out of college, she became a leading soprano at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Berlin Opera) in Berlin, Germany.
Ms. Willis remained a member of the Deutsche Oper from 1990, to 1996, and performed such roles as; Pamina in “Die Zauberflöte”, Lucie Dreyfuss in “Dreyfuss: The Affair”, Agathe in “Die Freischutz”, “Orfeo ed Euridice”, Dritte Norn in “Götterdämmerung”, Ortlinde in “Die Walküre”, Taumannchen in “Hansel und Gretel”, Amalia in “Schloss”, Frasquita in “Carmen”, Gianetta In “L’Elisir d’Amore”, Rosina in “La Finta Semplice”, Christa in “The Makropolous Affair”, Marie in “Soldaten”, and Li in “Heilige Ente.”
She has performed with famous conductors all over the world, including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jiri Kout, Richard Buckley, Carlo Rizzi, Christopher Keene and Fred Scott.
Aside from the above roles performed in the Deutsche Oper, her repertoire today consists of; the Countess in “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Fiodiligi in “Cosi fan tutte”, the title-role in Tosca, Nedda in “I Pagliacci”, Marguerite in “Faust”, Giulietta in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, Mimi in “La Boheme”, Liu in “Turandot”, Elisabetta in “Don Carlo”, Leonora in “Il Trovatore”, Elsa in “Lohengrin”, Chrysothemis in “Elektra”, Manon in “Manon Lescaut”, Cio-Cio-San in “Madama Butterfly”, Elvira in “Ernani”, and Gutrune in “Götterdämmerung.”
For the 2000/01 season, Ms. Willis is sang the role of the Countess in “Le Nozze di Figaro” at the Hawaii Opera and Elisabetta in “Don Carlo” at the Arizona Opera. She then returned to Hawaii Opera Theater for the 2002/03 season as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin. In 2003/04 Aimee will made a stunning debut with the Atlanta Opera in the title-role of Salome and will return as Tatiana in their production of Eugene Onegin.
In her concert work, she was fortunate to be included in Guiseppe Sinopoli’s first Carmen with Agnes Baltsa, accompanied by the Danish Radio Orchestra and broadcast in Copenhagen, which she then reprised in Berlin with Baltsa, Neil Shicoff and Denyce Graves. Also under the baton of Sinopoli at the Santa Cecilia in Rome, Aimee performed Parsifal with Waltraut Meier and Rene Kollo. At the Interlaken Festival in Switzerland, Ms. Willis sang selections from Porgy and Bess with one of the great portrayers of Porgy, Simon Estes. She has also appeared in concert in such works as; “Parsifal” in Santa Cecilia, Rome with Giuseppe Sinopoli, “Carmen” with the Copenhagen Radio Orchestra and Giuseppe Sinopoli, “Porgy and Bess” with the Interlaken Festival and Simon Estes, a concert of “Opera Arias” with the Berlin Radio Orchestra and Hans-Dieter Baum, “Matthaus Passion” and Bach “B Minor Mass” with Berlin Philharmonic/Symphonisches Orchester Berlin and Hans Hilsdorf, Dvorak’s “Te Deum” with Berlin Philharmonic/Symphonisches Orchester Berlin and Gert Sell, Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9" and Handel’s “Messiah”. In addition, Aimee sang numerous performances at the Berlin Philharmonic, including Bach’s B Minor Mass and St. Matthews’ Passion.
Since returning to America, Aimee is creating a buzz with her critically acclaimed portrayals of Salome (Atlanta Opera), Tosca (Opera Fort Worth), Leonore (Fidelio: Atlanta Opera),Tatiana (Eugene Onegin: in Russian with the Hawaii Opera and Atlanta Opera) The Countess (The Marriage Of Figaro: Hawaii Opera), Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera: Arizona Opera), and Elisabetta (Don Carlo: Arizona Opera) to name a few.
Aimee Willis holds a BA from UCLA and a MM from Northwestern.
Aimee Willis, soprano
Aida. "O Patria mia!"
Giuseppe Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera
Ecco l''orido campo!