Who is Golda Schultz? Meet the journalism major who became opera’s biggest new star

11 September 2020, 11:42 | Updated: 11 September 2020, 12:17

Golda Schultz, South African soprano
Golda Schultz, South African soprano. Picture: Getty

Meet “fast-rising” South African operatic soprano, Golda Schultz: an exciting star of the future.

Golda Schultz is an opera newcomer, whose soprano voice has been lauded as one with “distinctively thrilling radiance”.

The South African star, 36, grew up in Bloemfontein, surrounded by a love for the arts. But it wasn’t until her time as a Journalism major in Grahamstown that she started seriously singing.

Here’s the life and career so far, and upcoming concert dates, of Golda Schultz.

Porgy and Bess: “Summertime”

Golda Schultz’s childhood and family

Born in Cape Town, Schultz grew up in Bloemfontein, South Africa, to a classical music-loving father and theatre-loving mother.

Her early exposure to the arts planted a seed. During her time as a Journalism major at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, she took her first music elective. In the university’s music library, she happened upon a recording of Die Fledermaus featuring soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who would later become her tutor.

Schultz fell in love with these recordings, and began singing Mozart works.

Excited by the sound of opera, Schultz pursued a graduate degree in music at the University of Cape Town, and spent two years with the Cape Town Opera. Then came the time for Schultz to travel to the US for the first time, where she successfully auditioned for the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.

Golda Schultz, South African soprano
Golda Schultz, South African soprano. Picture: Getty

Golda Schultz’s singing career

Schultz’s voice has great sensitivity, and a brilliance you’d wish to hear in any soprano’s performance.

Her reviews have been starry, with The Guardian claiming, “It’s hard to imagine finer soprano singing” and The Financial Times writing, “Golda Schultz sings with strength and assurance, her voice with its own distinctively thrilling radiance; she is a newcomer who simply has everything.”

A versatile star, Schultz has made her debut in operas and recital halls around the world.

As a recitalist, Schultz has had acclaimed debuts at London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlin’s Boulez Saal and New York’s Weill Recital Hall, with collaborative pianist Jonathan Ware. The pair have further recitals coming up in Munich, San Francisco and Washington DC.

In opera, it’s clear Mozart is still her first love. She made her Met Opera debut in 2017 as Pamina in The Magic Flute, and has appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival playing Contessa Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. In 2016, Schultz took on the role of Susanna in her debut at La Scala in Milan.

Golda Schultz, South African soprano
Golda Schultz, South African soprano. Picture: Getty

Golda Schultz’s concerts

If you’re wondering when you might hear Schultz perform next, she is shortly giving a recital at London’s Wigmore Hall with collaborative pianist, Jonathan Ware, on Sunday 18 October. The concert will be live streamed online.

Opera roles for her in the current season, all being well, include Agathe in a new staging by Dmitri Tcherniakov of Der Freischütz, a German opera by Carl Maria von Weber, at the Bayerische Staatsoper.

She also plans to debut at Osterfestspiele Salzburg in Turandot, and to join Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie in concert as Clara in Porgy and Bess (hear her sing ‘Summertime’ above).

Schultz currently lives in Munich, Germany.