German mezzo-soprano Doris Soffel first studied violin at the Munich Academy of Music, then singing with the legendary Wagner/Strauss-soprano Marianne Schech. During her studies already, she made her debut at the Bayreuth Youth Festival, singing the leading role in Wagner´s Das Liebesverbot. Wolfgang Windgassen immediately engaged her at the Stuttgart opera ensemble. During the following years she could build up a broad repertoire, including protagonist roles like Carmen, Eboli/Don Carlo and Octavian/Der Rosenkavalier.

With her sensational success at Covent Garden as Sesto in Mozart´s Titus 1983 and as Orlofsky in Fledermaus (conductor Domingo) 1984 her world career was launched. Sawallisch gave her a lasting guest contract at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich. Since then she has made regular appearances in all big and important opera houses and concert halls of the world. In the 1980ies Doris Soffel became the only German mezzo-soprano with a world career in coloratura roles (belcanto-operas like L´Italiana  in Algeri and  La Cenerentola by Rossini as well as Donizetti and Bellini operas). Her cooperation with Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge has been well documented. In French repertoire she conquered the International audience not only with Carmen, but also with roles like Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther (with Alfredo Kraus) and Marguerite (Berlioz’ Damnation de Faust). Her exceptional musicality and vocal flexibility also led to cooperation with contemporary composers like Reimann, Henze and Penderecki. She had triumphant successes at world premieres, e.g. at the Munich Opera Festival in 1986 as Kassandra in Reimanns Troades.

With an extraordinary combination of passion, creativity and intelligence, demonstrated already in the Italian and French roles, Doris Soffel grew into one of the most significant Wagner- and Strauss singers of our time. Her early successes as Fricka/Das Rheingold and Die Walküre with Solti in Bayreuth and her Waltraute/Götterdämmerung with Mehta were confirmed later, at Carsens Cologne-Ring, at Audis Amsterdam Ring, at the Dresden Ring,  in 2010 at La Scala with Barenboim and in Berlin with Rattle. Her Kundry/Parsifal with Thielemann and her Ortrud/Lohengrin with Luisi are legendary. Doris Soffels artistic curiosity and permanent seeking of new challenges has also brought her in recent years to the Slavic repertoire: With Marfa in Mussorgski’s Khovanschina, Jezibaba/Rusalka and Kabanicha in Janacek’s Katia Kabanova the artist painted extraordinary and touching role portraits.

Today, with her strong vocal expressive power, with her charisma and with stunning acting performances, she celebrates one triumph after the other in strong Strauss roles like die Amme in Die Frau ohne Schatten (debut in Los Angeles 2004), Herodias/Salome and Klytämnestra/Elektra.

Doris Soffel has sung with legendary conductors such as von Karajan, Celebidache, Solti, Giulini, Sawallisch, Maazel, Mehta, Sinopoli, as well as Thielemann, Jordan, Runnicles, Nagano, Barenboim, Simone Young and Rattle. Working from the beginning of her career with such significant stage directors as Rennert, Ponnelle, Sir Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller, Friedrich and Kupfer had a great formative influence on her artistry and today she works with directors like Konwitschny, Carsen, Herheim, Loy, van Hove and Tcherniakov.

Doris Soffel also has an impressive career as concert- and Lied-singer, main focus on Mahler, Brahms and Strauss. A strong presence on Youtube and an extensive discography (more than 60 CDs) as well as many DVD productions testifies to the great versatility of the singer and to the beauty of her voice. She is German “Kammersängerin” and in 2001 she was awarded with the Royal Swedish Northern Star Order for her important artistic contributions to Swedish music life.

Past engagements in recent seasons have included Herodias in Salome, Clytemnestra in Elektra, Leokadja Bergblick in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny* and Mme de Croissy in Dialogues des Carmelites*. Last season 2022/23 she took on the roles of Madame Louise in Ocean, Herodias in Slome and Adelaide in Arabella at Deutsche Oper Berlin. In addition, she was seen as the Witch in Die Königskinder at the Nationale Opera in Amsterdam.

In the upcoming 2023/24 season, Doris Soffel's roles will include Clytemnestra in Elektra at the Semperoper Dresden, Respectable Lady in The Nose at the Bayerische Staatsoper and the countess in Pique Dame at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia.

Doris Soffel is a chamber singer and recipient of the Royal Swedish Order of the North Star.

