Sophie Harmsen


"Sophie Harmsen perfectly guides her silvery top notes to target. One could nearly forget this is a mezzosoprano role. You see a young boy without any life experience, except the forbidden love towards the Marschallin, being thrown into a morally ailing demimonde into which he tumbles like an alien into this planetary set."

Drehpunkt Kultur (Der Rosenkavalier, Octavian)

"The mezzo-soprano Sophie Harmsen stood out among the cast. Her powerful Dorabella was one of the best I've heard. The psychological evolution of this character, from the naïve beginning to the doubts and the anger at the end, was precisely depicted with diverse voice colors and beautiful acting, even that in a semi-staged performance."

Bachtrack (Cosi Fan Tutte, Dorabella)

Sophie Harmsen has become internationally successful both in the concert hall and on the operatic stage, delivering beautifully crafted, emotionally intelligent performances in a diverse range of repertoire.

An avid traveller, her career has brought her to experience some of the world’s most beautiful venues, such as the Teatro Colon, Palau de la Musica, Teatro Real, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Wien, Philharmonie de Paris, Shanghai Grand Theatre and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

Sophie regularly performs with orchestras such as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, SWR Symphonieorchester, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Orchestre National de Paris, musicAeterna, Konzerthausorchester Berlin Düsseldorfer Symphoniker NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and the Freiburger Barockorchester.

She has worked with conductors including Jeremie Rhorer, Thomas Hengelbrock, Ádám Fischer, Iván Fischer, Teodor Currentzis, Vaclav Luks, Jos van Veldhoven, Andreas Spering, Daniel Harding, Constantinos Carydis, Kent Nagano, Markus Stenz, Philippe Herreweghe, Frieder Bernius, René Jacobs and Pablo Heras-Casado.

Many of her CD recordings have received awards, for example Bruckner’s Missa Solemnis with the RIAS Kammerchor (Diapason d’Or) and the complete recording of J.S. Bach’s Luther Kantaten with Christoph Spering (Echo 2017).

Sophie’s career began at Cape Town Opera with roles including Hermia (Britten, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Graf Orlowsky (Strauss, Die Fledermaus), and Cherubino (Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro). She has since sung Annio (Mozart, La Clemenza di Tito) at the Teatro Real Madrid, Dorabella (Mozart, Cosi fan tutte) at the Opéra de Dijon and the Opéra de Luxembourg, Stephano (Gounod, Romeo et Juliette) at the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck, Argene (Myslivecek, L’Olimpiade) at the opera houses Prague, Caen and Theater an der Wien. In this time she has worked with directors such as Robert Wilson, Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, William Kentridge and Andreas Dresen.

Recent concert highlights include Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde as well as the Ruckert Lieder̈ckert Lieder, Dvorak’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Sophie is a frequent performer at international festivals including the Salzburger Festspiele, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, Rheingau Musikfestival, International Händelfestspiele Göttingen and Halle and the Bachfest Leipzig.

This season she looks forward to her debut as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier in the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg, a return to the Hamburgische Staatsoper and Ballett John Neumeier for Bach’s B Minor Mass, a tour of Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium with Christophe Rousset, her first Verdi Requiem with Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Philippe Herreweghe, Mahlers Das Klagende Lied at the Mahler Festival Leipzig with the Gewandhausorchester and Dennis Russel Davies and Mendelssohn’s Walpurgisnacht with SWR Synfonieorchester under Pablo Heras-Casado.

Sophie Harmsen studied at the University of Cape Town and with Prof. Dr. Edith Wiens, has been mentored by Tobias Truniger for many years and now lives in Berlin with her family.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

La Clemenza di Tito (Annio)

Teatro Real, Madrid

"Sophie Harmsen's Annio was outstanding, splendid in her projection of high notes and in the way she conveyed her dramatic singing, always with a beautiful voice that shone especially bright in her aria "Tu fosti tradito""

Lectura y locura

"The singer we enjoyed most in terms of timbre, vocal colours, warmth, crispness of enunciation and insightfulness was the Canadian born mezzo-soprano Sophie Harmsen, who embodied a youthful and ever-ready Annio, completely convincing in gesture and bearing."

La Razon

Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian)

Landestheater Salzburg, October 2022

Sophie Harmsen is a captivating Octavian. The silvery duets between Hofmann and Harmsen radiate brighter than the myriad of stars around them. This magic hour of vocal artistry in the four earthly hours running time of this opera culminates in the trio of the finale.

Der Standard Wien

Sophie Harmsen is a vocally powerful Octavian, extraordinarily virile in her acting.

Opera Online

Octavian is 17 years old. One could not have found a more authentic casting than Sophie Harmsen for this trouser role. With her gamine haircut you believe her to be a boy, she steals the show with her powerful, clear mezzosoprano, and also the disguise as Mariandel suits her wonderfully. She wittily and charmingly guides the events.

Kultur Online

Sophie Harmsen shines with an elegantly clear and noble mezzo and virile chutzpah.


Sophie Harmsen perfectly guides her silvery top notes to target. One could nearly forget this is a mezzosoprano role. You see a young boy without any life experience, except the forbidden love towards the Marschallin, being thrown into a morally ailing demimonde into which he tumbles like an alien into this planetary set.

Drehpunkt Kultur

Sophie Harmsen Opera Repertoire

G. Bizet

Carmen (Mercedes)

B. Britten

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia)

F. Danzi

Der Berggeist (Marthe)

C.W. Gluck

Orphee et Euridice (Orphee*)

C. Gounod

Faust (Siebel*)
Romeo et Juliette (Stephano)

G.F. Händel

Alcina (Ruggiero*, Bradamante)
Ariodante (Ariodante*)
Rinaldo (Rinaldo*)
Giulio Cesare (Sesto*, Cesare)
Siroe (Siroe*)
Xerxes (Xerxes*, Amastre)

J. Haydn

La canterina (Don ettore)
Lo Speziale (Volpino)

E. Humperdinck

Hänsel und Gretel (Hänsel)

H. Huyssen

Masque (Prof. Dubuffet)

J. Massenet

Werther (Charlotte*)

C. Monteverdi

L’Incoronazione di Poppea: (Ottavia*, Nutrice)

W.A. Mozart

La Clemenza di Tito (Annio, Sesto*)

Così fan tutte (Dorabella)

La finta giardinera (Ramiro*)

Idomeneo (Idamante*)

Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino)

Lucio Silla (Cecilio*)

Die Zauberflöte (2. Dame, 3. Dame)

Don Giovanni (Zerlina; Donna Elvira)

J. Myslivecek

L’Olimpiade (Argene)

J. Offenbach

Les Contes D‘Hoffmann (Nicklausse *)

H. Purcell

Dido and Aeneas (Dido, 2nd Woman, 1st & 2nd Witch, Sorceress)

J.P. Rameau

Hippolyte et Aricie (Phedre*)

T. Rayna

A Valley Song (Stella)

G. Rossini

Il barbiere di Sevilla (Rosina*)
La cenerentola (Angelina*, Tisbe)
La donna del lago (Malcolm*)
L’Italiana in Algeri (Isabella*)

R. Strauss

Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian),
Ariadne auf Naxos (Komponist*)

G.P. Telemann

Otto (Mathilda)

J.R. Zumsteeg

Die Geisterinsel (Fabio)

Sophie Harmsen Repertoire List

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