Catherine Foster



Hailed for her “golden, glowing dramatic soprano with an effortless high range” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), British soprano Catherine Foster has enjoyed international acclaim for her combination of “incisive, clarion tones and exhilarating stamina” (Opera News) and “intense, multifaceted acting” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), as Brunnhilde in the Bayreuth Festival’s 2013-2019 centenary production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, and has attained a strong and distinctive profile for her interpretation of other dramatic roles, including Elektra, Turandot and Isolde at opera houses across Europe and worldwide, including the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Hamburg, Semperoper Dresden, Netherlands Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Washington National Opera and from Denmark to Sao Paulo and Valencia to Tokyo.

2022 sees Foster returning to the Bayreuth Festival in a new production of Tristan und Isolde by Roland Schwab, and in addition taking part in gala concerts under the baton of Andris Nelsons. She also returned to Müpa Budapest as Brunnhilde in two cycles of Wagner’s Ring, following her huge success there in 2019 and 2020, and to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Elektra, as well as singing Isolde and Elektra in the Mai Festspiel in Wiesbaden. The 2022/23 season includes her Australian debut as Elektra with Victorian Opera in Melbourne, Turandot at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Elektra at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Brunnhilde with the Dresden Philharmonic.

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“Catherine Foster punches out her high notes and appears transformed, biting, energetic, intractable. It was on the same dynamic that she delivered a final Immolation scene in an astonishing mixture of power and nuance that was justly acclaimed at the end of the performance.”

Paul Fourier

Toute la Culture

As the ‘Irish Maid’ Catherine Foster brought not only the perfect interpretation but also captivating vocalising. The best Isolde of the world (for me) conquered the score with noble power, thanks to her wonderfully colourful dramatic soprano. Foster invested the proud king’s daughter with a splendidly blossoming sound, technically superb, with excellent articulation. Her wonderfully secure, strong-founded soprano can also seduce in extreme high altitude, with charming soft piani. With cultivated, emotional legato purity, Foster brought forth a wonderful love duet. This excellent artist crowned her interpretation overwhelmingly with deeply touching floating tone during the ‘Liebestod’ and was rightly acclaimed the audience favourite. 

Gerhard Hoffman

Online Merker

“Catherine Foster produced a vocally gripping performance. Singing throughout with a freedom which was tangible, she engaged fully with the character. Her vocal timbre shone brightly with unsuppressed passion in the upper register. The voice is also a marvellously flexible and powerful, and stretched upwards without any loss of quality, always fully under control and able to rise above the orchestra with apparent ease. Yet it is also a voice of beauty, which she used expertly to express her complex array of emotions. The first act aria, “Wie lachend sie,” in which she captured her conflicted feelings for Tristan, was expertly delivered, her voice laden with emotional depth, taking in leaps with ease, and hitting the high notes with power and quality.”

Alan Neilson

Opera Wire

“Catherine Foster presented a true character study both in vocal and performance terms. Foster equips this conflicted figure with all facets of her highly dramatic soprano, finding biting ridicule with steel tone and glistering highs in her arguments with Barak, and in signifying her transformation and commitment to love and the happiness of motherhood she lets her beautifully-timbred soft soprano shine intimately and in the most tender colours.”

Uschi Reifenberg

Kultur im Netz

Catherine Foster […] should be better known in the UK […] with the impassioned intensity of her singing, her gleaming tone and her ease in surmounting music that swells with ever-increasing power she simply showed us an uneasy, vulnerable woman experiencing human love for the first time.

Jim Pritchard

MusicWeb International

More Reviews

“The world’s best Elektra and internationally-celebrated Wagner interpreter Catherine Foster made her debut as the Dyer’s Wife at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. With each successive act, the singer deployed her richly-changeable soprano, which speaks strongly in all registers, with ever-increasing grandeur, reaching stratospheric heights, combining soft colouring with persistently powerful, but always rounded vocal attack. Her phenomenal ability to span large dramatic arches with unbroken intensity, without any technical losses in the constant focus of her expressive soprano timbre, seemed spectacular.”
Online Merker, Gerhard Hoffmann, 4.10.2019

“Catherine Foster was remarkable when ratcheting up the intensity in Act 2, as Brünnhilde’s situation goes from bad to worse. Foster can hit a high note with laser precision from a starting point anywhere in the stave below, sustain it as long as she wants and do so without ever going shrill. In the Act 3 immolation scene, she made good use of all that power, but also projected pianissimo clearly, fixing the audience with such a piercing stare that it felt as if she was singing to each listener directly and personally.
Bachtrack, David Karlin, 17.6.2019

“The star was Catherine Foster as Brünnhilde in the second and fourth operas […] Why is Ms Foster so ignored in Britain? She was beautifully nuanced, singing with effortless power and portraying to perfection a role she has previously sung in Bayreuth.”
Telegraph, Mark Ronan, 17.6.2019

“Catherine Foster has internalized the Brünnhilde of the Castorf Ring […] she is in full possession of her possibilities, clearly articulated, with radiance without sharpness and a confident ease when it comes to singing ‘piano’.”
NMZ, Joachim Lange, 4.2.2019

“The fact that she was the only one of the original cast could be clearly seen from the intense, multifaceted acting in every respect. Once again, we were delighted to experience a golden, glowing, youthful, dramatic soprano with an effortless, easy high range, and no loss of vocal presence even in the lower registers.” – Klaus Kalchschmid, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1.8.2018

“As a brave, mature Brünnhilde, who has evolved through six years of Bayreuth experience, Foster convinces utterly in the existential struggle with her ‘God and Father’ Wotan.”
Udo Badelt, Tagesspiegel, 3.8.2018

“Catherine Foster gives Brünnhilde a real vitamin boost with her bright, happy strength in the clarion calls of the ‘Hojotoho!’. […] She jumps to the top notes of her with the ease and unerring accuracy of a squirrel. But she also has the necessary seriousness and sense of mystery for the Annunciation of Death to Siegmund.”
Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 1.8.2018

“The singers have always been the strength of the current Bayreuth ‘Walkure’ – this year too […] above all Catherine Foster as Brünnhilde, the face and the voice of the Castorf Ring, celebrated without reservation.” – Die Welt, 3.8.2018

“Catherine Foster, the British dramatic soprano who has been the Castorf Ring’s one and only Brünnhilde for the past six years, once again electrified with her incisive, clarion tones, exciting stamina and bold acting. Her voice has become fuller-bodied and more expressively agile.“ – A.J.Goldman, Opera News, 8.8.2018

“With Catherine Foster’s Brünnhilde, alongside the dramatic vehemence, the youthful girlish quality still resonates.” – Markus Thiel, Merkur, 2.8.2018

“Phrasing, understanding and pronunciation of the text, secure intonation and scenic presence are on an unusually high level! This evening, Ms. Foster succeeded in everything! Her voice was perfectly controlled in all registers up to high C’.”
Der neue Merker, Dirk Schauß, 21.10.2017