* cancelled due to Covid-19

Artist Website



Artist Manager
Boris Orlob
Managing Director 
Mobil: +49-172-8 51 55 14


Repertoire Concert

Bach, J.S. Christmas Oratorio
  St. Matthew Passion
Beethoven Missa solemnis
  Symphony no. 9
Berg Sieben frühe Lieder
Berlioz La mort de Cleopatre  
  Les nuits d'été
  Romeo et Juliette
Brahms Alt-Rhapsodie
  Vier ernste Gesänge
Dvorak Stabat Mater
Hindemith Requiem
Mahler Das Lied von der Erde
  Des Knaben Wunderhorn
  Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
  Symphony no. 2
  Symphony no. 3
  Symphony no. 8 / Alto 1
Martin Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets
  In terra pax
Mendelssohn Elias
Mozart Requiem
Pfitzner Von deutscher Seele Op. 28
Ravel Shéhérezade
Rossini Petite Messe solennelle
  Stabat Mater
Schnittke Faust-Kantate / Mefistofela
Schulhoff Menschheit Landschaften
Schönberg Gurrelieder / Waldtaube
Sibelius Orchesterlieder
Strauss, R. Orchesterlieder
Strawinsky Oedipus Rex
Szymanowski Stabat Mater
Verdi Requiem
Wagner Wesendonck-Lieder
Zemlinsky Sechs Gesänge nach Texten von Maurice Maeterlinck

Repertoire Opera

Bartók Bluebeard's Castle Judit
Bellini Norma Adalgisa
Berg Lulu Countess Geschwitz
Berlioz Les Troyens Didon
Bernstein Candide Old Lady
Bizet Carmen Carmen
Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur  Principessa
Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande Geneviève
Donizetti La favorita Leonora
  Maria Stuarda Elisabetta
Dvorak Rusalka Jezibaba
Giordano Andrea Chénier La comtesse di Coigny
Gluck Orfeo et Euridice Orfeo
Hindemith Cardillac Die Dame
Janácek Katja Kabanova Kabanicha
Mascagni Cavalleria rusticana Santuzza
Massenet Herodiade Herodiade
  Werther Charlotte
Mozart La clemenza di Tito Sesto
Mussorgsky Boris Godunov Marina
  Chowanschtschina Marfa
Offenbach Les contes d'Hoffmann La voix de la mère
Penderecki Ubu Rex Maire Ubu
Ponchielli La Gioconda Laura Adorno
Poulenc Dialogues des Carmélites Madame de Croissy
Reimann Troades Kassandra
Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila Dalila
Schoeck Penthesilea Penthesilea
Spohr Jessonda Amazili
Strauss, J. Die Fledermaus Prinz Orlofsky
Strauss, R. Arabella Adelaide
  Ariadne auf Naxos Composer
  Capriccio Clairon
  Der Rosenkavalier Octavian
  Die Frau ohne Schatten Nurse
  Elektra Klytämnestra
  Salome Herodias
Stravinsky Oedipus Rex Jokaste
Tchaikovsky The Maid of Orleans Joan of Arc
  The Queen of Spades Countess
Verdi Aida Amneris
  Don Carlo Eboli
  Il trovatore Azucena
Wagner Das Rheingold Fricka
  Die Walküre Fricka
  Götterdämmerung Waltraute
  Lohengrin Ortrud
  Parsifal Kundry
  Rienzi Adriano
  Tannhäuser Venus
  Tristan und Isolde Brangäne


Signature roles!
Following her acclaimed performances as the Countess in Tchaikovsky's "Pique Dame" in Valencia last autumn, Doris Soffel is now also taking on this leading role in a new production of "Pique Dame" at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
There she will sing four performances from 9th of March to the 20th of March 2024 under the musical direction of Sebastian Weigle and directed by Sam Brown alongside such high-calibre colleagues as S. Radvanovsky, M. Mühle, L. Gallo and T. Lehman.
Rehearsals for a revival of Elektra at the Semperoper Dresden begin immediately afterwards.
She can be seen there from the 29 March 2024 in another parade role, as Klytämnestra, under the baton of Marc Albrecht and in the production by Barbara Frey.
Further dates and information can be found here:

Grande Dame of opera singing
The picture shows Doris Soffel in one of her signature roles as Pique Dame Countess at the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia during September and October 2023. Below one of many enthusiastic reviews: 
"The legendary Doris Soffel, a mezzo-soprano with enormous experience, knew how to shape the degree of emotional turmoil of this character with her voice. With effective gestures and a slow, incisive vocal style she completed a countess of great personality."
Jacobo Rios-Capé Carpi
Season's kick off as Countess in Valencia
Doris Soffel is returning to “Les Arts” in Valencia with one of her signature roles, the Countess in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades.
In the production by Richard Jones and under the musical direction of James Gaffigan she is joined by Arsen Soghomonyan (Herman), Elena Guseva (Lisa / Chloé), and Elena Maximova (Polina / Daphnis).

