(...) the young singer Ulrike Mayer is ideally cast. The mezzosoprano not only has a strikingly beautiful timbre, she also shapes Lied texts like a storyteller. What’s more, she really works with her body, fearing neither contorted manoeuvres nor exaggerations. In this way, Ulrike Mayer leads her female figure through the evening, creating an arc from a freshly enamoured young woman to a stooped old one. (...)
Georg Waßmuth on Deutschlandfunk
In recent years the mezzosoprano Ulrike Mayer has established herself on the international scene as a versatile soloist; she has been heard and seen in numerous operatic roles at the Ruhrtriennale, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Hamburg State Opera, the Schwetzingen Festival, the Opéra Bastille and the Opéra Comique in Paris and the Bregenz Festival, among others. Since March 2013, the singer has been a member of the ensemble at the Theater Bremen, where she could be experienced in major roles for her Fach. She debuted with the role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, followed by Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Carmen in Bizet’s opera Carmen, the title role in Händel’s opera Oreste, and the widow Begbick in the acclaimed Kurt Weill production Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny directed by Benedikt von Peter.
The Stuttgart-born mezzosoprano Ulrike Mayer studied voice with Thomas Quasthoff at the University of Music Detmold, and then with Klesie Kelly at the Cologne University of Music, where she graduated with the concert examination. During the course of her singing career, she has been honoured with numerous scholarships and prizes. She won a first prize at the international “Euriade Vocal Concours” in Holland, and was awarded a prize at the competition held by the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg, as well as at the German vocal competition “Bundeswettbewerb Gesang”. Ulrike was nominated by the music magazine “Opernwelt” as young singer of the year for her interpretation of Cherubino at the Scottish Opera.
Already while studying, she gave guest performances at various festivals such as the Ruhrtriennale with the Hollywood Elegies by Hanns Eisler (directed by: Schorsch Kamerun) and the Summer Festival of the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg. Other engagements took her to the Mainz State Theatre, where she sang Holofernes in Vivaldi’s dramatic oratorio Juditha triumphans directed by George Delnon and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where she sang the title role in the Matthus opera Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke. The Schwetzingen Festival invited her to take on the role of the Prince’s nurse in the premiere of the opera Da gelo a gelo by Salvatore Sciarrino in a staging by Trisha Brown. In the same year she gave her debut at the Opéra de Bastille in Paris with the role of the Page in Richard Strauss’s Salome under the musical direction of Hartmut Haenchen.
From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the ensemble of the Theater Magdeburg, where she could be seen as Idamante in Idomeneo (directed by: Andreas Kriegenburg), Dorabella in Così fan tutte (directed by: Frank Hilbrich), Olga in Eugene Onegin and Fjodor in Boris Godunov (both directed by Vera Nemirova), Sonyetka in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (directed by: Markus Dietz), Alcina in Orlando furioso (directed by: Sebastian Hartmann), Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, Flavius in Flavius Bertaridus, Eliza in My Fair Lady and Orpheus in Orfeo ed Euridice. The successful production of Orfeo ed Euridice directed by Andreas Kriegenburg was highly acclaimed across Germany and nominated for the German theatre prize “Der Faust” in 2006.
Ulrike Mayer has been working as a freelance artist since 2009. Her engagements have led her, for instance, to be engaged as Venus in Kurt Weill’s musical One Touch of Venus at the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, and she celebrated a great success as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at the Scottish Opera, directed by Sir Thomas Allen: “Above all, do not miss the heady eroticism that flows between Kate Valentine’s gleaming Countess and the fantastically authoritative Cherubino of Ulrike Mayer: it will stop your heart.” With the ensemble Nico and the Navigators, the singer participated in a staged version of Rossini’s Petite Messe solennelle at the Kunstfest Weimar. The production, in which she sang the alto solo role, went on to guest performances at the Bregenz Festival, the Opéra Comique Paris and the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg.
In the fall of 2011, she gave her debut at the Hamburg State Opera with the title role in Telemann’s opera Flavius Bertaridus directed by Jens Daniel Herzog and conducted by Alessandro de Marchi. She then toured with the Lautten Compagney Berlin in the title role in Händel’s opera Rinaldo under the direction of Wolfgang Katschner, thus extending her Händel repertoire, which she had established at the 2009 Easter Festival in Bayreuth with the role of Ruggiero in the opera Alcina. In 2012 she sang Cherubino in Mozart’s opera Le nozze di Figaro in a performance with the Bochumer Symphoniker conducted by Steven Sloane and moderated by Harald Schmidt; she then debuted with the title role from Bizet’s Carmen in Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall, where Herbert Feuerstein was the moderator.
With her extensive song and oratorio repertoire, the mezzosoprano gives concerts in Germany and abroad, in addition to her operatic work. She has given recitals at the German Embassies in Albania and Lithuania, sung at the Schloss Elmau and has given a guest performance at the Mannheim Mozart Summer Festival with a staged evening of Lieder by Mozart (directed by: Wolfgang Krause Zwieback). As part of the celebrations marking the reopening of Dresden’s Frauenkirche, the young singer performed Siegfried Matthus’s Te Deum conducted by Kurt Masur. One of her particular preferences is for Bach’s Passions, which she regularly sings at a great range of concert halls and churches. Singing the second soprano in Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor led her on a number of concert tours, both to Colombia with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia conducted by Andreas Schüller and to France with the Orchestre national des pays de la Loire under Sascha Goetzel. She regularly performs at renowned venues like the Konzerthaus and the Philharmonie Berlin, Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid, Kunstfest Weimar, the Days of Early Music in Regensburg, and the Magdeburg Telemann Festival, and has worked with internationally renowned orchestras and ensembles (incl. the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Sinfoniker, Munich Symphonic Orchestra, Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Lauttencompagney Berlin and Academy for Ancient Music Berlin) under conductors such as Kurt Masur, Alessandro de Marchi, Andreas Spering, Francesco Corti, Will Humburg, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Miguel Gomez-Martinez and Hartmut Haenchen.