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Backstage: Okka von der Damerau

Whether in roles in Richard Wagner or Giuseppe Verdi’s operas, or performing the art songs of Gustav Mahler or Arnold Schönberg, Okka von der Damerau has established herself as one of her generation’s leading mezzo-sopranos with her powerful yet nuanced voice. In our Backstage questionnaire, she talks about what makes her heart beat faster and what she does after a performance.

A woman in a black evening dress stands in front of a screen showing a city backdrop.
Copyright: Wilfried Hoesl

Do you have a lucky charm?

My lucky charms change. On the whole, I think that skill is more important in life than luck. But it’s nice to sometimes be able to focus on someone or something that makes you happy.


Are you rather nervous or more of a show-off on stage?

It’s all about the combination! Singing and performing is important to me; I truly want to express something with it. And when something is important, it sometimes lets your heart beat faster.


Major or minor?

Minor. It’s just more profound. But: no minor without major.


If you were feeling peckish, what would you choose from the snack machine backstage in the Isarphilharmonie?

I didn’t even realise there was one. I guess that says it all. My focus is elsewhere when I’m working.


What’s the first thing you do when you leave the stage after the final applause?

I like to have a beer in good company.

Okka von der Damerau with the Munich Philharmonic

On 8 and 9 May at the Isarphilharmonie