Dates: 01.10., 04.10., 07.10., 10.10., 14.10.2023

This week we celebrate an artist with whom we have been working for 25 years: Doris Soffel is not only celebrating a special birthday (which, however, we do not name, as befits such a great artist), but can now also look back on a career of more than 50 years, which has taken her to all the great houses and festivals, with an evolution from coloratura mezzo to the dramatic parts of her craft. Simply unique, simply La Soffel!
And the best... she goes on and on! We look forward to her return to the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, the Semperoper Dresden, the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Theatre de la Monnaie, to name but a few theatres.
Representative of many great moments in Doris' career, here are two links to recordings with Joan Sutherland (Norma, 1985) and Thomas Johannes Mayer (Walküre, DNO, 2013).
Norma, 1985 
Die Walküre, 2013 

The Austrian radio is also dedicating a portrait to Doris Soffel this week. You can find it online via the livestream of Ö1:
Livestream Ö1 


Pique Dame / Deutsche Oper Berlin / 09.03.2024 /

"Die Gräfin von Doris Soffel überzeugt nicht nur in der Darstellung einer noch lebendig-liebesfähigen, reifen Frau, sondern die Sängerdarstellerin singt die Partie zugleich auch mit Leuchtkraft und äußerst disziplinierten Präzision wie es gleichsam ein kunstvoller und durchsichtiger Oratorien- oder Liedgesang erforderte." 


Interview with Doris Soffel / Meine Musik. Klassik, garantiert subjektiv / 19.03.2024 / rbbkultur 

Pique Dame / Osterfestspielen Baden-Baden / 11.04.22 /

"Doris Soffel in Pique Dame: Ein Höhepunkt in 50 Jahren Karriere" 

Pique Dame / Baden-Baden Berliner Philharmonker / 10.04.22 /

"Und Doris Soffel gibt die alte Gräfin [...] mit finsterer Dämonie." 

Elektra / Palau de les Arts Valencia / 23.01.20 /

"Sin exageraciones, con un dominio absoluto del sprechgesang" 

Elektra / Palau de les Arts Valencia / 22.01.20 /

"Doris Soffel gave a luxurious interpretation of Klytämnestra" 

Oceane / Deutsche Oper Berlin / 30.04.19 /

"invincible as a singer and actress" 

Liederabend / Philharmonie Essen / 07.05.18 /

"raumgreifend, frei schwingend, ohne jede Grelle" 

Dialogues des Carmélites / Staatsoper Hamburg / 08.05.17 /

"l'extraordinaire première Prieure (Madame de Croissy) de Doris Soffel" 

Elektra / Staatstheater Stuttgart / 26.02.17 /

"Klytämnestra ist nicht nur Doris Soffels Signature Role, es ist schlicht ein Erlebnis!" 

Elektra / Bayerische Staatsoper / 17.02.17 /

"Elektra, starke Frauen" 

Elektra / Oper Stuttgart / 15.02.17 /

"Das kann man kaum besser singen!" 

Doris Soffel im Gespräch / 14.02.17 /

 "Man braucht Mut zur Hässlichkeit" 

Elektra / Aalto-Musiktheater Essen / 16.05.16 /

 "Ein Ereignis!" 

Elektra / Deutsche Oper Berlin / 03.04.16 /

"eine wunderbare Darbietung" 

Dialogues des Carmélites  / De Nationale Opera Amsterdam / 07.11.15 /

 "Unvergesslich, unvergleichlich, einfach wahnsinnig" 

Salome / BBC Proms / 01.09. 14 /

 "such astonishing power, richness, precision" 

Die Frau ohne Schatten / Oper Leipzig / 12.06.14 /

 "eine anziehende Vorstellung" 

Das Rheingold / Deutsche Oper Berlin / 22.09.13 /

 "Kraft, Klang, Erfahrung, Ausdruck in einer Stimme vereint" 

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