Chinese-American lyric soprano Heather Engebretson is becoming known throughout Europe for her "innate sense of phrasing and touching intensity," her "irresistible, seductive presence," and for her "nicely full-bodied, silvery" voice.
In 2021-2022, Engebretson will make her highly-anticipated role debut in the title role of Madama Butterfly in a new production for Oper Frankfurt. Other season engagements will include her return to Deutsche Oper Berlin, reprisals of the roles of Cherubino and Donna Elvira for Staatsoper Wiesbaden's Mozart Festival Year, and her role debut as the Gänsemagd in Oper Frankfurt's celebrated production of Königskinder alongside her partner, tenor Gerard Schneider, as the Königssohn. Future seasons will see returns to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and a return to the title role of Strauss' Salome.
In the season of 2020-2021, Engebretson appeared for the first time in Le nozze di Figaro as both La Contessa (Oper Frankfurt) and Cherubino (Staatstheater Wiesbaden). Further engagements in her home state of Hessen included bringing her acclaimed interpretation of Sophie (Werther) to Oper Frankfurt. Season cancellations due to COVID-19 included a role debut for Deutsche Oper Berlin as Gilda (Rigoletto), a return to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in a new production, a tour with Antonio Pappano and the orchestra of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia as the soprano soloist in Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) for Oper Frankfurt, and the roles of Violetta (La traviata), Saffi (Der Zigeunerbaron), and Gilda (Rigoletto) for Staatstheater Wiesbaden.
In the 2019-2020 season, Engebretson appeared for the first time in the title role of Salome for Theater Luzern, a debut that was heralded as "an entirely new chapter in the interpretation of this work." She also returned to Deutsche Oper Berlin as the four heroines in Les Contes d'Hoffmann and reprised her acclaimed portrayal of the role of Werther's Sophie for Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Other engagements for the season were to have included, before closures due to COVID-19, Donna Anna for Oper Frankfurt, Adina for Staatstheater Wiesbaden, and Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) for Royal Danish Opera.
Engebretson's 2018-2019 season saw her Golden Mask Award-nominated return to the title role of Alcina in Katie Mitchell's much-celebrated production at the Bolshoi Theatre. She was also seen for the first time as Mimì in Barrie Kosky's new La bohème in her debut for Komische Oper Berlin, and gave her first performances of the heroines in Les Contes d'Hoffmann for Deutsche Oper Berlin and of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) for Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. Other season engagements included Donna Elvira for Staatstheater Wiesbaden, her Moscow State Symphony debut, and her return to Royal Opera House Covent Garden as the Waldvogel in Keith Warner's production of Wagner's Ring.
Engebretson's 17-18 season marked her first season as a freelance artist and saw her debut with The Bolshoi Theatre as Alcina, her debut with Deutsche Oper Berlin (Königin der Nacht), her Chinese debut in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Xi'an, and returns to Staatsoper Wiesbaden (Fiordiligi, Donna Elvira, Musetta, Oscar, and Götterdämmerung's Woglinde) and the Dresdener Philharmoniker. Other engagements included voice/violin recitals with frequent collaborator, pianist and conductor Killian Farrell.
Engebretson's earlier credits include Sophie (Werther, which served as her HD Cinema debut) and Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro) for Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Other appearences include Liù (Turandot) for l'Opéra Royal de Wallonie Liège, Mahler's Symphony Number Eight at Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie, Konstanze for Opera Kassel and West Green House Festival Opera, and the title role of Alcina for Opera Stuttgart.
Before beginning her freelance career Engebretson was a member of the solo ensembles of Hamburg, Wiesbaden, and Hannover from 2013 until 2017. During this time she appeared in such diverse roles as Violetta in La traviata, the title role of Alcina, Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice), Musetta, Britten's Tytania, Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Ascagne (Les Troyens), and Zerlina.
Engebretson received her Master's degree from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Edith Wiens. While still studying at Juilliard Engebretson's seasons saw her first place win in the Savonlinna Opera Festival's International Singing Competition, her Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium debut, her Saint Louis Symphony debut (Königin der Nacht), and her first performances of the soprano solo in Verdi's Requiem in Nürnberg. Engebretson's undergraduate studies were completed at the Cleveland Institute of Music where her major studies were with Mary Schiller (voice), David Russell (violin) and Timothy Cutler (music theory). Engebretson continues her studies with Carol Vaness and Mary Schiller.