Rachel Nicholls is now widely recognised as one of the most exciting dramatic sopranos of her generation. Her Brünnhilde in complete Ring cycles for Longborough Festival Opera in 2013 received the highest critical acclaim.
She made her début at London’s Royal Opera as Third Flowermaiden, Parsifal, returning as Echo, Ariadne auf Naxos and Prilepa, The Queen of Spades. Other operatic engagements include Tatyana, Eugene Onegin and Senta, Der fliegende Holländer for Scottish Opera, Jenifer, The Midsummer Marriage, Sieglinde, Die Walküre, Micäela, Carmen, and Anne Trulove, The Rake’s Progress, at the St Endellion Festival, Jessie, Mahagonny Songspiel at the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte, Montepulciano, First Woman – First Fury, The Mask of Orpheus at the BBC Proms, Philippa, Babette’s Feast at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Euridice, Orfeo ed Euridice on tour with the Israel Camerata, Armida,Rinaldo at the Edinburgh Festival, Nerone, L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the New Theatre, Tokyo and Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris.
She sang her first Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung for the 2012 Longborough Festival, returning for three complete Ring Cycles in 2013.
She is also in demand as a concert artist and has performed with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Bach Collegium Japan, BBC Symphony, Bochum Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Darmstadt Hofkapelle, Gdansk Music Festival, Huddersfield Choral Society, London Handel Players, London Mozart Players, London Philharmonic, Orchestra of St John’s, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic, at the Brighton, Chelsea, Fishguard, London Handel and Three Choirs Festivals and in recital at the Wigmore Hall, London.
Conductors with whom she has worked include Avner Biron, Martyn Brabbins, Stephen Cleobury, Francesco Corti, Thomas Dausgaard, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Martin Gester, Andrew Greenwood, Richard Hickox, Adrian Leaper, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Anthony Negus, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, Steven Sloane, John Storgårds, Masaaki Suzuki, Hilary Davan Wetton and Barry Wordsworth.
Recordings include B Minor Mass and Cantatas – Volume 42, 44 and 49 (BIS), the St Matthew Passion (Sabra), For You (Signum), Dorinda Orlando (K617), Metella Silla (Somm), Wendy Hiscock’s Mother & Child (Symposium), Hummel Mass in D Minor (Chandos), two volumes of Music by Cecilia McDowall (Dutton) and Paul Spicer’s Easter Oratorio (Birmingham Bach Choir).
Recent and future engagements include Isolde, Tristan und Isolde for the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Teatro Regio di Torino, the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Oper Stuttgart, the Badische Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Grange Park Opera, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and for Longborough Festival Opera; Leonore, Fidelio for Bergen National Opera and Lithuanian National Opera, Guinevere Gawain for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth for the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe and NI Opera, Eva, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe and ENO, Isolde’s Liebestod and Elgar’s Spirit of England with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé, the Wesendonck Lieder at the 2013 St Endellion Festival, Verdi Requiem at Cadogan Hall, Nelson Mass for Huddersfield Choral Society, Rossini Stabat Mater at King’s College Cambridge and Janacek Glagolitic Mass for Cambridge University Music Society.
Rachel Nicholls was born in Bedford and in 2013 was awarded an Opera Awards Foundation Bursary to study with Dame Anne Evans.