American soprano Debra Stanley was born in California and grew up in northern Virginia. She earned her bachelor of music in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Stanley then joined the lieder class of Hartmut Höll and Mitsuko Shirai at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany, receiving a soloist diploma with distinction. In addition, she studied with Malcolm Walker at the Paris National Conservatory and with soprano Diana Soviero in New York City. Ms. Stanley also participated in master classes with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Julia Varady, Edith Wiens, Malcolm Martineau, Christa Ludwig, Helmut Deutsch, Elly Ameling, Rudolf Jansen and Graham Johnson.
Ms. Stanley made her professional operatic debut at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2008. After appearing as Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the 2009 Aspen Music Festival, she completed Young Artist Programs at the Palm Beach Opera as well as the Syracuse Opera. There Ms. Stanley appeared in roles such as Despina in Così fan tutte and Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice.
In Germany, Ms. Stanley has been a soloist at the Staatstheater Cottbus since 2011. She has performed a large variety of roles there, including Violetta in La Traviata, Liù in Turandot, Jenny in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and Sugar in Sugar (Some Like It Hot). She also appeared as Susanna in Le Nozza di Figaro at Opernfestival Gut Immling. Ms. Stanley currently studies with soprano Laura Aikin in Berlin.
Ms. Stanley won first prize at the Aspen Music Festival Voice Competition and the Sue Goetz Memorial Voice Competition in Washington, DC. She won the top prize in addition to special prizes for lieder, mélodie and original song at the Lotte Lehmann Foundation International Art Song Competition. Ms. Stanley also won prizes at the Euriade Vocal Concours in Holland and the Jesse Kneisel Lieder Competition of the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Stanley has appeared in concert and recital in cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Paris and Monte Carlo, as well as at the Aspen Music Festival and Ravinia Festival.
For her outstanding artistic achievements at the Staatstheater Cottbus, Ms. Stanley was awarded the Max Grünebaum Prize.