The Swiss mezzo-soprano Yvonne Naef has been a regular name throughout her international career at the most prominent opera houses, performing a wide repertoire from the great mezzo roles of Giuseppe Verdi (Amneris, Eboli, Azucena, Ulrica), the French repertoire (Didon, Cassandre, Marguerite, Carmen, Ariane) as well as Richard Wagner's dramatic mezzo roles. She has been engaged regularly at the Opernhaus Zürich, La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Opéra national de Paris, the Vienna and Hamburg State Operas, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, as well as at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals. As a sought-after concert soloist, her engagements have also taken her to international concert venues such as the Vienna Musikverein, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, the Philharmonie im Gasteig as well as the Philharmonie de Paris, the Royal Albert Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall.
Key moments to date have included her performances as Brangäne in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde under Sir Simon Rattle at the Vienna State Opera, Didon in Berlioz's Les Troyens at the Dutch National Opera, Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal, Ulrica in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera and Mrs. Quickly in Falstaff at the Zurich Opera House, as well as Fricka in Die Walküre at the Opéra national de Paris under Philippe Jordan. Yvonne Naef has additionally appeared as Ulrica and Fricka at the Hamburg State Opera. Under Seiji Ozawa, she appeared in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges at the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan and most recently performed as the soloist in Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Salzburg Festival under Gustavo Dudamel.
Highlights of recent seasons include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in Geneva, Wagner's Wesendoncklieder with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and, on the opera stage, Geneviève in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande in Zurich. She has also appeared as Mrs. Quickly in Verdi's Falstaff at the Verbier Festival under Jesús López Cobos, at La Scala and the Astana Opera House under Zubin Mehta, and with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer. Additional appearances have included the Old Lady in Bernstein's Candide and as Geneviève in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Accompanied by the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer, Yvonne Naef was invited to perform the latter role at the Italian Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, and can be further heard this season in Budapest, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and at the Opera Festival in Vicenza in northern Italy.
In the course of her international career, Yvonne Naef has worked with distinguished conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniele Gatti, Michael Gielen, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Philipp Jordan, James Levine, Marc Minkowski, Georges Prêtre, Sir Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas and Franz Welser-Möst.
Yvonne Naef's extensive discography includes a wide range of opera and concert recordings, including Verdi's Il Trovatore at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at the Hamburg State Opera and Parsifal at the Opernhaus Zürich. In addition, she has recorded Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Mahler's Second Symphony with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Schoenberg's Moses und Aron and his Gurrelieder, Othmar Schoeck's Penthesilea and Brahms' Altrhapsodie with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. A live recording of Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff in Verbier was recently released on the Verbier Festival Gold label. Her solo album entitled Romantic Recital for Voice & Orchestra, released on the Swiss label Claves Records, is dedicated to works by Hector Berlioz and Richard Wagner.
Since August 2014, Yvonne Naef has been a lecturer in singing at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).
2023 | 2024
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Claude Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Brindley Sherratt, Jacques Imbrailo, Kyle Ketelsen, Damien Göritz, Charles Dekeyser, Corinne Winters, Yvonne Naef, Reinhard Mayr
Philharmonia Zürich | Zusatzchor Opernhaus Zürich, Sopralti der Oper Zürich
Conductor: Alain Altinoglu
Director: Dmitri Tcherniakov
Label: Bel Air Classics | 2019
Maurice Ravel: L’enfant et les sortilèges; Shéhérazade
Isabel Leonard, Paul Gay, Yvonne Naef, Anna Christy, Marie Lenormand, Elliot Madore, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Kanae Fujitani
Saito Kinen Orchestra | SKF Matsumoto Chorus & Children’s Chorus
Conductor: Seiji Ozawa
Label: Decca 2015
Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff
Ambrogio Maestri, Barbara Frittoli, Judith Schmid, Yvonne Naef, Massimo Cavalletti, Eva Liebau), Javier Camarena, Peter Straka et al.
Orchestra & Choir of the Zurich Opera House
Conductor: Daniele Gatti
Director: Sven-Eric Bechtolf
Label: C Major | 2012
Giuseppe Verdi: Il Trovatore
Simone Kermes, Herbert Lippert, Miljenko Turk, Yvonne Naef, Josef Wagner, Camilla de Falleiro et al.
Orchester & Chor der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele
Conductor: Michael Hofstetter
Label: Oehms | 2011